Sixty and Me is a community of women on a journey to get the most of life after 60 and to release the memories and regrets that have lingered for decades. So, it is always refreshing and intriguing to get a sneak peek into the lives of eight women doing just that.
The book I want to feature this week is The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright. It is described as a story about “one woman’s mid-life crisis that turns into a hilarious and touching adventure.”
It appears to be a book for all women who need a nudge and a gentle reminder that the journey, not the destination, is where the adventure lies.
The main character is Che Milan. She is a quirky and unpredictable woman who has just been dumped by her long-time partner and left orphaned after the death of her quite eccentric mother.
When her mother’s ashes arrive, Che remembers that she had made her mother a half-hearted promise to take her remains to the shrine of Becket. Thus, Che heads off to a small town in England – called Canterbury – and she sharpens her focus as she starts a pilgrimage of guilt and regrets.
Soon after she arrives at the starting point in London, Che meets up with a group of seven other women who have their own set of life experiences and unfinished business. Together, they start walking the 60 miles from London to the shrine of Becket in the Canterbury Cathedral.
The reason for this specific destination is the rumour about miracles taking place there. And all eight of these women are looking for redemption.
By the way, Canterbury is the most wonderful town, and the cathedral truly is breath taking. In fact, here is a picture of me in front of it!
The English country side has its own magic, and the author does a wonderful job of describing its beauty and the power of its history. Che, at one point, loses her cell phone and is forced to slow down, go deep and work through her life review.
So yes, this book is about the journey, not the destination.
Along the way, the eight women share their stories, and in searching for their individual redemption, find a connection of sisterhood. They are an intriguing group, all wonderfully developed as characters.
They ponder the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of true love. Each woman’s set of personality quirks, strengths and shortcomings is highlighted and celebrated.
The transformation that takes place in their lives is familiar to our Sixty and Me sisters. New possibilities lie beyond our fears and doubts, and that is where the true depth of this book reveals its message.
Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.
Somebody once told me that “aging is profound.” The Canterbury Sisters validates this perspective. It is a fun and revealing read about the complexities of getting older and about the power of friendship.
It is about letting go of the past and celebrating the strength of making connections between women who have shared life experiences and a vision for a purposeful and happy life.
Have you ever taken a pilgrimage to get to the bottom of something troubling you? Would you like to? Have you read The Canterbury Sisters? If so, what did you learn from it? Please share in the comments below.