‘Victoria Park’ is the latest book by Gemma Reeves.
Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona’s declining health. Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year.
This book was such a pleasant surprise. When I settled into it, I initially thought it was a story but really it read like a collection of short stories around the residents of Victoria Park over the course of a year. This made for observational and lovely reading, as we joined these people on the different issues and adventures that were impacting their lives.
A lovely thing about each story was the connections from the previous stories with the same characters unaware of the impact that they were making on each other.
The stories focus on many different issues such as dementia, infidelity, fertility and death and each issue is handled with sensitivity and grace. A particular story and character that stood out to me was the first story in the book called ‘Smoking Salmon’ and it features an elderly man called Wolfie and his wife Mona. For me they were the central characters in the book, as they appeared in many other stories and the focus was dementia as Mona battled with the illness and Wolfie was determined not to put her into a home. Wolfie is a gruff character, a pillar of the community with having owned a popular deli but with Mona, he’s kind and never loses patience with her confusion. They regularly regale on their old life, before the illness took hold and it’s lovely to read their life together, their courtship and challenges along the way.
Beautifully and sensitively written that handled many subjects that are so current in our world, ‘Victoria Park’ is an insightful story about community and coming together with a fresh adventure with each story keeping the reader fully engaged.
You can buy ‘Victoria Park’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.