New Release Book Review: Escape From the Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell

This novel was an absolute joy to read, so many wonderful characters and so much humour throughout that I had a grin on my face most of the time. I have to say though, it definitely made me NOT want to have to move into a home when I get older lol.

Our two main characters Hattie Bloom and Walter Clements were so much fun to get to know and it was so much fun to watch them get to know each other. Initially, Hattie who has lived on her own for her whole life, except for her birds, wants nothing to do with the other residents in the nursing home, especially the loud and dangerous Walter Clements, but as Hattie starts to settle in she begins to see it might be quite nice to have a friend or two.

Neither Hattie nor Walter want to be in Woodlands Nursing Home, but due to an injury on Hattie’s part involving a rotten ladder and a heart issue on Walter’s, both are stuck in there for the time being. They both get up to some great shenanigans, if I were the nursing home staff I’d have been asking them to leave. Walter and his Tesla certainly provided some laughs, and I really liked the relationship between him and his grandson.

The friendship between Walter and Murray, another resident who is dying was really lovely and allowed us to see the more sensitive side of this often inappropriate man. Later the friendship that forms between Walter and Hattie, teaching Hattie about friendship is also lovely. But when the three of them get together and start scheming, all bets are off on what might happen next.

I enjoyed Sister Bronwyn, a night nurse, who had a very different and if I do say so, much better way of providing care for the residents than the generic way that most nursing homes run. I felt especially sorry for the DON who was just trying to do her job and keep everybody safe, health and safety being the most important thing when considering what the residents were and were not allowed to do.

This novel covers many topics, aging, of course, loss of independence, the loss of being responsible for your own decision making, being put into a box, and treated the same as all the other residents despite being completely different and having different interests and needs. The routine inside the nursing home was quite rigid and for Hattie especially, she found this very hard to deal with.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I have Joanna Nell’s previous novel, The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker sitting on my shelf that I really must get to.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review


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