Norbert Zelenka is a 73 year old widower and retired accountant who despite faithfully saving is now broke due to people taking advantage of his willingness to help others. He is so broke in fact that he is having to resort to obtaining food from his local food bank and has been receiving final notices on utility bills.
Along comes Carlotta’s Club which consists of three seniors – Carlotta, Birdie and Margaret, who have figured out Norbert’s predicament and are determined to help him turn things around financially. Their plan is for Norbert to become a fortune teller and to ply his trade at Good Fortune Café who is owned by Carlotta’s niece, Hope Delaney.
Norbert diligently studies the card-reading books he is provided by the three women and practices by doing readings for them. What the women and Norbert himself didn’t appreciate at the time was how intuitive and observant of people he is. Norbert has been a great observer of people and things and is adept at bringing these skills to his new profession. For example, a customer comes in for a reading from Norbert and he immediately notices that they are holding their arm in a peculiar manner. He has observed two other people in his past that held their arms in the same manner and the common denominator was that both people had home-cared parents who had had strokes. After a long period of caring for these stroke victims they had unconsciously started mimicking how the victims held their “dead” arm. Immediately Norbert asked his customer if they looked after someone who had had a stroke. The customer confirmed his insight and soon news of Norbert’s success at foretelling the future and the past spreads and he quickly becomes solvent again.
This book is about friendship (old and new) and it was entertaining to see Norbert’s confidence grow while at the same time, his loneliness faded as he became the unofficial fourth member of “Carlotta’s Club”. It was a cute, quick read.