Author: Eleanor Wood
Pages: 297 Pages
A late 30s The Wrong Knickers meets Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Eleanor finds herself in her late 30s on a beach in India with three old ladies, trying to ‘find herself’ and ‘discover her family history’ like some sad middle-class crisis cliché. How did she get here?
Truthfully, it could be for any one of the below reasons, if not all combined:
- Stepmum dying/Stepdad leaving – family falling apart, subsequent psychotic break; both parents now on third marriage
• Breaking up with J after 12 years – breaking up a whole life, a whole fucking universe – for reasons that may have been… misguided?
• New boyfriend moving in immediately, me insisting ‘it’s not a rebound!’ even after everyone has stopped listening, being cited in his messy divorce, him being sectioned, then breaking up with me
• Going into therapy after dating a potentially violent, certainly threatening, narcissist (the most pertinent point of which should be noted: I did not break up with him – he ghosted me)
How to address this situation? Take a trip to India with your octogenarian nan and two great aunts of course. The perfect, if somewhat unusual, distraction from Eleanor’s ongoing crisis.
But the trip offers so much more than Eleanor could ever have hoped for.
Through the vivid and worldly older women in her life, she learns what it means to be staunch in the face of true adversity.
I have a new goal in life. I want to be staunch.
Let me explain.
I like to think that I am not a person driven by fear. I don’t worry unnecessarily. I respond to things rather than over-thinking. However, for the past seven days (at the time of writing) I have been holed up in one room fearing the world. A virus is ripping through the country and because of my weakened immune system and the medication that I take to control my immune system I am not embarrassed to say that I am scared. Terrified, even.
So when I read something as uplifting, as courageous and as heart-warming as Staunch by Eleanor Wood I am genuinely given hope. This story of one woman’s admiration for the brave women in her family made me stop and pause, to reassess. I travelled with these ladies to their mother country. I shared their experiences – both good and bad. I revelled in their victories and had my heart squeezed by their failures. In truth, I lived their stories as I read the page.
It reminded me that whilst things are pretty crappy at the moment (and believe me, they are) that things will get better and easier and there will be things to look forward to eventually. It was the first fluttering in my belly of maybe one day being staunch.
Staunch by Eleanor Wood is available now.
For more information regarding Eleanor Wood (@eleanor_wood) please visit her twitter page.
For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.