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One of the things I LOVE about The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village is how vibrant the underscoring soundtrack felt to me as I first read it. Joanna Nell has incorporated so many musical touchpoints throughout her novel, and I thought there was no better way to honour Peggy, Angie, Brian and Basil (and how can I forget Jim Wilde!) than pulling together this ‘All the Jacaranda Ladies’ playlist.

Aside from the obvious choices where Joanna indicated specific songs in scenes, I took great joy in figuring out which Lionel Richie song Peggy grooved to in the car, and whether it was the obvious ‘Sexbomb’ or indeed the classic ‘It’s Not Unusual’ that the committee would have selected from Tom Jones’ discography to strut the runway to. The inclusion of ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman!’ was one of the last to make the list, but totally captures Peggy’s makeover scene. I can definitely see Peg and Angie getting their boogie on in the change-rooms, can’t you?

Of course there’s references to Peggy’s husband, Ted (‘I Say a Little Prayer’, ‘Lean on Me’), and best-frenemy Angie (‘Angela’, ‘You’re My Best Friend’). Even Basil gets his own tune! And I can’t tell you how much I laughed during the scene in which Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’ played in my head. Glorious.

The utter joy and heart of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village filled me with warmfuzzies, and listening to this playlist alongside a repeat read made for an added layer of fun (nearly as much as curating it in the first place).

Culling this down to 22 songs was pretty tricky, but do you think I missed any essentials? If you have a song to add to the playlist, let me know!

  • The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village - Joanna Nell

    The life of 79-year-old pensioner PEGGY SMART is as beige as the decor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. Following a very minor traffic accident, things have turned frosty with her grown-up children and she is afraid they are trying to take away her independence. The highlight of Peggy's day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim. She dreams of inviting the handsome widower - treasurer of the Residents' Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village - to an intimate dinner. But why would an educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties. But a chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn't seen in five decades - the glamorous fashionista ANGIE VALENTINE - sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Stacey Clair

Stacey Clair

As the Publishing Assistant for the Australian Publishing team, most of my brainspace and TBR pile is full-to-the-brim with titles from Hachette’s local list. Since home is Maroons territory, you’ll find me shouting about Queensland authors with a smidge of extra pride at @staceyclairrr, but I’m also prone to blithering about films, feminism, and other f-words too. Get on my good side with a Star Wars or Seinfeld reference, a jar of peanut butter or a great/terrible joke.

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