Friends and Neighbours

Ruth Torjussen

book on table


It’s my spot on this lovely tour! I enjoyed this book and found it a wonderful reflection of a woman dealing with depression and the loss of her best friend from cancer. I laughed, I cried, I wondered how on earth Jenny would overcome her fears and depression and overall I really enjoyed this book.


Life as a Marie Osmond impersonator living in Stoke can be challenging enough.

But when your best friend has died and your other friends have moved away it can suddenly get a whole lot tougher. Now heartbroken Jenny has a female shaped hole in her life which – despite the presence of many women – won’t go away. Grief has turned her into a first-class snob.

Husband Lonny preps the house for climate change and is unable to halt Jenny’s unravelling. Then gorgeous Trudi wafts into the creative writing class and brings some much-needed hope.

Feeling that this is the only way out of her depression, Jenny’s intention to befriend Trudi builds to an obsession while facing all manner of setbacks. A motley crew of unsuitable local women is encroaching while lovely Trudi remains elusive. Why is something that used to be so easy, now so hard?.

Mixing serious issues with much hilarity ‘Friends and Neighbours’ is a feel-good story for our times.


I found this book a nice littel companion to while away a lunch hour or two especially when the sun was shining last week! It also gave me reflection on how judgemental I can be without even realising it. I’m not as bad as Jenny (I hope), but when we moved into our house, we definitely made judgements on our neighbours until we got to know them – my neighbours are all lovely and we get on great! 

The way Jenny’s depression progressed so she became more like her mother was really well-written, the descent into a ‘daily mail reader’ as Lonny called her. I did find her frustrating at times, and I wanted to jump into the book to shake her out of her mindset (which wouldn’t have worked anyway). I felt so sorry for her being Marie Osmond, no-one paying her any attention whilst she sang ‘Paper Roses’. 

I liked all the characters in this story, Ruth brings together so many fabulous people and yes there may be too many instances of ‘duck’ or ‘duckie’ for some people, but my dad would often call people little pet names like this at the beginning, and end of sentences so it was quite lovely as it reminded me of him. 

Jenny and Lonny are a great couple, I love how Lonny would try and get Jenny and Dawn to talk to each other and how he helped Dawn to tone down her language and have fun with the kids in a responsible way. Dawn is a difficult character to like in the beginning but I really warmed to her around halfway through. I felt really sorry for her and wanted Jenny to just get over herself and talk to her! 

Jenny’s pre-conceived notions of how she expected people to behave towards her did often infuriate me, mainly because I just wanted her to relax and have a bit of fun! Ruth does a great job of writing a lovely story of freindship, relationships, depression and how one woman took on the world to find just one friend. 

An easy summer read (especially if we’re all still at home in the garden), with some great characters.

Thanks to Love Books Tours and Ruth for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

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