Tuesday 28 June 2022

Review | The Slow Lane Walkers Club by Rosa Temple

Published by Simon & Schuster on May 26, 2022

The Slow Lane Walkers Club is a pure and gentle read – a book genuinely good for the soul. With its endearing friendships and its evocative feel of the waves crashing and all the beautiful sights Cornwall has to offer, Rosa Temple’s latest novel was a true delight.

When we meet Daniel, he has just returned to Cornwall. His gran has passed away and left her house to him and his sister, Ananabelle, and he sets about clearing out her belongings. Having left his old job behind, he is at a crossroads with no real idea what he wants to do with the rest of his life. In his early thirties – is now really the time he should be settling down? It was refreshing to read a book like this that centred on a male main character and I liked Daniel straight away.

One of the first things Daniel does is create a new walking club in the hope of making friends whilst he’s back in Cornwall. Though he only gives a few days notice before the first walk, he had hoped for more than just the one person to turn up. Especially given that the one person to turn up is Hazel, the strange old lady in crocs who he’d been trying to avoid. But as I and Daniel soon discover, Hazel is a real character with plenty of tales to tell. She’s kind, entertaining and full of spirit – and maybe a walk is worth slowing down for, for the chance to build an unlikely friendship.

It took its time to build in personnel but The Slow Lane Walkers Club became this lovely community with a mix of characters with different temperaments and at different stages in life. I loved the contrast between them and their “rival” walking club, the Padstow Pace Masters. The Pace Masters were all about speeding on and rushing to their destination whereas the Slow Lane Walkers took things at a much steadier pace. They would chat away, take breaks for snacks and gossip and a spot of matchmaking and always had an eye on their surroundings. The walking club members were interesting characters, if sometimes a bit annoying with their obsession with Daniel’s love-life, and the dynamics between them all were fascinating.

I think one reason why I enjoyed this book so much was that I felt like there was so much of me in it. I moved to the seaside a few years ago and for me, nothing beats a walk on the clifftops taking in the nature and the sea views. When the members of Daniel and Hazel’s walking club stop their walk because they’re distracted by conversation or by the sight of a bird flying past, I felt like this was my life in a book and I was a part of their club.

There were so many positive messages within the pages of The Slow Lane Walkers Club. This is a book about embracing the people in life, about slowing down and really taking in what’s around you. From the people you meet to the sights you see, there can be so much more to gain from a gentle walk instead of racing from place to place with no awareness of the world around you.

I could relate plenty to some of the characters in this book and often found myself a cross between Jess and Daniel. I could identify with them both, especially the way they feel when everybody around them seems settled and like they know what they’re doing with life, when they’re still stuck in limbo. But as this book seems to put across, you should live life at your own pace. There is no need to always put pressure on yourself to plan out exactly what your future holds when you can let life lead you there.

There was so much to love about this book. Set at a relaxing pace, it’s a lovely uplifting summery read with kind characters and heart-warming friendships. Hazel is the star of the show (closely followed by Bill the cat and his empty dish) and provides plenty of light to the story as well as some more touching moments. I enjoyed every chapter and really didn’t want the book to end but I love that the author didn’t feel the need to wrap everything up so perfectly as it keeps the characters still fresh in my mind. I feel like the Slow Lane Walkers may be accompanying me on my next walk…
Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.   

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