One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar
Publisher: Hera Books
Publishing Date: 6th March 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 374
Buy the Book: Kindle
The path of true love never did run smooth…did it?
Kelsey Anderson is stuck in a rut so big, she’ll need a 4-wheel drive to get out. She’s just been made redundant from her dead-end job, and boyfriend Fran is so busy climbing up the career ladder that he’s forgotten how to have fun. She needs to change her life – and fast.
Stumbling across an advert for tour guides in Stratford-Upon-Avon seems like the perfect way to bring the sunshine back. In an impulsive move, she moves from her small Scottish village to Shakespeare’s birthplace, armed only with a suitcase and her battered copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.
Kelsey quickly falls in love with the place, her job as a tourist guide allowing her to explore every inch of the picture-perfect town, from cosy cafes to the picturesque banks of the river.
But it’s not just the town that captures her heart, as she finds herself torn between the actors Will and Jonathan who both vie for her affections.
But will beautiful Peony, the lead actress at the Oklahoma theatre company where Jonathan is playing Oberon in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, play a role in keeping Kelsey and Jonathan apart?
Or will flirtatious, charming Will, the fellow tour guide who has set his sights on Kelsey, keep the star-crossed lovers from finding their happy ending?
A gorgeously uplifting, feel good romance that will captivate readers of Holly Martin, Cathy Bramley and Milly Johnson.
Kelsey Anderson finds herself in a rut. She’s just lost her job in a camera shop that she truly loved, her long – term relationship with Francis seems to be going downhill and she really doesn’t know what it is she wants to do with her life. She loves taking pictures, she loves Shakespeare and her fondest memory is this of her last holiday as a family in Stratford – Upon – Avon when her dad was still alive. So when she notices an offer to work as a tour guide in Shakespeare’s birthplace what has she got to loose? It’s only for a summer and maybe after this time they will be able to solve their problems with Francis? Her family and her best friend Mirren encourage her to make this move, Francis is not so thrilled… But as it’s only a temporary position, she decides to go.
I absolutely loved the idea of Kelsey working as a tour – guide. I still can’t forget Molly Hopkins’s Evie Dexter’s series, and it’s years since I’ve read them, and they were a real hit, and I hoped for something very similar with “One Summer’s Night”. I really liked the few rounds of sight – seeing that we got, the interaction with the tourist and the way they were organized and I’d love to read more about them. There were hilarious tourists, some embarrassing situations and the eclectic group of the tourist guides – a lovely idea that felt a little too underdeveloped in comparison to Kelsey’s love life and the many things Shakespeare. The author has really well captured the “Olde English” feeling of the place and vividly and scintillatingly described all the places, bringing them to life.
Kelsey was the main character and she was lovely and full of warmth, though I had a feeling that mentally she’s much younger than her age. I liked her relationship with her family but I wanted more maturity there to be honest, and it felt as if she was sheltered from everything her whole life. Yes, of course, she had her own amount of grief in her young life and my heart went for her but the amount of her sobbing in the book was overwhelming. However, she was a good – hearted person, too easily jumping to conclusions and too quickly withdrawing when there was something happening in her life that didn’t go according to plan, and she would be even better a character with a little dose of self – belief, as she was counting on other people’s help too often. She was just a normal girl but it was probably this normality that made her feel so real and likeable – stuck in a rut, not sure what to do with her life and how to do it, uncertain, her dreams of photography long forgotten, her relationship rather stagnant but better such relationship than none, right? But there was still life in the girl, and even though she’s full of fear, she decides to take the opportunity of the tour guide job. Often questioning herself and her abilities but always finding strength in the end to stay upbeat, to find the courage and it was nice to see her eventually finding her feet and making up her mind, making decision.
The other characters were a group of eclectic, colourful people, perhaps too cartoonish sometimes but still likeable and entertaining.
I enjoyed the writing style, it is very vivid and eloquent, and chatty and also somehow poetic and lyrical – an unusual combination but it works wonders here. I could feel the heat of the midsummer, so vivid was it described, and the descriptions of the town were beautiful – it was a lovely escapism. However, eventually, the whole story started to feel too one – dimensional, too flat and honestly a bit too predictable, too clichéd, too neat. I had a feeling when reading it that I’ve been there and I’ve seen it all.
“One Summer’s Night” covered swelteringly hot summer in Stratford – Upon – Avon, romance, affairs, a great amount of confusion and jumping to conclusions so if you’re looking for an easy, predictable romance with straightforward characters, it’s a book for you. It was a warm, feel – good and uplifting read with some unforgettable moments and gorgeous descriptions.
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