A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER,
BY PAMELA FUDGE
PUBLICATION: ENDEAVOR PRESS; MARCH 3, 2017
About the book:
It’s time for a fresh start…
Jo Farrell has spent her entire life putting other first.
Home alone one Friday night with an empty weekend stretching before her, a chance encounter with her downstairs neighbor Greg, sparks an unlikely friendship.
With the help of her new friend, Jo creates a list of ten things she wants to do to turn her life around.
Learn to drive, finally stick to that diet, go on holiday somewhere exotic, visit a clairvoyant… All the things that Jo wanted to do, but life always got in the way of.
As their friendship blossoms, Greg is a great support in helping Jo achieve her goals, a source of great entertainment and gossip for her nosy neighbor Miss Gutheridge.
Recognizing the impact their friendship has had on their lives, Greg seeks Jo’s help with a list of his own, aware that he has put his life on hold since losing his beloved wife Monica.
It’s not long before people other than Greg start to notice Jo’s new image and her new found confidence, and she soon finds herself being wined and dined by a new admirer.
But an unwanted visitor to the flat stirs up old memories and threatens to undo all the progress Jo has made.
Will completing her list bring her the life she always longed for? Or is there a surprise in store…?
A Change for the Better is a light-hearted and entertaining read about a woman named Jo Farrell and her sudden realization that she wants to change her life. After a miserable marriage and suffering through plenty of drama with her adult son, Jo decides that she wants to change herself inside and out. When her “scruffy looking” neighbor Greg knocks on her door one night, she finds herself engaged in long conversation as Greg helps Jo create her list. Soon Greg starts his own list and they become very close friends as they change their looks, their clothes, and try out new things that they have always wanted to do. Jo finds herself with a new friend, a new romance and also a visitor from the past that is unwanted. Although faced with personal and family challenges, Jo’s new confidence helps her through trying times as she learns how special some relationships really are.
Not judging a character by appearance, but Jo seemed quite unkempt and almost homely looking in the beginning of the novel. Based on the author’s physical description of Jo it was apparent that she had neglected her appearance for quite some time – as had Greg. But soon these two friends start taking the time for different clothes, new haircuts and new experiences bringing them both out of their shells and developing their confidence. Jo is a very devoted mother and a caring person from the beginning, just as Greg is incredibly selfless and generous. Then there is Max, whom Jo’s friend Denise had tried to set her up with. Before Jo’s transformation/makeover, Max wanted nothing to do with her. But when he accidentally meets her a second time he doesn’t recognize her but definitely wants to get to know her better. He does have some charming moments, but I couldn’t get over their first meeting when he ignored her like some wounded animal.
I loved watching Jo blossom throughout this novel, especially emotionally. She finally put herself first and decided to look at the world differently. The compliments and sudden looks from men didn’t go to her head, but slowly this happy confidence emerged as she checked things off of her list. Although this journey was not about finding a man to complete her, there were times found myself frustrated because she couldn’t imagine Greg as more than a friend. Several times I wanted to yell at her to snatch him up before another woman got him first, but then calmly reminded myself that this was her own journey to self-discovery and to remain patient and hopeful! I also found the ending rather rushed with everything coming to a resolution on one page and the story suddenly being over, but I still loved the novel.
Pamela Fudge has a very no-nonsense easy to read writing style that I enjoyed. Her characters were very relatable in various situations that anyone could identify with regardless of age or experience. I highly recommend A Change for the Better to lovers of women’s fiction and contemporary romance looking for a quick and fun read. Even better – this is a great novel to curl up with to escape for a few hours when you’re experiencing any dark or heavy circumstances of your own. There’s no way you could still feel down after reading Jo’s story!
*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!
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Learn more about Pamela Fudge by visiting her web page!