Berringden Brow: On Days Like These
By Jill Robinson
Sunday, 13 February 2022
Shouldn't there be more to retirement than making bramble jelly, delivering meals on wheels, and contending with the antediluvian attitudes to women of a fellow choir member, wonders Jess.
Twenty years after the publication of the first Berringden Brow story, the popular series has reached its sixth instalment, On Days Like These.
Struggling single parent Jess has by now retired and her family has grown up, but her life continues with an array of quirky misadventures and scrapes.
In this book, between delivering meals on wheels and contending with the unwanted attentions of a fellow choir member, Jess finds herself brow-beaten into accepting a free lesson at a celebrity chef's cookery school, before attempting to help a trio of rough sleepers camping in the local park in winter.
She then tries to support an attractive but depressed neighbour before making the alarming discovery that her friend Nick may well be the victim of a 'cat-fishing' scheme. Is it really wise for an unworldly septuagenarian to go chasing off to Colombia to meet the beautiful young Paola, forty years his junior, and will she turn out to be who she says she is?
Fans of the entertaining series will no doubt be delighted to read this latest episode chronicling life in a fictional Pennine village, described as being located "not far from Hebden Bridge".
Over the past two decades the Berringden Brow books have gone all over over the world, as well as building a loyal local following. The series has been taken by libraries, reading groups and bibliotherapy groups.
Writer Jill Robinson has received many emails, letters, cards and messages from readers expressing appreciation of the books. Some have accused Jill of spying on their lives, since many women identify strongly with the hapless heroine and her everyday battles with kids, dogs, jobs, men, the recycling ... seemingly, all human life is contained with the pages of the books. (Readers often claim "the same thing happened to me!" and one went so far as to say that she believed that she and Jess might have gone out with the same dreadful man.)
However, the most treasured tribute came from a woman living with depression, who wrote that the Berringden Brow books had given her back her love of reading. "The most wonderful thing anyone could possibly say to a writer," says Jill.
On Days Like These is available to order from book shops including The Book Case in Hebden Bridge. And from the Berringden Brow Facebook page.