KNOWING one another as Skype acquaintances with a shared passion for reading is one thing but what if, as four individuals meeting for the first time, they have nothing else in common?
For more than a decade Ros, Judy, Simone and Adele have been members of the same book club, yet to date their contact has been purely online.
Ros, a classical cellist, lives in inner-city Sydney. Judy runs a yarn and knitting supply shop in Mandurah, south of Perth. Simone teaches yoga in Hobart, and Adele has just retired from a corporate management role in Adelaide.
All four are single at a point in their lives when the likelihood of forming a romantic connection is little more than a laughably remote pipedream. Adele and Simone have one adult child each; Ros is widowed and Judy is divorced. Their social contact ranges from ‘limited’ down to ‘all but non-existent’.
Now Adele has proposed converting their one-Sunday-afternoon-a-month literary discussions into a house-sitting holiday in the Blue Mountains spanning several weeks.
On face value it seems to be a light-hearted opportunity for each woman to get to know three relative strangers as potential new friends.
Taking turns to choose books that reveal something about themselves, they will share a beautiful big home with comfortable communal spaces and plenty of quiet corners into which to retreat if they feel like enjoying some solitude.
What they don’t immediately consider, however, is that women of their age are complex, idiosyncratic, sometimes-headstrong individuals with emotional baggage, health complications and a fierce desire to defend their privacy.
Even before their opening meal together has ended, at least one has made up her mind to leave. Surely their adventure must be doomed?
As the Bendigo Writers Festival draws nearer this is the perfect warm-up act for anyone who enjoys trading recommendations with fellow readers.