Cover Image: Heading Over the Hill

Heading Over the Hill

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Judy Leigh really does create the most wonderful characters – and I love the fact that they’re often not the people you usually find at the centre of a story, and not only because of their age.

This is one of those wonderful ensemble pieces where you’re introduced to a cast of characters – and as casts go, it’s quite a large one – and then enjoy watching the story unfold. I do suspect that, like the neighbours, I might have been a tad worried watching the arrival of this couple in my street too – the Harley, the leathers, the drum kit being moved in, the pony-tailed bear of a man and his tiny pillion passenger with her colourful wigs and eccentric dress sense – but perhaps without quite the degree of animosity shown by the Frosts next door.

Vinnie, unlucky in love, and who lives opposite with his mother, is particularly intrigued by the petite blonde he spots on the first day who might just be the woman of his dreams: mother Dilly, with her passion for bloodthirsty movies, is just intrigued, soon won over by the gifts of home brew and the prospect of some excitement in her life. Then there’s the “feminist” couple up the street (and their wonderful small and feathered companion) who are immediately welcoming – and their new biker friends who live within easy walking distance and show just the same devotion to each other.

Through a character driven story, Billy and Dawnie search for a new home in the area that ticks all their boxes – but they also build the strongest of friendships, spread a lot of joy, and rather change the lives of their neighbours in Margot Street. There are so many themes to this book that I really don’t know where to start: there’s the obvious one about not judging by appearances and first impressions, but I think I’ll let you discover and explore the rest for yourself.

I will admit that I didn’t glide entirely smoothly into the story at the start – I did get a little lost in the background information about Dawnie’s family, and wasn’t sure if it was all going to be important to the story. It might just help others if I say that it really isn’t, other than to set the context – and it does serve as an excellent introduction to that whole complex subject of family relationships, along with the importance of living your own life and allowing your adult children to live theirs.

While this book has an obvious appeal for older readers, I can’t imagine anyone failing to enjoy it – it’s joyous and uplifting, and I just loved the character development, some of those secrets lying just below the surface, and some of the story’s twists and turns. There’s such a wonderful balance between the moments of raucous fun – the 60s disco night particularly memorable – and some considerably more thoughtful moments, and (as I’d rather expected) the whole story is superbly told.

This was another really excellent book from Judy Leigh – I might have been just a tad worried about Billy and Dawnie when they landed in Margot Street, but by the time they’d won over the neighbours and spread their love far and wide, I entirely adored them. This was a book to bring a real smile to your face, a celebration of life and its special moments – recommended to all.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a joy to read! It would be easy to tell you all the things it's about, but really it's about living your best life.

Billy and Dawnie have packed up their van and taken off for pastures new; leaving their family behind, this couple of septuagenarians don't let anything stop them enjoying life to the full. Arriving in Devon at the house Billy has taken on a short term let, they shock the neighbours with their style - and everything else! However, before long they begin winning them over with their warm and friendliness, but it's not all happiness . . .

This is a bright, uplifting read and just what we all need after the awful year the pandemic has bestowed upon us! Written with warmth and humour, this just oozes fun and laughter. Bringing out the very best of my imagination, I have giggled all the way through this one and - well, apart from the drum kit - would love to have Dawnie and Billy as neighbours! Fabulously entertaining, skilfully crafted and providing what is much needed at the end of this terrible year, this is definitely a five star read. If you haven't read any of Judy Leigh's novels yet, this is a great place to begin!

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this novel and to Rachel's Random Resources for my spot on this tour; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
I’d like to thank Boldwood Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘Heading Over The Hill’ by Judy Leigh in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

After a lifetime of bringing up their children, seventy-plus Billy and Dawnie decide to find their forever home in Devon and rent 13 Margot Street for six months while they’re looking.  Being a sociable couple they immediately make friends with Aude and Sylv at No. 15, Vinnie and his mother Dilly at No. 14 and Lester and Ursula a couple of roads roads away.  But Malcolm, who lives with his wife Gillian next door at No. 11, thinks that Billy is a Hell’s Angel who’s been locked away for GBH and is only too happy to make his prejudices heard around Margot Street.  It’s not long before Dawnie encourages the ladies to live their lives to the full while Billy’s thoroughly enjoying working on his motorbike with Lester, but little do they realise that disaster is just round the corner.  

Every novel Judy Leigh writes is filled with fun and laughter and ‘Heading Over The Hill’ is no exception.  I’m glad that the characters, some of whom are getting on a bit, are portrayed as still being able to get out and enjoy life, and even miserable old Malcolm has another side that we get to meet further on in the story.  But even with amusing and carefree novels there’s often sadness round the corner and I was caught out at the end with shock, disbelief and tears in my eyes.  This is a thoroughly enjoyable novel with larger-than-life characters that’s easy to read and I’m happy to recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

Billy and Dawnie are aging hippies, after leaving their family home in the north to their daughter and her extended family., they’ve come to Devon in search of their "home near the sea" .

They’ve landed in Margot Street where they meet a cast of neighbours who find their behaviour a bit curious as well as frightening. 

But as they get to know each other a bit better, there’s a variety of topics that come to the fore in this story, ranging from empty nesters' woes to PTSD, reactions to grief. 

I felt that it’s clearly illustrated  the outcomes when we make judgments based on first impressions. 

You can identify with some of the characters and what they go through. 

I admired Dawnie for the way she took on the aging process with such flair and joy. 

I highly recommend this book
Was this review helpful?
This is a new author to me and I really enjoyed reading this book.
Dawnie and Billie are madly in love. They have left their city house with their children and are heading to the country to live by the sea. They are wanting a calm life by the ocean. Oh, and they are in their 70's! But 1st to give them time to choose the right place they are renting an apartment on Maggot Street. They find Maggot street has very eclectic neighbors. Dawnie and Billy's kindness mixed with their zest for life have an interesting and big impact on the neighbors. 
The thing I liked most seeing the life long love Dawnie and Billy had for each other Still holding hands. communicating,  caring and sacrificing for one another.
Thanks to NetGalley,the author and Boldwood Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.
its release date is 12/3/2020
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this story of love, friendship and living life to the full.  It’s a solid 5 stars from me.
I’m going to struggle to review this book which is equal parts hilarious and heart-warming with a light sprinkling of sadness.  I avoid spoilers at all costs, but this story is just packed full of some of the best characters that I’ve met in a while.
Margot Street boasts some of the loveliest folks around and even the grouches have good reason for their poor attitude.
The stand-out characters, for me, beside Billy and Dawnie, were Dilly and the foul-mouthed Budgie, Tequila!  That said, the competition was strong but they provided me with the best laugh out loud moments. 
If, like me, you’re getting ready to head over the hill, this is a gem of a story and one that will bring a smile to your face.
Was this review helpful?
Well they say never judge a book by its cover - and in this case I don't mean the cover for this book which is rather lovely and very fitting, but rather that this is the overall message and theme I was feeling throughout this book. 

Don't judge on appearances, and there may be more to a person than meets the eye - which you may think sounds rather obvious but when Billy and Dawnie move onto Maggot Street, it shakes things up completely. 

They are in their seventies, he is a biker, she loves bright colourful wigs and is the life and soul of any room.  At first I struggled to get to grips with them, not because of that, but due to Dawnie mentioning the names of all of her family rather quickly as you enter the book, and I just was a tad lost as to who any of these people were, but I did get to grips with it quite fast after that.  

We are also treated to the inner goings on at two of the neighbours.  Malcolm and Gillian, where Malcolm is keeping a notebook of the reasons he reckons Billy and Dawnie will never fit into Maggot Street, mostly based on assumptions and its scary in some respects to know there are almost certainly people like Malcolm out there in the world making the same snap judgments but since it was fiction it was rather amusing too.  

And Gillian who initially seems to be there purely to do whatever Malcolm wants, but it becomes apparent there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. 

The other house we see inside is that of Vinnie and Dilly (his mother). Vinnie is a lovely young man (well in a novel where most of the characters are 70+, 50 is young!), seems to be unlucky in love and is currently back living at home with his mother, but wants more from life. 

Dawnie and Billy's arrival on the street shakes things up for all the nearest neighbours in ways you wouldn't believe at the start. It is a huge cast of characters and I wouldn't have it any other way, as they are all so believable, that they started to feel like my own community. 

But I have failed to mention the best character - Tequila.  He only gets short mentions now and then but if he doesn't make you giggle I'd be shocked!! 

It's yet another fabulous book from the talented Judy Leigh and is one that I really enjoyed reading. 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
This is my first Judy Leigh book and won’t be my last, I loved the warmth and humour, I was a little unsure about the main characters at first as they seemed a bit exaggerated but their natural warmth grew on me and enabled me to look beyond the physical descriptions. The friendships they struck up and the impact they had on the neighbours was joyous and it was interesting to see how the characters pasts defined them. I’d definitely love some positive neighbours like these especially if there’s home brew involved!
Was this review helpful?
Such a sweet story about couples, friends and lots of fun.  This was a really pleasant book to read and I loved all of the characters.  There are a few sad moments but the way this group pulls together is so heart warming.  I would recommend it to all of my friends,
Was this review helpful?
First of all the character names.  There’s a theme going on here - ie/y.  One which started to grate like fingernails down a blackboard.  It spoilt the book for me because I found it so irritating.  Dawnie, Billy, Buddy, Dilly Vinnie, Stewie….it was too much and just came across as child like.

Names aside, I quite enjoyed some of the situations in the book, though again there was that certain cloying niceness that got a bit too much for me at times.  The dry ski slope scene had me laughing out loud - great visualisation there. The story itself was a good one, there were some poignant moments with serious underlying themes, along with funny lighter moments.  However I thought the characterisations were just too over the top to be realistic or even that likeable.  

All in all it was a disappointment for me.  A Grand Old Time and The Old Girls Network were so good, but I think with this one the ‘you’re never too old’ theme went too far for it to be a credible read.  

Sorry not for me at all.
Was this review helpful?
Billy and Dawnie are off to Devon for a new life now they are in their seventies and now that the children are grown up. Settling into a new neighbourhood brings contact with new neighbours, new friendships and more.
It is well written, the stories of the characters well put together, and very enjoyable to read. No major laugh out loud moments but meaningful none the less.
Great to read a book about the older generations, refreshing and yes there is life after 50!!! 60!! 70!! And 80!!
Thoroughly enjoyable read! Thank you
Was this review helpful?
Utterly charming. Pair with GOOD EGGS and THE SWITCH. A recommended purchase for fiction collection where WF is popular.
Was this review helpful?
Dawnie and Billy are (quite frankly) ready to retire. They raised their children and have decided (at 70) that they'd like to start over new.

Which is what brings them to Barnstaple, by the sea (temporarily). They plan to rent a home until they find the perfect seaside cottage.

But as soon as they move in...there's trouble.

Not all the neighbors like the look of a 200+ pound grizzled Harley biker and his "loudmouth" wigged wife.

Malcom and Gillian (next door neighbors) immediately know that those two are not to be trusted.

Despite the grumpy neighbor's warnings and misgivings, the other neighbors on the block slowly get to know the couple and realize that their first impressions were likely misconceptions.

Lonely Vinnie and his elderly mother find friendship in a time where they both felt isolated.

The "feminists" (Audrey and Sylv...to elderly ladies who happen to live together...for...companionship as Malcolm steadily believes) find themselves feeling younger than ever when they go on day trips.

Ursula and her husband find themselves swept up in the excitement.

There's only Malcolm and Gillian - and when Malcolm sees Gillian stepping outside of their carefully mapped lives....he's going to do something about it.

I absolutely ADORED this one.

It was SO well written and SUCH a refreshing read.

I absolutely LOVED how much the characters were in love - I feel like so many books focus on finding or losing love.

It is so nice to read one where the characters are simply IN love - consistently throughout (and that the book's plot/tension never jeopardizes that).

I loved the cast of side characters - the sweet elderly mother, her lost son, the "feminist" female neighbors.

They were all so memorable and entertaining.

I do think one of the character's transformation at the end happened a little fast to be fully believable but other than that, the book was sooo good.

With thanks to Boldwood Books, Judy Leigh and Netgalley for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
This was a delightful book with quirky characters.  It was better than I expected.  
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fairly enjoyable book, although I didn't really warm to the characters.  It raises the question, amongst others, of when are your children grown up enough to look after themselves.  All parents should be able to have time to themselves and live where they want to when they retire, shouldn't they?  One of the morals of the tale is not to make assumptions based on personal appearance, something we could all do well to remember.  Above all this is a story about love and friendship.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this novel.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a little slice of life in Barnstaple, by the sea, north of Devon, where the reader meets and gets to know some wonderful neighbors that become friends during the course of the story.  
I was engrossed in this wonderful book immediately and I am somewhat heartbroken that it is now over and I do not get to continue to read about these characters.  I am hoping that they go on to have happy lives. (Yes, I do care about these fictional people!)

I love the author’s style (and I have read all her books published so far).  She has a gift of creating characters that become so much more than people on the pages of a book.  These characters become real people to me and I honestly adore them.  From the unique couple of Dawnie and Billy, to the grumpy Malcolm, and the young at heart (although not young in age) Dilly, they all have a loving place in my memory now.  Her description of the scenery transported me to North Devon and the beautiful landscape there.  The plot was woven into a glorious tale and I am happy I took the journey with this book.  

The story has themes of Laughter, Loving Unconditionally, Compassion, Loyalty, Keeping Hope Alive for the Future, Having Fun, and Treasuring Our Here & Now.

I enjoyed reading this book so much! I highly recommend it!

I want to thank NetGalley and Boldwood Books for the pleasure of reading the advanced reader copy. My review is my own opinion not influenced by receiving the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Billy and Dawnie are two aging hippies who have left their family home in the north to their  daughter and her extended family.  They relocate to Devon to find their "home near the sea" for their golden years.  Their temporary landing is Margot Street where they meet a cast of neighbors who initially find Dawnie's attire and Billy's motorcycle everywhere from curious to frightening. As the cast of characters get to know each other better Leigh raises a variety of topics from empty nesters' woes to PTSD to reactions to grief.  The author clearly illustrates the dangers of making judgments based on first impressions.  As a recent retiree, I strongly identified with some of the characters and their issues.  I highly admired Dawnie especially for taking on the aging process with such flair and joy.  I highly recommend this book and look forward to hearing more from Judy Leigh.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   I have enjoyed every book this author has written and this was no exception,  this will make you smile and make the days ahead a happier place.   Loved it.
Was this review helpful?
Author Judy Leigh has done it again! This is her fifth stand-alone book. Her first four books have hundreds of sunny reviews. Readers have enthused about the “warm”, “funny”, “positive”, “uplifting”, comfort reads that she has created. Most readers rave about the lovable characters. There’s really not much more for me to add—I loved this book, I loved the characters and the setting, and yes, I will catch up with the first four books as quickly as I can.

Billy and Dawnie roar into a small village near Devon on their Harley. They are in their 70’s. Billy is a huge block of an Irishman, and Dilly is a wild bohemian in colorful clothes and wigs. Although their neighbors are quaking, Billy and Dawnie have a sweet reason for moving to Margot St. They are in their 70’s, and “looking for the perfect home, their happily ever after place.” A place where they can find peace and quiet. Their kids are grown, and Billy has a secret reason why he needs peace. Their plan is to find a quiet cottage by the sea, with enough room for motorcycles and drum kits.

One by one their neighbors get to know Dawnie and Billy and learn to love them. All except one couple, Malcom and Gillian. Everyone else blossoms when Dawnie and Billy give their neighbors a “properly good time.” (Many good times, actually.) Dawnie and Billy know that life may be ordinary, but it’s also precious. Sadness mixes with fun as the two find themselves and spread their own form of joy. “It’s a new phase but it’s a glorious one.”

I adored this cozy and gentle read with its lovely set of characters- each one will cast a spell over you. Dilly is 86 and her son Vinnie, is a sweet and sheltered 52,  looking for his own happily-ever-after  Lester and Ursula are charming, and Aude and Sylv and their budgie are good fun. The setting by the sea adds to the enjoyment and creates the meaning and feeling of the book. 

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for an advance digital review copy. This is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
It was a lovely story regarding a couple whom are in there 70’a starting a new life! Loved all the colourful and joyful characters.
Was this review helpful?