The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

 

44315343Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

Series: Scottish Bookshop #2

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 06.02.2020)

 

Synopsis:

A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!

The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

 

Rating: five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

Zoe is a single mum, struggling to bring up her son Hari in a tiny bed-sit in Wembley. Hari is a lovely 4 – year – old boy, but he can’t speak – at all. His father never seems to have money to help, so when Zoe’s landlord raises the rent on the flat and then the opportunity of a job as a nanny and a bookseller in the remote Scottish village arises, she doesn’t hesitate long. However, Zoe quickly learns that the three children she should look after have recently gone through 6 nannies and are determined to get rid of the 7th, immediately. The bookshop’s customers simply rely on Nina, the owner, to know which books they want to read and Zoe has no idea. Was this a mistake to move so far away from her old life?

Jenny Colgan is one of the best storytellers ever, period. Her writing style is exceptional, chatty and so natural, and there is always so much humour and wisdom in her words. Each time when reading her book I simply feel better, as if the book and characters were hugging me, making me feel better and more optimistic. It is also her unique talent to transport the reader into the setting of her stories, this time to the beautiful, wild Scottish Highlands – the descriptions are incredibly gorgeous and vivid and you immediately feel like being there, seeing rather than reading.

The characters, as always, were a perfect mix of personalities, all with such distinctive voices and all bringing so much to the story. I loved reading about Zoe and Hari, even though their lives are not like a garden full of roses. I actually immediately warmed to her and she was instantly growing on me more and more.
The children were simply hilarious, in their own ways, all already struck by the reality of life in different ways and Zoe is determined to help them all to get out of their shells, to enjoy life, even though it’s not too easy, especially at the beginning, and she has to struggle to earn their trust. She quickly realises that the children simply feel abandon and they are hurting, and their father is so remote that he might as well not be there at all. She knows that what the children need is love and attention, and I loved how right she was in her assumptions, and how much she tried to give them boundaries, rules and love.

What I also adored so much in this story is the sheer love of books and reading shining through the pages. There are so many quotes from some great books and it was brilliant, and the books really felt like characters of their own.

The element of the mystery was there as well, and the author also touches upon mental health issues, of course in a sensitive, gentle way, but she also writes about those things as if they were the most normal things in the world – which they are. There is also the issue of a patchwork family dynamics, the way it can affect us all but also how much it can give us, and really, no matter what Jenny Colgan writes about, it is simply brilliant.

“The Bookshop on the Shore” was charming, uplifting and so incredibly poignant story with quirky and sharp characters and there is so much more to it then a simple romance: problems, troubles, mayhem and humour, struggles of being a single parent, particularly to a child with some issues, about unconditional love and simply being strong. I loved every single word of this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

 

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Half a World Away by Mike Gayle

Half a World Away by Mike Gayle

 

cover155084-mediumPublisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

Synopsis:

The incredibly moving and uplifting new novel from the author of The Man I Think I Know.

Kerry Hayes knows exactly who she is: a single mum, a cleaner and Mariah Carey’s biggest fan.

Noah Martineau thinks he knows who he is: a successful barrister, with a wife, daughter and big house in Primrose Hill.

Strangers with nothing in common.
Strangers living worlds apart.

But it wasn’t always this way…and Noah and Kerry are about to discover just who they really are.

Rating: five-stars

 

Kerry is a hardworking single mother, raising her beloved son Kian. Life for her has never been easy. She was put into care as a child and changed foster families like you change your gloves, ending up in a home. Getting pregnant after few years of reckless and dangerous living made Kerry change her perspectives. She was determined to give her son the loving, stable home she has never had, even if his father is not interested in him. The only other person that Kerry has loved as much as her son was her little brother Jason, taken into care and then being adopted. Unable to find him, Kerry started to write letters to him via adoption agency. However, Jason is now Noah Martineau, adopted into a white middle class family, and he has been given any opportunity that he cleverly took the chance. He’s a barrister with his own perfect family, or at least it looks like this, and he actually never wanted to know about his previous life. So when a litter from Kerry arrives, he couldn’t be more than surprised. Will he get in touch with his sister? He has no idea that for Kerry it may be the matter of life and death.

In this character – driven novel the characterisation is absolutely perfect. It is told from Kerry and Noah’s perspectives, and they both have distinctive, strong voices. The way they tell their story makes you quickly immersed and engaged in their lives and I immediately found myself rooting for them both, sitting at the edge of my seat and biting my nails. Kerry was absolutely brilliant, down – to – earth, realistic characters, who, despite life not being a garden full of roses, didn’t lose her sparkle, her love to colours and Mariah Carey. Noah was great, clever and realistic, and there so much to him that you could think at first.
Watching their relationship develop was like an emotional rollercoaster ride, with all its ups and downs, so incredibly uplifting but also sad, as there were so many challenges thrown under their feet. It was moving, it was poignant and it simply felt SO. REAL.

It was absolutely Mike Gayle at his best – he’s back in the best form ever and “Half a World Away” only shows his real talent. It is a book that’s going to pull you in immediately from the start, a story that’s going to break your heart and give you tons of hope. It’s emotional, it’s full of feelings, heart and soul, it’s bitter – sweet, raw and honest, brilliantly written and touching family saga with a difference.
It was a beautiful, tugging at the heart – strings but also not too wishy – washy and overdone story about family dynamics, about choices, letting go and learning to hold on. The author touched upon many difficult issues but he does it with easy humour and gentleness, and this plus the great characterisation made me feel a part of this story. Mike Gayle is a great observer of a human nature and he can effortlessly and eloquently put his observations into words. Actually, guys, you should simply treat yourself and read it the book asap. Highly recommended!

 

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

 

42848113Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 30th May  2019

Series: I Heart Book #8

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The next hilarious novel in the I HEART series from international bestselling author, Lindsey Kelk.

Join Angela and Jenny in the series finale of the bestselling I Heart books, on the balmy beaches of Hawaii.

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.

At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up.

A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook…

Rating: five-stars

 

Angela has just started her new job and has to leave her little Alice for the first time for so long. Sure, Alex is a great dad, but well, you know… mum is a mum, right? However, she’s full of enthusiasm and actually happy to go out. Then Jenny invites her to a press trip to Hawaii and Angela is torn – it would be great to travel there with the whole gang, but what would Alex say? He says, go! She will miss her daughter but how can she miss on the opportunity of some free days paid trip to Hawaii, all inclusive? Sun, sea, best friends, what could go wrong?
Well, it’s Angela we’re talking about, there is much that can go wrong…

It was so, so great to be back with Angela and the whole gang, even with Cici. It was actually Angela at her best and I loved how easily and lovely she took to motherhood, how relaxed she was in fact, even though, as it turns out, juggling being a mum and being back to work is not as easy as she has thought it may be. Then there is also the fact of joining a mother – baby group that sounds much more like Mafia than your normal coffee – klatsch. She’s up to her eyeballs creating the new website and then she lets Jenny to convince her to travel with her, and some other friends, to Hawaii – typical Angela, no? However, Angela plus Jenny plus Louisa plus James, put together on a beautiful island, in a luxury villa can only mean troubles, and what follows is a hilarious, funny but also poignant story of friendship – full of scenes that you’ll never going to forget. Yes, I mean horse riding for example.

We have Angela, Jenny, Lou and Alex go through so much in all the books, we have travelled around the world, have seen brilliant places, and first of all, we have seen Angela, growing, facing her worst enemies, getting herself into many troubles and then getting back on her feet again. We have shared tears, laughter, all the ups and downs and taken Angela and the rest to our hearts. “I Heart” by Lindsay Kelk will stay one of the most recognisable, remarkable and unforgettable series. Ever.

I love Lindsey Kelk’s writing style. It’s chatty, it’s light – hearted but it’s also filled with feelings and emotions, and it’s a perfect mix. I have laughed out loud, I’ve cried, I rolled my eyes, I gasped and not only when reading “I Heart Hawaii” but all the other previous books as well. It was such a brilliant, crazy journey that brought so much happy hours. Actually, it took me a long time after I finished reading the book to write this review because I thought that it will be so final then. It’s like an end of the era, saying goodbye to Angela and Jenny, really. I’m not a very sentimental person when it comes to fiction, sure, I have my favourite series and when they come to an end it makes me sad, but here I can cry crocodile tears as I know I’m going to miss their mis(adventures), antics and embarrassments. However, personally, I think that it is the best end to a much loved series that we could expect and I absolutely loved it, the closure, the full circle, it left me feel very, very satisfied. There is as much humour as in the previous books, but there is also a little more serious tone in this story, which worked perfectly well – the characters do grow up, do mature and they do have different kind of problems. I know this review is a bit enigmatic and not giving away too much but it’s deliberately done – I simply want you to read this book for yourself, to love it as much as I did – and I’m sure you’re going to! It was Angela and Lindsey Kelk at their best and I can’t recommend the book highly enough!

 

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior / Book Tour

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

 

45431626Publisher: Bantam Press

Publishing Date: 2nd May  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 284

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

Synopsis:

Meet Ellie. She’s perfectly happy with her home and her husband and her quiet life. Happy enough, anyway. Which is why she’s so surprised to find herself drawn to an extraordinary stranger who gives her a gift – and a fresh perspective.

Meet Dan. He thinks that all he needs to be content is the time and space to carry on making harps. But the last thing he expects is for Ellie – and her cherry-coloured socks – to whirl into his life, bringing a string of surprises to his ordered existence.

Sometimes it takes a chance encounter to discover what your life can be . . .

This heart-warming, funny and quirky love story features…

86 plums,
69 sandwiches,
27 birch trees,
a 17-step staircase,
and a pheasant named Phineas

… and will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

Rating: five-stars

 

On the surface, Ellie seems to be happy with her life as Clive’s wife, an Exmoor housewife, as she describes herself. But Ellie wants more – from life, she wants to write poetry, she wants to feel the gentle wind on her face, she wants to contemplate the beauty of Exmoor Country. When she meets the harpmaker Dan, she fells in love with his workshop and his harps and his life attitude. Dan, on the other hand, also notices something in Ellie – and not only her cherry socks but her vulnerability, sadness and openness, and offers her not only triangle sandwiches, but also a harp of her own. But this is too extravagant a gift for Ellie’s husband Clive and he makes Ellie sent the gift back to Dan. Ellie does it – but she also let Dan to convince her to start to visit him more often and to learn play the harp – because it is her harp. This is the beginning of the changes in both of their lives – but for better or worse?

I think that it was already said in many reviews but I must repeat it – the writing style is beautiful and it feels so lyrical. This book is full of descriptions – of the setting, characters, feelings and thoughts, and when sometimes it’s annoying because you wait for something to happen, in this book it simply works brilliantly, it flows seamlessly and effortlessly and it’s a pure joy to read.

Dan was a great character and the parts told from his point of view were incredibly insightful and full of honesty, and they felt really genuine. I liked seeing world through his eyes, it was so pure and so true, everything was so evident to him but his appreciation of the surroundings and events was fantastic. How many people could appreciate a simple walk through Exmoor the way he appreciated his? It was brought to life by the author so vividly that I could see the things almost as well as if I were there with Dan. He noticed things that we wouldn’t pay attention to and it was a real joy to be able to see them with him.
Now, Ellie. She was a lovely character, full of kindness in her heart and she wanted only good things to happen. However, the more I got to know her, the more she annoyed me. She was so naive and so clingy and I couldn’t stand her way around her husband. I’m sorry, but this is how I felt. I simply fell for her so much that I didn’t want to see her like this – she was blossoming around Dan and she was so sad and fearful around her husband, and I hoped throughout the whole book that something is going to change for her.

The friendship between Dan and Ellie was one of the best friendships ever written, I think. They both found support in each other, they felt so secure in each other’s company, and it was pure, raw and real. It was also innocent and… well, yes – sweet. And unexpected – who would have thought that a lonely housewife and an introvert Dan would become such soul – mates? It was so lovely to see how those two, not expecting it, only realised what is missing in their lives when they got to know each other. Dan introduced Ellie to harps and music, and Ellie has given him something priceless.

The descriptions of the harp – making and what it involved were an art of their own. You could see how much research went into the book. And guys, the author has so wonderfully brought music to the pages, with every fingertip and hand move, the unique angelic sounds of the harp.

It was a very unexpected love story, a very special one, with special characters that I rooted for. There were tons of depth and meaning to this story, and I loved it. It was a heartfelt, poignant and beautiful story about friendship and love, showing that even if we’re not looking for them, we can find them in the most unlikely places. Highly recommended!

 

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Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley

Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley

 

43079139Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 11.07.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Meet Rachel, the beautiful bride with BIG plans for the perfect day! The venue is a castle and the dress is designer. It’s just a shame her husband is a rat.

Maddie and Sally have only one thing in common – they both love the same man!

Beth is a newly single mum with a mystery baby daddy. Surely the father isn’t someone the girls all know?

And then there’s Jane, the glue holding them all together, but being dumped doesn’t make her the happiest bridesmaid…especially with gorgeous flatmate Freddie complicating things.

Will the bride say, ‘I Do!’? Or will her bridesmaids save the day…and find love along the way?

The most hilarious, feel-good rom com of the year!

Rating: five-stars

 

“Bridesmaids” introduces us to Jane, who, after having been dumped on her hen night, isn’t so keen on weddings anymore. But when her best friend Rachel asks her to be her bridesmaid, she can’t say no, right? although the situation is rather awkward, as Jane knows a secret about Rachel’s husband – to – be and she really doesn’t know what to do!
The other bridesmaids turn out to be the girls’ school friends Sally, Maddie and Beth, and each of them have a secret of their own. Sally has married Maddie’s high school sweetheart Jack but Maddie still, secretly, loves him with all her heart. Beth is a single mum but won’t say a word about the father of her baby. Will all the secrets see the light of the day? And if so, why? Not at the wedding, right?

The story is told from Jane’s point of view and she is a brilliant narrator, and also an absolutely brilliant character, too often jumping to conclusions but that’s the way she is, putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with five or more, and I love such chaotic heroines! Probably because they’re like me. But back to Jane, who is such a warm, loveable character and her personal journey through the story, the decisions she has finally made, were heart – warming. She is the kind of character that simply makes you proud of them.
But we have a bunch of other, full of life, characters. Rachel, Jane’s best friend, Sally and Maddie and Beth. I loved how complex they were, how funny and how they often tried to put on a brave face to spare the others’ worries. They, like it usually is, had secrets that they kept from each other, but I really truly could understand why they were like this.

The story is full of hilarious moments and events and there were moments that reading it felt like watching a tennis game with your head going right and left, so many things happened and were said. The banter and dialogues were brilliantly light but also, believe me, it was full of feelings, this book, especially when Jane was wondering about her own emotions, and it was also so well written. It was uplifting take on love and relationships, marriage and also betrayal, but especially on friendship that will have you root for the characters and want to slap the others. The author easily pulls you into the story and from the very beginning you feel a part of the group and you’re with the characters through good and bed times.

“Bridesmaids” is written in such a light, chatty way and it was a real pleasure to read it. I’ve read all of Zara Stoneley’s books and loved all of them, and know how funny she can be, but this time the whole story is simply so light and bright and heart – warming and über – funny. It has this special feeling to it that makes you feel better and happier. I can’t recommend this gem of a book highly enough!

 

The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn / Blog Tour

The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn

 

44230692Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 390

Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A buried secret…

Present day: Anna is focused on growing her new gardening business and renovating her late grandmother’s house. But when she discovers a box hidden in a wall cavity, containing water colours of exotic plants, an old diary and a handful of seeds, she finds herself thrust into a centuries-old mystery. One that will send her halfway across the world to Kew Gardens and then onto Cornwall in search of the truth.

A lady adventurer…

1886: Elizabeth Trebithick is determined to fulfil her father’s dying wish and continue his life’s work as an adventurer and plant-hunter. So when she embarks on a perilous journey to discover a rare and miraculous flower, she will discover that the ultimate betrayal can be found even across the seas…

Two women, separated by centuries. Can one mysterious flower bring them together?

Rating: five-stars

In Victorian England, Elizabeth Trebithick is to continue after his death her father’s search for a very rare and dangerous plant in Chile. A plant that has the power to heal but also to – in inappropriate hands – to kill. It is of course unknown for women in this era to travel around the world, but Elizabeth is determined, and together with her maid Daisy sets off on a journey. A journey that will bring many changes to her life, but also a journey that is full of danger – Elizabeth is aware that she needs to find the plant before another pioneering botanist of those days will find it and sell it to the highest bidder.
In 2017 in Sydney, Anna Jenkins’s grandmother has recently died and left her granddaughter a house that Anna is right now renovating. She discovers a notebook, a mysterious metal box and inside she finds wonderfully preserved book of watercolour sketches of plants, a photograph and a bag of seeds. Here starts another journey – to discover the owner of the paintings and the truth about the seeds, and so Anna travels to Cornwall, where more family truths and secrets are being unearthed.

As it usually happens, Elizabeth, in Victorian England, was a much more colourful and quirky heroine that Anna in the present, and her story had pepper, as well as she had. She was ahead of her times in the way she was thinking and venturing on the journey, but there was also feminine side to her. She was determined and passionate.
There were more layers to Anna that we could think at the beginning, and yes, in comparison to Elizabeth she could be perceived as the weaker one but I think we should give her a chance, as there are many personal issues waiting to be unpacked. I had a feeling that the more she was discovering, the more open she became, and grew in confidence, and this is what she needed so much. Anywise, the author has captured both characters’ personalities in a great way, she outlined them really well. But we also can’t forget Daisy, Elisabeth’s servant, the unsung heroine of the tale. She was so loyal, always in the background but you could always count on her and the promise to Elizabeth was immediately honoured.

This story is told in dual frame narrative, and we travel through times and the world, from 1800’s Cornwall and Chile and back to Sydney in 2017. I enjoyed all of the settings, Kayte Nunn can truly bring her settings and characters to life but I think that it was Chile that was the most colourful, exotic and it simply swept me away. The way the story intertwined and played out was absolutely brilliantly done, I loved how the subplots were merged together and the author has connected them masterfully.

This book had a great feeling to it, it was simply a joy to read it. I’m not going to consider if Anna was a disgrace to today’s feminism, oh no, because I’ve seen the biggest picture and I’ve appreciated the story on the whole. Yes, sometimes the descriptions of the flora were perhaps too detailed and took too much pages but it was about the botanist’s daughter, so of course we could expect them in this novel. You can easily see that the author knows what she’s writing about – she herself has a personal interest in botany, and it reflects in the story through the passionate and vivid descriptions of all kinds of flowers. I am not a person with green thumbs, unfortunately, but the way the plant based medicines, the botanical medicine gaining momentum were described was very interesting, not too academic but with a passion and love.

“The Botanist’s Daughter” just hit the right note for me. Maybe it was not full of life – changing twist but there was enough adventure to keep me glued to the pages, and there was a moment or two that simply made me gasp and say out loud “oh no…!” The story moves along fast and briskly, the characters are vivid and coming to life on the pages and they have depth to them, there is a lovely romance or two and a great family mystery. It was brilliantly researched and the botanical details was plenty and lush, and what’s most important, it was absolutely not predictable – there are some tips and ties but I can only say this now, looking back, as they were really well hidden. It was surprising how dark it was during some parts, but it only added tons of significance and depth to the story. This book was a brilliant cross of historical fiction and present in dual narration and it simply ticked all the boxes for me. And let’s not forget the gorgeous cover of the book. It’s exquisite, with beautiful birds and flowers and blue. Highly recommended!

 

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If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

 

41149815Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 16th May 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Paige Toon. The perfect summer read for 2019!

Angie has always wanted to travel. But at 29, she has still never left her small mining town in the Australian outback. When her grandmother passes away, Angie finally feels free to see the world – until she discovers a letter addressed to the father she never knew and is forced to question everything.

As Angie sets off on her journey to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will enigmatic stranger Alessandro help guide the way?

Rating: five-stars

“If You Could Go Anywhere” introduces us to Angie, who always wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps and travel all over the world. She was known in the town as the one always asking people “if you could go anywhere, where would you go?” However, the circumstances didn’t allow it. Angie lives in Coober Pedy in Australia, a mining town, where her grandfather used to work before he died in an accident. Angie was left only with her grandmother, as her mother also died, shortly after giving birth to her. Her plans to travel have been delayed after her grandmother fell ill and Angie had to look after her. After her death she discovers something that is going to change her life and her whole world and prompts her to set forth on her first travel to Italy.

I confess, I’ve never heard about Coober Pedy and its people living in the dugouts. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine it, people living in caves, I mean, how? But of course people’s best friend Google was very helpful, and I’ve spent a fascinating few hours surfing through different pages and looking at photos of the dugouts – they are not only homes but there are hotels, churches, swimming pools… everything! Have learnt something new again, and it’s a brilliant feeling.
Also, the whole fictional community in Coober Pedy was simply great. They stick together, they support and they know everything about each other but not in this nosy, patronising way, no, it’s simply because they care. It was crystal clear how much Angie means to all of them and how much they mean to Angie.

Angie is such a straightforward characters, and I think it is due to the fact that she has spent all her life in Australia. But it doesn’t mean that she’s naive or silly, oh no, she’s a lovely and clever girl who took the opportunity and learnt a lot from people from all over the world who came to work in the mines. I loved her fresh look at the world, at her enjoying everything in such a fresh, genuine way.
Alessandro was another matter. I must admit that at the beginning I liked him much more than at the end. Sure, I know where he was coming from, I understood his feelings, and his secrets were heart – breaking but simply, this dark side of his just didn’t sit with me. This blowing hot and cold – yes, I know he didn’t want any commitments, he didn’t want to hurt anybody but did he think it through that being like this he does hurt people? Nevertheless, he was a complex and complicated character, just like I like it best.

I really enjoyed the fact that Paige Toon takes us on the tour through Roma and other parts of Italy, and that we can admire them through the wide – opened eyes of Angie but it was not too touristy – hope you know what I mean. Sometimes authors focus so much on describing every single thing in towns, on discovering the hidden places that you have a feeling it’s not a story but a tourist guide. Well, with this book it was not the case. When we near the end, the story significantly gains momentum. I don’t mean that it was slow – paced, because the pace was really great, there was all the time something happening, but because of the art of the events it felt like a roller – coaster ride at the end. It made your heart palpitate as you know that there is not much time left and you can’t be sure of the outcome.

It was a beautiful and romantic journey full of feelings and emotions. A magic story about learning to let go and to trust again, about friendship, family bonds and forgiveness. The extra bonus was the gorgeous setting of Italy and the brilliant and spot – on descriptions of the Italian family, big and loud and full of heart for everybody. I must admit that this time the story and the writing style reminded me a little on Karen Swan and her novels that I simply adore, there was also the element of mystery in “If You Could Go Anywhere”. Paige Toon also deals with the issue of mental health and of feeling guilty, and she does it in a great, gentle way, and I really appreciate the fact that she decided to write about this topic, it’s important and too often ignored, so hats off to the author for this – and I so liked the fact that this time it was a male character with the mental health problem, the author showing that the men can also be vulnerable, that they have feelings and that they can suffer for so long, and that it’s even harder for them to do something, to open up, to confess. I don’t know why but I have a feeling that this book is somehow a little bit serious in tone that the previous novels by Paige Toon. I mean, they were always dealing with serious issues as well but this time it just deals with such deep and pulling at the heart strings issues – another brilliant work from Paige Toon that I highly recommend!