by Jacquie Byron
Elizabeth Strout meets Marian Keyes in this wonderful, joyful, funny debut novel from Australian author Jacquie Byron.
Gin in one hand, paintbrush in the other, Franny Calderwood has turned her back on the world, or at least the world she used to love. Having lost her husband, Frank, in tragic circumstances three years earlier, 65-year-old Franny copes the only way she knows how: by removing herself completely from the life she had before. Franny lives a life of decadent seclusion, with only her two dogs, Whisky and Soda, a stuffed cat, cocktails and the memory of Frank for company.
Then the Salernos move in next door. The troubled but charming trio - beleaguered mother Sallyanne, angry teenager Dee and eccentric eight-year-old Josh - cannot help but pull Franny into the drama of their lives. But despite her fixation with independence, Franny's wisecracks and culinary experiments hide considerable trauma and pain, and when her eccentric behaviour has life-threatening consequences she faces a reckoning of sorts. Yes, Frank is dead, but did the woman he loved have to perish with him?
A story about one woman, two dogs and the family next door, Happy Hour is a hilarious and uplifting insight into grief, loss, true love and friendship.
'A timely and poignant story about the importance of loving and ultimately of living.' Noni Hazlehurst
'If you loved Ricky Gervais as Tony in the British black-comedy series After Life, you will adore the anti-social and frequently tipsie Franny in Happy Hour. Her story is a hilarious and poignant reminder that grief is a journey that should NEVER be travelled alone. Author Jacquie Byron has touchingly captured that sense of inescapable loneliness that follows the death of a life partner.' Mary Moody
'I found myself barracking for Franny all the way.' Susan Duncan
Page Count: 352 Pages
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Published: Aug 2021