BOOK CLUB: The Cast Aways of Harewood Hall

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The Cast Aways of Harewood Hall will not be the only book of Karen Herbert’s that I will read.

Harewood Hall is an aged care retirement village. Josh is a university student who works there part-time. His life becomes quite stressful after a spur-of-the-moment decision to take two mice from the research labs at the university. 

Having nowhere to keep the mice, he decides to hide them in the village basement. Stress levels rise after it is reported in the media that mice are missing from the research lab, and the mice could be carrying a deadly disease.

How can Josh smuggle the mice back into the lab?

the cast aways of Harewood hall

We get to know various residents, and see life from their perspective. This includes Harley, the stray cat, who is always on the lookout for someone to give into his charms and feed him. Harley is also very aware and wary of Bobby the dog, who is always escaping from his yard and venturing around on his own.

There are lots of things going on in the village, such as the delivery of packing boxes and then their removal, only for more to reappear. And why has the resident’s water bills suddenly escalated? What can be done about the beautiful but perhaps dangerous gum trees?

I found this book very easy to read and loved seeing things through Harley the cat’s eyes.  The residents were very real and made Harewood Hall feel as if it really existed out there. This book was a lovely weekend read.

Thanks to Fremantle Press, a selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Cast Aways of Harewood Hall by Karen Herbert. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

6 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Cast Aways of Harewood Hall

  1. The Castaways of Harewood Hall by Karen Herbert ( @Fremantle Press) is a slow moving and meandering story, set in a retirement village.

    It very clearly reveals the author’s background of having worked in the nursing and aged care industry…and of having sat with people listening to their life stories, and their concerns. As a result, the author’s characterisation of the residents, workers, and the various animal pets at Harewood Hall is quite relatable and realistic.

    It is a well written, easy to read book, and the story unfolds through the perspectives of several of the main characters ( including the animals ). However I found the book (much like the residents lives) quite plodding and the ‘drama’ a bit luke-warm.

  2. This book was filled with quirky, funny characters who tell the story from their own perspectives as it moves forward. Even the cat gives his views and opinions! Fiona is the manager of Harewood Hall who deals with issues calmly and with kindness. Josh is a uni student who works a few hours supporting residents. Then there are a number of elderly residents, each with their own agenda and opinions.
    The day-to-day events of a retirement village all contribute to the overall plot and we become invested in finding solutions to increasingly difficult problems.
    I enjoyed this book very much; it was well-written and the characters were believable. The only thing I’d like to see is more resolution at the end – there are many unresolved issues and when a major crime is discovered, it is dealt with very briefly and almost in passing. I would have liked the loose ends tied up! Thank you to B&L and Fremantle Press for the opportunity to read this book.

  3. This is a gentle tale, told from the different points of view of a few of the delightful and very unique residents in Harewood Hall (I think I loved Martin the most), the manager Fiona, careworker Josh, and even Harley the cat! I really liked Fiona, genuinely nice and hardworking and caring, especially in her relations with the residents. They may be in retirement living, but they still have amazing skills and insightful minds as they keep an eye on things in the village. The front blurb notes there is ‘skulduggery in the basement’, which is indeed so. And possibly in the financials of the place as well. At the end these various plot points weren’t really drawn together satisfactorily as I would have hoped, so I still worried about some glaringly unresolved issues. Apart from that, it was an amusing, warm read.
    Thankyou Beauty&Lace and Fremantle Press for the review copy.

  4. The Castaways of Hardwood Hall, by Karen Herbert.
    A easy heart-warming book to read and enjoy .
    I loved all the different characters of Hardwood Hall retirement village the residents,workers and the animals .
    I liked reading each chapter with each character as the headings which made it interesting and easy to follow i won’t give the book away as it is very cleverly written with alot of laughs and seriousness .
    Thankyou for the chance to read this great book .
    I went to school with Karen Herbert so was a pleasure to read one of her books .

  5. The Cast Aways of Harewood Hall by Karen Herbert is a very enlightening story of a retirement village.

    Fiona the Manager, she deals with the day to day issues of Harewood Hall. Josh, a uni student, works a few hours a week doing odd jobs helping the residents. Then there are all the residents who all have their own opinions and ideas of how things should be done and run in the residential areas making for quite a busy time for everyone especially Fiona who needs to keep everyone pacified and happy. Looking through the eyes of Harley the cat was always of interest as he gave his views and opinions.

    I would imagine that this is how life would be in a retirement village.

    A great read which at times made me feel as if I was there in person at the retirement village.

  6. I The Cast Always of Harewood Hall by Karen Herbert I enjoyed the opportunity to read this book. This was a different book to what I normally read, but I enjoyed it. It felt like at times I was living in the retirement village. This book was cleverly written with each of the characters having chapters which kept you wanting to read to find out what was going to happen. Everyone//character has their own points of view and opinion on how things should be run and organised, I can imagine this happening in a retirement village and it would be a nightmare to keep everyone happy. Once again thank you the opportunity to read this book, it was an easy, delightful, funny and serious book to read.

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