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Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashley #Review

  I an delighted to be part of the celebrations for Phillipa Ashley's Summer novel, Second Chance Summer which was published by Penguin on June 6th. From the moment Lily Harper arrives at a remote retreat on the breath-taking Scilly Isles, she is itching to get back to civilisation - and her thriving business. Slowing Down simply isn't in her vocabulary, and so she quickly clashes with the gorgeous but dour Sam who runs the retreat. Just as Lily is about to give up and leave, disaster strikes, and she is involved in an incident that changes her perspective on everything. Lily is no longer sure she wants to return to the life she thought she loved. But will she have the courage to give the retreat, and Sam, a second chance? Praise for the Author ‘Full of genuine warmth and quirky characters’   Woman’s Own ‘Filled with warm and likeable characters. Great fun!’ Jill Mansell ‘Utterly glorious … one of the freshest voices to emerge in women's fiction today’   Cl

The Dry by Jane Harper **Blog Tour**

    I am delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour to celebrate the UK launch, in hardback, of Jane Harper's debut novel, The Dry. Set in the seering heat of Australia which is caught in a crippling drought, it paints a picture of life in a close knit and suspicious community.

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I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone things Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

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My Thoughts: 

    The tension and suspense in this story crackled like the all enveloping heat. When I first picked up the book, I wasn't sure if it was going to be my cup of tea, but in fact, I was drawn into it from the start. Jane Harper creates a well plotted story which weaves together the tensions of the past with the present with such finesse. The flashbacks are never intrusive but cast light on the different characters and events. As new bits of information are gleaned, you have to reassess what you think of the characters and who you can trust. It certainly is a book which keeps you on your toes.

    Through the flashbacks, you come to learn more about why the central character of Falk left the town as a boy. Although he is a policeman, you are never quite sure whether you can trust him and that goes for most of the characters who live in the slightly claustrophobic town. In a way, I felt that the book was really about the whole town and how the past events have festered below the surface. 

    I tend to think that this is a story which would translate well to the screen. Through little details, we come to know the different inhabitants and the atmosphere of the heat and drought makes for such tension. The characters continue to intrigue as more of the past comes to light. In all, it is a well written and arresting first book.

In short: Atmospheric and full of jeopardy, a superb debut novel. 

About the author 


Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK. She lives in Melbourne and currently writes for the Herald Sun. Jane is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2008. The Dry is her first novel.

You can connect with Jane here:

 Thanks to Grace Vincent at Little, Brown for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.


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