In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Birdpaints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it's a lie. In reality, Hubert's days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul. Until he receives some good news--good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. The news that his daughter is coming for a visit. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship, and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . . Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows, will he ever get to live the life he's pretended to have for so long?
... [a] winning new novel ... a frothy sitcom premise...quickly sails into rougher waters ... Gayle shares [characters'] indignation, sadness, and anger in straightforward, unadorned prose. The simplicity is effective ... A late-story plot twist adds both tragedy and momentum to the tale, morphing it into a page-turner. The cinematic conclusion feels completely earned, leaving characters jubilant and forever changed.
Romantic Novelists’ Association award-winner Gayle delights ... With a winning main character, this absolutely heartwarming story unfolds with just enough surprises and heft to keep readers engaged. A natural choice for fans of Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand or any of the myriad recent books about cranky men finding late-in-life joy.
British author Gayle (Half a World Away) returns with a winning tale of a lonely 82-year-old widower ... engaging ... While a late plot twist feels destabilizing, Gayle finds many endearing moments in Hubert and Ashleigh’s search for friendship and community. Readers will be touched.