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Summary

This is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who finds herself working in a ramshackle old people's home in the English suburbs. It is the late 1970s and the place is in chaos - there's a much swisher old people's home nearer the supermarket with better parking which is taking all the best patients; Matron seems to be utterly without qualifications, and Lizzie has no idea what she's doing.

But, the longer Lizzie stays the more she discovers about the patients and the staff - she uncovers a love affair and a plot to kidnap one of the patients, as well as discovering how not to wash false teeth or give an old lady a bath. Very funny, tender and wonderfully gripping, Paradise Lodge is a celebration of chaos, love and old people.

©2016 Nina Stibbe (P)2016 Penguin Random House UK

What members say

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  • Alexis
  • Margate, United Kingdom
  • 04-06-16

absolute Paradise

this is a lovely novel - basically about a 15 years old who works in a 1970's nursing/convalescent home with elderly ladies, gents and a variety of nurses when she should be at school. That's it. It's her story and it is funny and moving in equal measure. It helps that I am from that part of the world and understand the phrasing, the verbal short-cuts and the slang. The places are familiar even down to the roads. The accent is only slightly Leicester more Brummie so it is a joy to listen to for me as come from half way between the two but I will allow it might grate on some. Its voice is very much the 1970's but it is not a nostalgia piece - just listen - its worth it.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Perfect for summer beach listening

Would you consider the audio edition of Paradise Lodge to be better than the print version?

Yes. Helen Baxendale was the perfect reader for this book and added an extra dimension to an already very good book.

What other book might you compare Paradise Lodge to, and why?

I can't think of anything to compare it to. It combines lots of laugh out loud moment with a poignant and moving story.

Which character – as performed by Helen Baxendale – was your favourite?

The story is told from the point of view of Lizzie Vogel and Helen Baxendale totally captured her unique voice.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is both funny and sad. A really enjoyable book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaggy
  • United Kingdom
  • 27-04-17

A riotous joy from start to finish

This is a very welcome sequel to Man at the Helm, the story of the Vogel family and their hilarious attempts to find a man for their batty but beautiful mother. This time we focus on Lizzie Vogel, the gifted but anarchic younger daughter of the family who takes up a full time job in an old peoples' home whilst still being obliged to attend school. In the meantime her mother is having a tricky time maintaining her relationship with her 'Man at The Helm' and the family's financial worries are taking them dangerously near to the edge.
This is a wonderfully entertaining story full of delicious humour that borders on being downright bawdy at times, but in the best possible way. Lizzie is a terrific character, unafraid of expressing her harsh opinions but at the same time tender and kind, but only when it is deserved. As with the previous book there are moments of poignancy in the story but they never stray into being oversentimental.
Nina Stibbe is a massively gifted writer and I personally think she has the characterisation skills of Jane Austen coupled with the linguistic humour of Victoria Wood. I know this is high praise indeed but if you take the time to read and focus on some of the passages in this book you really begin to wonder how something that initially appears so simple can in fact be so perfect and succinct.
Helen Baxter gives an excellent reading and is totally believable as the 15 year old Lizzie. This is a book that will lift your spirits and make you laugh out loud. If you haven’t done so already, you should read Man at the Helm first and become fully immersed in the marvellous world of the Vogel family.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully read!

Helen Baxendale captures the humour and characters in this book perfectly.

Loved the story, listened to it twice now, if you remember the 70's there's lots of references and reminders of the time.

It's like listening to a friend telling you about their job and life!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A fantastic story, beautifully read

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book. The author's style is funny, heart warming and so relatable. An absolute delight

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed this whimsical tale

Funny, empathetic statement on society with some great retro references thrown in that took me right back to my 20's

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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charming

a nostalgic look back at a bygone era . An utterly charming and amusing book .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Funny and sweet, a perfect summer holiday book

Relaxing and enjoyable, this is a tender but unsentimental account of fifteen year old Lizzie working at an old people's home when really she should have been at school. Her eccentric family, the irascible staff and the diverse characters who make up the inmates combine to form a lovely and warmhearted novel with a neat happy ending. My only slight reservation is that I think that the listener does need to be able to remember the 1970s in order to fully appreciate the humour - it is a super picture of that decade and I was reminded of many things such as Lincoln biscuits, Tio Pepe sherry, Marc Bolan and other emblems of the time that made the story very amusing!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Fly on the wall of daily goings-on.

Any additional comments?

Very witty tidbits and tales from a nursing home. Light hearted and sometimes sad but well worth a listen. Helen Baxendale fits the narration perfectly and her African nurse accent is fantastic!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A trip down memory lane.

Excellent narration. Storyline somewhat weak and at times rather far fetched. What made it enjoyable for me was the trip down memory lane in the 1970s. Being the same age as the lead character in the same year, and also growing up in Leicester, there was much that was familiar and brought a smile to my face. Anyone else remember going 'glice' skating in the old Granby Halls? Now demolished and another car park . I'd completely forgotten about Linco Beer shampoo, the desire for which leads our heroine into taking a part time job in a care home, as her mother won't buy it. The descriptions of the lives of the staff and residents within the care home are both amusing and touching, if not somewhat worrying. This is in an era before the likes of the Care Quality Commission existed though; it would be de - registered nowadays. Worth a listen, particularly if wanting something light.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful