All About Ella by Meredith Appleyard

‘Most of us have a story. The older you are, the longer and more complicated those stories become.’

At 70 and recently widowed, Ella’s world is turned upside down. Her three adult children: Anthony, Julian and Olivia convince her to sell the family home, and then to move into Anthony’s Adelaide home with his family while a granny flat is built in Anthony’s backyard. This would be fine it if was what Ella wanted, but she is not sure. Her hesitation results in an argument with Anthony and she leaves for Cutlers Bay, a seaside town on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula. Ella has friends at a farm nearby but had forgotten they were away for a holiday. She travels to nearby Rocky Point where she is found by local policeman, Zach Cooper. Anthony has reported Ella missing, and while Zach confirms to Anthony that she is safe, she decides to stay in Cutlers Bay at the local hotel overnight.

Angie Daniels, 40, is on the move from Cairns to Perth. She’s not seen her mother for 5 years, and while she wants to see her, she is no hurry. Angie decides to check out the Yorke Peninsula on the way. When she decides to check into the local hotel for the night, she finds herself helping Zach with Ella.

Ella likes Cutlers Bay and she and Angie become friendly. Angie stays longer than she had intended, while Ella starts to think about establishing a home there.

This is such a delightful story. Ella, Zach, and Angie are wonderfully depicted characters, each with their own history and issues to face. Ella decides to buy a house on the outskirts of town: a house which others think is unsuitable and which her children think is evidence that Ella is no longer competent to manage her own affairs. Ella is at the centre of this novel, but Angie and Zach are also important. This is a novel about growing older, about finding your own independence after a long marriage, and about standing up for yourself. It is also a novel about learning to trust others, and commitment. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘It was time to make new memories.’

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

#AWW2021

#AussieAuthor2021

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