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Publisher Description

'An endearing novel about one gutsy, smart and inspirational woman. I want to be Shirley when I grow up.' Rachael Johns

'Beautiful, breathtaking and heart-wrenching.' Australian Women's Weekly

'Elderly. Is that how the world sees me? A helpless little old lady? If only they knew. I allow myself a small smirk.'

When Shirley Sullivan signs her 83-year-old husband, Frank, out of the Sunset Lodge Nursing Home, she has no intention of bringing him back.

For fifty-seven years the couple has shared love, happiness and heartbreak. And while Frank may not know who his wife is these days, he knows he wants to go home. Back to the beach where they met in the early 1960s . . .

So Shirley enacts an elaborate plan to evade the authorities – and their furious daughter, Fiona – to give Frank the holiday he’d always dreamed of.

And, in doing so, perhaps Shirley can make amends for a lifelong guilty secret . . .

'With both humour and heart, The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan takes the reader on a (literal) journey – in a Kombi van! – following one couple’s unconventional love story, and examining the lengths a person will go to to right the wrongs of a lifetime. This is Lisa Ireland’s breakout novel for sure.' Sally Hepworth

'Lisa Ireland’s writing is simply magical, and Shirley’s charming and heartfelt story brought me to tears again and again. The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan is one of my favourite books, ever.' Kelly Rimmer

'This moving story, celebrating ageing and all types of love, will leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.' Rachael Johns

Fiction & Literature
28 April
Penguin Random House Australia
Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Customer Reviews

DJJ-2208 ,

Total page-turner

I adored this book on every level. Shirley Sullivan is smart, funny, flawed, bold and vulnerable. Due to the deft and clever handling of a dual time-line, we’re able to cheer on 79 year-old Shirley as she races against the clock. At the same time, we’re given the opportunity to fall in love with her as the milestone events in her life slowly unfold.
Shirley might be almost eighty, but her story will resonate with anyone, of any age. Many of her struggles are the result of the times in which she lived, but her emotional story is universal.
Lisa Ireland has produced a beautifully constructed, heartfelt and heart-touching story. Shirley and Frank Sullivan will stay with me, long after I’ve put the book down.

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