NC Literary Hall of Fame



Play On! by Judy Dearlove

$25, paperback / $5.00 (RCWMS) or $9.99 (other) e-book
ISBN: 978-0-9960826-7-9
November, 2019
Available from the publisher, your local bookstore, or

"Daily life in an Arizona retirement community may seem like an unlikely topic for a novel. But Judy Dearlove’s gift for quirky details that define an ensemble of lovable characters makes this novel sing. Add a few local drag queens into the mix, and you’ve got a revolution in elder care. This is a brisk and joyful first novel by a wise woman."
—Georgann Eubanks, author of the Literary Trails series and The Month of Their Ripening (UNC Press)

"If we’re lucky, we will all end up in a retirement community. If we’re really lucky, it’ll be the Foothills, and Maxine will be our next-door neighbor. In this lively novel, Dearlove gives us a heartwarming portrait of a community of elders. She channels Maxine and her friends with wry wisdom, wit, and a clever plot. Even if aging has slowed the characters physically, their intelligence and humor shine through with sparkling dialogue and hijinks that will keep you on your toes. What a fun and impressive debut!"
—Lynn York, author of The Piano Teacher

"This is the funniest book I’ve read in years. In the tradition of Clyde Edgerton, Judy Dearlove gives us characters to believe in, whip-smart dialogue, and a plot that keeps us reading. In this rollicking tale of palace intrigue, sneaky tactics, and the deep affection of a fifty-year friendship, the characters are easy to love and the plot is a tour de force. A Must Read Book." 
—Frank McNair, author of the novel Life on the Line

In pursuit of an improbable goal, Maxine gathers an eclectic band of fellow retirees, bridge buddies, and eccentric young people for an adventure that becomes part cat-and-mouse caper and part soul-searching quest, with a series of moves worthy of a Life Master. Along the way, they confront age discrimination, a nearly estranged daughter, the tribulations of technology, and a cunning adversary. Ultimately, however, Maxine’s greatest challenge comes from within, and in the end she has 24 hours to set things right.

Play On! celebrates the resiliency and creativity of characters who acknowledge their own mortality while embracing the life-affirming values of friendship and solidarity. Breaking through the limitations of age, they pursue their dreams with grace, great good humor, and a skilled sense of gamesmanship.

On her road to fiction writing, Judy Dearlove has enjoyed a variety of careers: tenured professor of English, technical writer, manager of ergonomic engineers, head of a corporate communications initiative, and director of a college tutoring center. Her mother lived in a Tucson retirement community similar to Maxine’s.

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