Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Shelly Beach Writers' Group

Gina finds herself at Shelly Beach on a six month stint as house/dog sitter for Adrian Fraser who is overseas. Her husband has left her for his younger personal assistant, the family company is being dissolved and the publication of her first novel was cancelled when the publishing company ran into difficulties. Without money and without a job Gina sees the stay at Shelly Beach as an opportunity to restart her life. Her contract with Adrian only involved looking after the house and the dog, or so she thought. Within a short time Gina becomes actively involved in the life of the small community and with the people living there.

In an interview Australian author, June Loves, describes her book not as 'chick lit' but 'hen lit'. A number of other books have been written on similar themes but the protagonist is often a woman in her late twenties or early thirties not a woman in her early fifties as in this book. A number of issues are pertinent to many Baby Boomers including relationships with adult children and the advent of grandchildren.

One of Gina's tasks is to convene the Shelly Beach Writers' Club and the themes talked about in the classes (the use of flashbacks or build up of sexual tension for example) can be found replicated in the book. Throughout the book Gina expresses her thoughts about events to the Dog who becomes a major character as does the Bossy Child who lives next door and constantly provides advice as to how to survive in Shelly Beach. I enjoyed this amusing account of the life of a sea-changer in a small community and I would not be surprised to see a sequel in the future.

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