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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

One Last Time by Helga Flatland Translated by Rosie Hedger #Review #Giveaway


Helga Flatland is an acclaimed Norwegian writer. I am delighted to be part of the celebrations for One Last Time. and to be able to offer you the chance to win a print copy. Details on how to enter are at the foot of this post. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading  A Modern Family, which was her first novel translated into English.

Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her – and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia – it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.

A spur-of-the moment trip to France acts as a catalyst for the three generations of women to reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires – and to learn humbling and heartwarming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.

With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark insight, sharp yet warm wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all – and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. An enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure what we have and rethink how we live our lives, from one of Norway’s most distinguished literary novelists.

My Thoughts

This is a quiet but powerful novel which shows you the complicated dynamic in one family, across the generations. In fact, you discover that there is a complex relationship between Anne and her daughter, Sigrid and the impact of that on Sigrid's daughter, Mia.  After the shattering cancer diagnosis, you are shown the effect on the family. Sigrid, with her medical background understands too well the prognosis. As the story evolves, you feel the tension between them tighten. 

    Everything seems economical in the writing. It is pared back and so effective for that. It seems raw and heartrending at times. The point of view alternates between Anne and Sigrid. Sigrid finds it difficult to show her mother her true feelings. Carrying her resentment against Anne for what she perceives to be her neglectful parenting, she has to come to terms with the present and the bleak future. Anne has an independent nature and , as you discover, has her own worries. In showing you different viewpoints on an evolving situation, you feel almost part of the group. This is a sensitive handling of a difficult subject but ultimately, a picture of a complex but very human family.

In short: a quest for understanding between the generations.

About the Author

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay  If  You  Can,  Leave  If  You  Must,  for  which  she  was  awarded  the  Tarjei  Vesaas’ First Book Prize. She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family (her first English translation), was published to wide  acclaim  in  Norway  in  August  2017,  and  was  a  number-one  bestseller.  The  rights  have  subsequently  been  sold  across  Europe  and  the  novel  has  sold  more  than  100,000  copies.  One  Last  Time  was  published  in  Norway  in  2020,  where  it  topped  the  bestseller  lists,  and  was  shortlisted  for  the  Norwegian  Booksellers  Award.

You can follow Helga here: Twitter 

Book links: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Helga Flatland and Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour. 

Check out these great blogs on the Blog Tour!

Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of One Last Time, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

  Closing date is June 24th 2021 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK only.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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