Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Novel set in BRIGHTON and BRISTOL

20th June 2024

Goodbye Birdie Greenwing by Ericka Waller, novel set in Brighton and Bristol.

Novel set in BRIGHTON and BRISTOL

I fell in love with the women of Shrublands Road and I didn’t want them to go!

I’d heard great things about this book, and I am not disappointed. Goodbye Birdie Greenwing by Erika Waller is about three women, representing different generations and backgrounds, living on the same street in Brighton.

Birdie Greenwing has been mourning the loss of her husband and twin sister for years. She seldom goes out and has no friends. Her neighbour, Jane, is a busy nurse and has a schoolgirl daughter to take care of. She has little in the way of social life either. Then there’s Ada, a doctor who has left her farming family in Poland to care for patients in the UK. Her social life involves shopping at, and occasionally helping in, her local Polish shop. Each feels isolated, despite living in a busy community. They are unable to articulate their needs, whether for approval, friendship or love, and they internalise their feelings. When something unexpected and awful happens there’s a butterfly effect, where everything shifts in a subtle way and gradually the women begin to grow and change.

The author offers a tender, engaging account of the women’s situations – but that is just the start. Each chapter focuses on one of the three, with a mini cliffhanger ending, so that you desperately want to keep reading. It almost has the qualities of a detective novel, in that it raises questions as it goes along and then very subtly answers them much later on.

Buy Now


I loved the way that each of the women has her ingrained beliefs and habits challenged. The characters are larger than life and it’s easy to compare them with people I’ve known, or dare I say it with aspects of my own personality! They all have habits and routines that they use to cope with life’s daily challenges. When they realise that things have changed and they start to adapt their ways, they find that change can be positive and rewarding.

The action takes place for the most part in Brighton, which is described variously as a place of youthful excitement, natural wonders and dull suburban routine. The author uses the setting skilfully to reflect the mood at any given time, whether that’s nostalgia for the characters’ youth or their fear of progress, and of decline.

 I can imagine the book appealing to readers of any age, even teenagers might identify with young Frankie’s forthright correction of the adults around her. The humour in the book is delicious and subtle: the wisdom is sublime. There were times when I found it deeply moving, yet it is a joyful celebration of friendship, especially among women. I confess I savoured the last chapters slowly, not wanting the book to end.

Sue for the TripFiction Team

Buy Now


Catch our reviewer Sue on TwitterX @SueKelsoRyan and on IG @SueKelosRyan

Join team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction) and BlueSky(tripfiction.bsky.social) and Threads (@tripfiction)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *