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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

Growing up for Beginners by Claire Calman #Review

Boldwood Books published Claire Calman's Growing up for Beginners on June 4th and I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate its release.

It’s not easy being a grown-up, but at 47, Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now...

When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.

Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.

Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.

Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up... before it’s too late.

 My Thoughts

I loved the tone of this book which is thoughtful and layered. You follow the stories of different people, over several timeframes, and gradually decipher the connections between some of them. It does take some concentration, especially at the beginning, to differentiate between who is who and at one point, I considered drawing up a series of family trees to try to sort out who was connected to who. The feelings of the characters are nuanced and I found the characters all to be richly drawn.

    There are several moments when I did find myself smiling at the reactions of some. Roger has to be the character you love to hate and you will Eleanor to assert herself. This is a novel which spans the generations and shows the dynamics within families and relationships. It certainly gives the reader plenty to think about, as it shows the damage which can be wrought. Parents, siblings, lovers, husbands and wives are all under the microscope.

In short: A thoughtful examination of relationships over time.

About the Author

Claire Calman is a writer and broadcaster known for her novels that combine wit and pathos, including the bestseller Love is a Four-Letter Word. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends.

You can follow Claire here:  Newsletter sign up  |  Twitter

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Claire Calman, Boldwood Books and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources  for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

Follow the rest of the tour!



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