Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van by Ali McNamara
Publishing Date: 14th June 2018
Source: Received from the publisher via netGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 368
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Welcome to the gorgeous Cornish town of St Felix, where there’s magic in the air…
When Ana inherits a broken-down camper van from her best friend, she takes the chance for a quick trip to Cornwall – some sea air and fish and chips on the beach is just the tonic she needs.
But St Felix has bigger plans for Ana. She discovers a series of unsent postcards, dating back to the 1950s, hidden in the upholstery of the van. Ana knows that it’s a sign: she’ll make sure that the messages reach the person that they were meant for. And as the broken-down van is restored to gleaming health, so Ana begins to find her way back to happiness.
Ana’s best friend Daisy died of cancer and in her will she left her a camper van and some money to restore it. To collect it Ana must leave London and travel to St Felix in Cornwall. Hoping it’s going to be only a quick trip, Ana sets off on her journey. However, upon arriving at the garage, she finds that fate had other ideas. Firstly, the owner of the garage is absent and has left a young man in charge. secondly, the van turns out to be very, very out of order and is in a need of a huge restoration. No quick trip for Ana, then, she’s for a longer stay in gorgeous St Felix.
While restoring the van, Malachi discovers a collection of postcards written by Lou to Frankie. They’re dating back to 1945, until the early 2000’s. What’s very suspicious, they’ve never been sent. After some more cards reveals themselves, Ana decides to find the owner and, hopefully, the recipient of the cards. With the help of Malachi and the local antique dealer Noah Ana starts an emotional, sentimental and magic journey.
I absolutely loved the romance aspect in this story, with two potential and promising suitors. They were both so lovely, actually, that I wasn’t sure who would be better for our Ana – who, actually, hasn’t been looking for love, to be honest. But it’s usually like this, when you’re not looking for something than you can be sure that you’re going to find it. There is the cheeky, spontaneous, charming and funny Malachi and his opposite, Noah, the local antique dealer, calm and quiet. It looks like they both really like Ana… The will they/won’t they was there, however there were a few moments that it felt too over – done and also too clichéd and predictable but on the whole it was well done – and it was a slow burner, there was no rush and so it didn’t felt too forced, even if Ana wasn’t looking for love.
The thing with the cards… mmmm… I am not so sure if it worked for me completely or not. It was a brilliant idea but for me it could be differently, better developed. We need a very long introduction before we get to the cards themselves but we get a brilliant story in return, so no bother here. It was also nice to see how Ana is trying to track down the recipient and sender of the cards but still, there was something missing for me, the finishing touch was not there.
I’ve missed on Ali McNamara’s last book but in some of her previous reads there was always something magical, something that could either work or not, and in this book it was the same. And yes, it could have make the whole read unbelievable but this author really knows how to add this pinch of magic to make the story work, and so I really enjoyed “Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van”. Maybe it felt a little too flat at the end, yes, and towards the end it also felt a little too rushed, and while there were some hints in the plot through the whole novel I think that this magic element was left too unattended and was revealed a little bit too late to truly work its magic (pun intended). But on the whole, it was incredibly warm, funny and at the same time poignant story that had me glued to the pages. This, what on the surface might have seen as a straightforward chick lit novel has in fact many layers and hidden depth.
So altogether, it was really one of the most adorable, loveliest stories ever. It was uplifting and the descriptions were gorgeous. Colourfully, richly written and with great characters – yes, sometimes some of them were behaving too childish for my liking, but oh well, we all have our moments, right – and you just want to know what’s going to happen. The setting is gorgeous as well, I think I can’t have enough of the beautiful Cornwall. The author also touches upon much deeper and heavier issues, such as illness, death and grieving process and she blends them in a perfect way. Highly recommended!