Friday, February 16, 2024

Book Review: "The Excitements" by CJ Wray

This book was such a fun romp, with some incredibly memorable and endearing characters!

Josephine and Penny Williamson are two sisters in their late 90s. They’re two of Britain’s most revered female veterans of World War II, having served their country as members of the Women’s Royal Navy and the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. But while they’d have every right to rest on their laurels at this point in their lives, both sisters are still hungry for adventure, for the “excitements” that make everything more interesting.

Archie, their beloved great-nephew, is truly devoted to Josephine and Penny. He’s always been fascinated by the stories they’ve told him over the years of their involvement in the war, and he’s so proud of every accolade they receive. And when they’re chosen to receive the Légion d’honneur for their part in the liberation of France, he’s the one to arrange and accompany their trip to Paris.

But while Archie’s great-aunts appear to be slowing down a bit, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their return to Paris reawakens memories of the actual things they were up to during and after the war, things that might be hard to believe. And while there are secrets and regrets to deal with, Penny definitely has some plans up her sleeve for one last heist.

All too often older characters are portrayed as curmudgeonly or only capable of doling out advice, so these ass-kicking, Morse code-using nonagenarians were absolutely a hoot. The narrative shifts between past and present, and is funny, moving, and just so entertaining.

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