The Ladies’ Room – Carolyn Brown

Back to the other side of the Atlantic for this lovely Oklahoma tale of a woman getting her groove back. Trudy is fast approaching forty, heavier than she’d like to be, and has been taken advantage of for the last twenty years. At her elderly Aunt Gert’s funeral she overhears some home truths from a couple of mean cousins while she’s hiding in the titular ladies’ room addressing a wardrobe malfunction. Her husband of twenty years has been cheating on her the whole time with the whole town’s knowledge, her daughter eloped to Vegas with an unsuitable man, she’s frumpier than her 39 years, and is generally considered a doormat.

Fortunately Trudy decides it’s no more Mrs Nice and goes it alone. At the reading of her Aunt’s will, Trudy inherits her estate, much to the amusement of her cousins who believe the run down house is a liability with no funds to fix it up. Karma soon visits Trudy with news of a tidy sum of money and a very handy neighbour, her childhood friend Billy Lee, who’s already been paid to fix up the house for her. As Trudy gets revenge on her husband and begins her new independent life, she’s not as alone as she’d thought.

Kooks for your Kindle?– The mean cousins, Marty and Betsy are the ugly stepsisters of the story, fortunately for Trudy she has the last laugh when the full extent of the inheritance is revealed. Trudy’s husband Drew is a philandering, pompous lawyer, and it’s a pleasure to see him get his comeuppance- you’ll never be without a tin of sardines in the house after reading this. Trudy’s mother is lovingly portrayed as an Alzheimer’s sufferer, living in a nearby care home, and some sensitive humour is even found in one of her bad days.

Trudy’s daughter Crystal has clearly learned from her father’s example that it’s okay to treat her mother like dirt, and is in for a shock when neither of them can convince Trudy to stop being a “fool” and come home. Finally, Billy Lee the kind, gentle neighbour was only known to Trudy as the odd boy that used to play with her and her cousins as children; so she’s surprised to learn that he was good friends with her cantankerous old Aunt. However there’s even more to Billy Lee than meets the eye and Trudy begins to appreciate his relaxed friendship more and more.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Trudy may have been a pushover in the past, but thankfully we join the story just as she begins to take life by the throat. Trudy reminds me of a younger Evelyn Couch in the classic Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe– a traditional southern woman over-eager to please her unappreciative husband, overweight due to a bad relationship with food, who then finally flips. There are also echoes of the wholesome heroine in Sweet Tea and Secrets, in as much as she’s inherited a house in a church-centred community. Thankfully Trudy has dark elements of wickedness in her humour to avoid being too exemplary.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– Set in Oklahoma, we have a couple of excursions to break things up, but on the whole it’s set in the stifling heat of summer in Trudy’s small town. It’s what I like to call a Community book; everybody knows everybody’s business, for better or for worse.

Nookie for your Nook?– Clean as a whistle, can be recommended to all ages with nary a blush.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I love a good revenge story, and although they say living well is the best revenge, I say throw in a touch of vindictiveness if the other party really deserves it! Trudy regains her self respect, and everything else follows. I found Billy Lee an unusual hero, his long term interest in Trudy could easily have crossed into stalker territory, but the author manages to keep him likable. There are some truly horrible tertiary characters, but it all shakes down. All in all a very sweet, good-natured, feel-good, page-turner of a book- devoured over a day in only around 3 hours if you read as fast as me, just to make sure Trudy gets the happy ending she deserves. Definitely worth the low price, only available from Amazon as far as I’ve found.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: £1.52 on Amazon.

US: $2.99 on Amazon.