Friday 17 March 2017

BLOG TOUR: The Mercury Travel Club - Helen Bridgett

Meet Angie Shepherd who, after 24 years and 11 months of marriage, finds herself divorced and driven by friends and family to move on. From hangover to makeover, Angie steps firmly away from the sensible knitwear, and launches into every adventure on offer – from baking classes and book groups, to speed dating, and even 'The Granny-Okes', a 1980s tribute act and YouTube sensation.

But Angie needs more than a bar of galaxy and a night in with Murder She Wrote... what she dreams of is entrepreneurial success. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, the light bulb moment happens: it's time to take the plunge and invest her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, an exciting new business venture. But as the Travel Club gets going, things never go according to plan, and in this digital age a little chaos brings the fame she's been looking for.

Set in present-day Manchester, this classic mid-life journey features the 1980s soundtrack from Angie's youth, and sees her travel the world whilst coping with life after the Ex.  Angie's journey is the catalyst her friends need to examine their own lives; as they start to find their true callings, will Angie find hers? Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good debut novel shows it's never too late for a second chance.

What did I think?

Well this little gem of a book was just what I needed when I was feeling a bit low, not unlike Angie Shepherd at the start of The Mercury Travel Club.  I think I read this whole book with a smile on my face and certainly struggled to contain my laughter, indeed many laughs did escape whilst reading this book.

Angie was looking forward to her silver wedding anniversary when her husband, Alan, left her for a younger woman.  Forced to sell their family home and start a new life, Angie may feel like curling up and feeling sorry for herself but her friends and family have other ideas.  Her hilarious friend, Patty, is instrumental in keeping Angie on her feet as she takes a few tentative baby steps on the road to singledom.  Patty gives the impression that she's a bit of a man-eater but she's more words than actions and has an absolutely enormous heart of gold.  I couldn't get enough of Angie's hilarious mother; I really looked forward to her appearances and couldn't wait to see what imperfect pearl of wisdom she would come out with next.

Angie works in a travel agency and has a lovely boss, Charlie.  When Angie decides to make her dreams a reality, Charlie offers her a business partnership where they offer themed holidays and The Mercury Travel Club is born.  Like all best laid plans, things often go wrong but that is the charm of the club.  Angie keeps a cool head and is calm under pressure, making her trips much sought after, despite some attempted bad press.  As the Entrepreneur of the Year awards approach, Angie sets her sights on the award.  Will she win it?  Whatever the outcome, you'll be sure they'll have a good time!

I loved the quirky chapter names, each one giving a little hint as to what was in store next.  I almost clapped with glee (I would have if I could have put the book down) when I saw a chapter with the title 'The Kids Wanna Rock'.  As I involuntarily started singing, "Turned on the radio, sounded like a disco...", I was delighted to see my absolute favourite singer Bryan Adams getting some well deserved column inches.  Maybe not the real man but a tribute band, but still, any book that gives Bryan a mention gets a big thumbs up from me.  "I got my first real six string, bought it at the five and dime..."  (Admit it, it's in your head now 😃)

With such an impressive debut and a fabulously witty writing style, I am overjoyed to see that Helen Bridgett plans more books in The Mercury Travel Club series.  The Mercury Travel Club is hilariously funny and a perfect pick me up.  If I had a passport, I'd certainly sign up!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest an unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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About the Author

Helen Bridgett was born in North-East England and now lives in Manchester having stopped off at a few places in between. Having failed miserably with every New Year's resolution that involved giving up food or drink, one year, she set herself a completely different goal - to write a novel and give it as a Christmas present. The Mercury Travel Club was born and the characters took on a life of their own. Outside of writing, Helen loves hiking and wine - not usually at the same time.

Helen is currently developing the next novels in The Mercury Travel Club series.

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