The Lost Letter of William Woolf by Helen Cullen / Blog Tour

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

 

42643850Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 2nd May  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

SHORTLISTED FOR NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR, IRISH BOOK AWARDS

‘If you liked Harold Fry and Me Before You, you will love Cullen’s nostalgic debut. This life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there’ Independent

‘Delightful’ Sunday Times

‘Deeply moving’ Irish Times

‘I found myself totally transported into William’s poignant and beguiling world of lost opportunities and love’ A. J. Pearce, author of Sunday Times bestseller Dear Mrs Bird

______________

Inside East London’s Dead Letters Depot, William Woolf unites lost mail with its intended recipient. White mice, a miniature grandfather clock and a full suit of armour are among the more unusual items lost then found thanks to William’s detective work.

But when he discovers a series of letters addressed only to ‘My Great Love’, everything changes. Written by Winter to a soulmate she hasn’t yet met, her heartfelt words stir William in ways he has long forgotten. Could they be destined for him? But what about his troubled marriage?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve the mystery of his own heart.

Rating: four-stars

 

Let’s start with telling you that I loved the idea of the book – there is hope for letters that went missing or with unclear destination if they find their way to East London’s Dead Letters Depot, where thirty letter detectives work hard, trying to put together whatever clues they can find to reunite the letters with their recipients. William Woolf is one of those detectives. Since 1979, after inheriting the position from his uncle, he’s been working in the depot and he is the right man at the right place. He has his own way of choosing the letters, and one day he finds a midnight blue envelope addressed to “My Great Love”. He’s intrigued. The letters are written by a woman to a man she has never met but feels he’s her soul mate and she hopes to meet him one day. William is fascinated and starts to think they are meant for him, and so he sets his mind on finding this woman. Only he doesn’t take into consideration that his marriage to Claire already is like walking on thin ice. After a great beginning, it looks like they are both living separate lives.

The characters were really well drawn and full of personality. They were full of flaws actually, and gradually and slowly we are made aware of the problems that lie between them. William and Claire simply stopped to communicate and the result is that their marriage became stale and unhappy. William actually felt better among his letters – this is my personal feeling, and while his compassion, dedication and interest were directed towards the letters, his own marriage, real life is suffering. He was more of a loner, and a dreamer in my opinion, feeling much more comfortable with his letters than in his real life.
William was really passionate about his job, and this passion has started already when he was a young boy, filling his notebook with stories from the letters, and some of those stories became a kind of obsession to him, I think we can say this. He doesn’t see them as normal letters but he sees the story behind them, he sees people that send them and who are waiting to receive them. His personal favourites were the one categorized as Supernatural Division, it means letters addressed to God, mythic and mystics.

There were some gorgeous stories contained in those lost letters. They were funny, they were personal, they were heart – breaking and heart – melting. Some were hilarious, some were poignant but they were for sure the strongest part of the book. The book also told us about William and Clare’s relationship, about their highs and lows but I must admit that I had a feeling that these are the letters that are the real main storyline. They were stories of love, grief, loss and hope, beautifully capturing human nature and relationships, feelings and emotions.

It was a story about love that went wrong, about hope, lost communication, disappointment, second chances and a great deal more. It was rather a sad read, realistic and poignant. I had a feeling that the ending is a bit too rushed, especially compared to the rest of the book that was rather moderate in pace, and to be totally honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The author shows great insight into all areas that she writes about, let it be the letters, the stories, the relationships, exploring ups and downs, highs and lows of life and reality. The writing style is lyrical and eloquent but still easy to follow. Altogether, I enjoyed “The Lost Letters of William Woolf”, it was a read with a difference and I hope to read more from the author soon.

 

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Just My Type by Hannah Doyle / Blog Tour

Just My Type by Hannah Doyle

 

44413874Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

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

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

JUST MY TYPE is the second novel from Hannah Doyle, author of the laugh-out-loud hit rom-com THE YEAR OF SAYING YES, perfect for fans of Love Island, What Fresh Hell by Lucy Vine and Anna Bell.

Meet Jasmine.
– The quirky/cool photographer to a superstar blogger
– She’s going on a date with a SUPER hot guy on the London Eye tonight
– Best friend Mila is her wifey for life
– This millennial is #LivingHerBestLife

But fast-forward a few hours, and the reality isn’t quite so picture perfect. Jasmine hates her stuck-up blogger boss. She can barely afford rent in her stupid London flat. Her best friend seems to have all her sh*t together. Oh, and that date she was so excited about? She got dumped. On the London Eye. In the middle of a thunderstorm. With a bunch of tourists watching…

Best friend Mila decides that Jasmine needs a new ‘type on paper’, because Jasmine’s current criteria is so off that her dating history is one long line-up of fools. So Mila challenges Jasmine to look once, if not twice, at the guys who wouldn’t normally fit her ‘type’. With nothing to lose, Jasmine accepts. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll surprise herself.

Rating: four-stars

 

Jasmine is in a relationship and right now she’s expecting that her boyfriend is going to propose on the next date. However, this date goes belly – up and unfortunately for our heroine, she finds herself single again. Jasmine’s best friend Mila claims it’s because she dates only “her type” guys, and maybe she should simply go for one that, on paper at least, is not her type at all? So she sets Jasmine on a 7 date challenge – dating out of her comfort zones and maybe, probably finding The One?

Jasmine’s job was really interesting – she was a photographer to a superstar blogger so on one hand it was such a brilliant, glamorous job, visiting different countries and providing so many possibilities. On the other hand, she had a real boss from hell, guys, who was belittling her and expecting wonders or burdened Jasmine with tasks almost impossible to accomplish. I think the author has really well captured the feelings of Jasmine here, when she didn’t know what to do, when she didn’t pluck up the courage to take matters in her hands, and as much as I wanted her to tell her boss to go to hell, I also understood that she was scared, that she was afraid what the future is going to bring. It was nice to see Jasmine’s journey here, the change in her, her growing in confidence, of course with some help here and there – but who helped her and why and how? *you must read for yourself* *wink*

This book, just like Hannah Doyle’s debut novel, started very, very promising, then went a bit downhill and then came back to being hilarious and warm. By downhill I don’t mean that it was flat or not hooking, because it was, I just had a feeling that the story lost its impact in the middle, that’s all. I also had problems with the main character at the beginning, and I swear guys, I’ve already started to panic because, Hannah Doyle’s book, right, and what is happening? I don’t know, Jasmine was somehow too shallow, too obsessed with finding the right boyfriend, too focused on her “type” – probably this is why I had this feeling of her being too shallow. But then it changed, she changed, and I’ve finished this book feeling like Jasmine’s best friend, so there.

There are so many different books with characters going on dates, and so it is a real trial for the author to write a unique, hilarious blind date that hasn’t been written yet! “Just My Type” provides us with series of such (unfortunate) dates and ridiculous situations but they were much more original and better I could have expected, so hats off to Hannah Doyle for this! The guys were so different, and the dates were so different, and it wasn’t too cheesy, too meh, too schmaltzy, no, the dates were so enjoyable, the guys hilarious and I enjoyed every single moment of them. But oh my, how glad am I that I don’t have to go on dates anymore…

I had a feeling that the book is aimed rather at younger audience than yours truly writing this review but nevertheless I simply loved this story. It was my kind of humour and I liked how light – hearted and easy it was. Perhaps there weren’t many life changing turns and twists but still, little things happened here and there that were surprising and often made me go “oh no!” There was actually much more to this story than meet the eye. I really, really like Hannah Doyle’s writing style. It is light – hearted, chatty, flows effortlessly, and it’s full of humour and great one – liners. The way she describes her characters and events allows you to immediately feel drawn in, to feel comfortable with the book and the storyline. Altogether, “Just My Type” was a funny, sharp and very up – to – date story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, about facing challenges and finding love where we don’t expect to find it. Recommended!

 

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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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A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley / Blog Tour

A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

 

41716141Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 25th April  2019

Series: Porthmellow Harbour #1

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.
Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

 

my-review

 

Sam Lovell owns a Catering Company and organises the yearly local food festival. This year, however, there is a major incident, as the guest celebrity chef pulls out at the last minute. Sam’s friend Chloe manages to organize a replacement but when Sam learns who it is, she’s not too happy – Gabe Matthias, TV chef, who’s local and has history with Sam, history that she’d rather forget, and there is a serious reason why she feels like this. But not only Sam, also part of the town as well. Will Gabe be able to get them all on side again? Is it at all possible that the food festival make it to another year, and more?

There were plenty of characters in this novel, and every single one of them with their own story, so in the end there are many threads running through the novel. It wasn’t the easiest to keep them all on track and I often felt confused at who, why and what, and where shall I pay attention? But of course those storylines are much relevant and they tie well with one another, and I’m guessing we needed them in this book as a kind of introduction for the next books in the series that will for sure focus on different characters. Nevertheless, I had a feeling that simply too much is going on in this book.

My biggest problem with this novel was the fact that there was actually nothing that has surprised me. All the time I had a feeling “I’ve been there, I’ve seen this” and this is probably why it couldn’t keep my attention. There was all you could wish for in that kind of a book: friendship, community, romance, good food etc, and it’s great, please don’t get me wrong, but it simply felt too flat and too repetitive. And the names Samphire and Zennor, well, at the beginning I’ve though that must have been a spelling error but it turned out they weren’t. I couldn’t get used to them till the very end of the book, to be honest. And why was their brother called Ryan then? In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

As much as the circumstances of bringing Sam and Gabe back together were really nice, I still had a feeling that there is not enough interaction between them, that there is not enough chemistry, and so this relationship left me feeling a bit lukewarm. Also, huge parts of the book are dedicated to the festival, and of course it was absolutely all right, and I enjoyed them, but somehow, Gabe and Sam simply went astray in all those descriptions of the events, all the organizational issues.

Phillipa Ashley’s writing style is lovely, sunny and bright. She must be one of the best when it comes to the settings of her novels, because they are always picturesque, exceptionally beautiful and effortlessly brought to life. She easily transports you to the place she’s writing about. And altogether, !A Perfect Cornish Summer” was a light – hearted, warm story about second chances, community spirit, friendship and family, and it had this brilliant Food Festival in it as well – though I’d love more of it itself than the build up towards it, more lush descriptions of food. An uplifting tale about working together, sticking together and helping one another to succeed.

 

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The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister

 

39940912Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 422

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

DON’T MISS THE BRAND-NEW THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF EVERYTHING BUT THE TRUTH AND ANYTHING YOU DO SAY

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

People can’t get enough of Gillian McAllister’s psychological thrillers . . .

 

 

my-review

 

Izzy’s father was found guilty of her mother’s murder and sentenced. Fast forward 18 years and he’s being released now and of course gets in touch with his daughter to profess his innocence. Izzy doesn’t know what to think – he was sentenced, so he was found guilty but he’s also her father that he misses terribly, a father who gave her a childhood filled with plenty of happy, unforgettable moments – but he also murdered her mother! Part of her believes him, so she decides to give him a chance and together they try to uncover the truth – what has really happened and is Gabe as innocent as he says?

I think that after hearing brilliant things about Gillian McAllister, I was simply expecting a book that will blow me away, however “The Evidence Against You” left me with mixed feelings. I, of course, appreciated how deceitful the story was. Throughout the book, along the way, Izzy starts to dig deeper and deeper and finds out that things are much more complicated that they seemed at first, that her mother has kept secrets and lied, but well, the dead can’t defend themselves, right, so it was really confusing for her to decide who to trust, her late mother or her father, and I wouldn’t like to put myself in her shoes to be honest.

I couldn’t engage with the characters in a way that I like to. I was not sure what to think about them, what to make of them. Izzy seemed so emotionless, detached, she lived day after day but she didn’t enjoy her life, she used to keep secrets all the time and from everybody, for no reasons really and she didn’t feel very well rounded. But in the end I was really glad to see that she eventually found the courage to come out of her shell, to do this what makes her happy, to see her relaxed and happy with her life again.

The book grows on you in time though, and even though the characters may not be your favourite ones, I was immersed in the events and the clever plot. I was intrigued to see if Gabe was telling the truth, because of course the author has cared for it not to be too straightforward, she gave us plenty of options and situations to make up our minds, though I found myself changing my own all the time. I simply wasn’t sure who I can trust, and there was a moment or two that I also started to doubt in Izzy herself, gah. As for Gabe again, I had a feeling that he tries to manipulate and really, till the end I found I can’t relax around him.

I really liked how the author gave us the possibility to look at different evidence and see how it works for the different involved sides and people – that was a very clever move from her! It was thrilling to see how one word, one sentence, can change your mind or point you in totally different direction, make you think and sometimes over think. However, there came a moment that it started to feel a little too repetitive, when Izzy was starting to believe in her father innocence and then discovering something that made her – again! – withdrew from contact with him, and then the same pattern repeating itself. Perhaps this is why I found the story progressing very slowly and sometimes I had a feeling that we’re simply not moving ahead.

Nevertheless, the final reveal surprised me, though I am still not my sure what my feelings about it are. On one hand, the author has brilliantly tangled up all the threads, skilfully hidden all the tips that were there for those with eagle eyes (sadly, not me then) but on the other I felt, I don’t know, lukewarm? Disappointed? Also, there was too less tension for me, I just didn’t feel there was any big mystery to be solved, that there was something really bad going to happen. But on the whole I loved how the author has written the story, with the reader (me) being torn between wanting Gabe to be innocent and then believing he most certainly isn’t. It was dark and thought – provoking and I am looking forward to read Gillian McAllister’s previous books.

 

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No Way Out by Cara Hunter / Blog Tour

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

 

39805700Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Series: DI Adam Fowley #3

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 360

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

Rating: four-stars

 

Michael and Samantha Esmond and their two children live in a large house in an expensive part of Oxford. On New Year the fire brigade is called to their property and when they arrive, it’s already engulfed by flames. Two children are being found, three year old Zachary and his older brother Matty. However, there is no sign of the parents, it looks like the children were left alone at home. What’s worse is the fact that all the evidence points to the fire having been started deliberately, of it being an arson. The police and fire investigating team start to investigate.

This, what at the beginning looked like a simple case, turned out into something full of twists, turns, red herrings and puzzles along the way. The story is told “before” and “after”, so we slowly start to find out what has happened on the day of the fire. The events from few months before intertwine with the current police investigation and what emerges is a picture of the family that isn’t necessary happy, as we get to know their dynamics. Actually, it was like peeling away the layers, with each layer revealing more and more, until we get direct into the heart of the event.

No Way Out” is the third book in the DI Adam Fowley series and the first one read by yours truly – no idea how I’ve missed on it, to be honest, though I’m sure that the two previous novels hide somewhere in my never – ending TBR pile – and I had some reservations before reading it, not knowing if it can be read as a stand – alone. Well, the verdict is, yes it can. I haven’t got a feeling that I’m lost, that I’m missing something, the cameos were enough. Though yes, at the beginning I felt really confused with all those DIs, DSs, who was who before and was there someone degraded?

It took me some time to get used to the way it was narrated, as it was told in the first person present and third person past, and at the beginning I wasn’t sure who it is that’s talking to me, but then I simply got used to it, got into the story, felt invested in the characters’ lives so I also didn’t have any more problems. I truly liked the way the author mixed police statements and telephone transcripts, news and social media – it felt so realistic, dynamic and sharp.

This was a captivating, heart – breaking and also sad read, and the relaxed banter from Adam’s team, that occasionally was there to relieve the tension only shows how skilful the author is in planning her novel. It was, for me at least, full of twists, turns and surprises, but I would never make a good investigator, so there, and of course I couldn’t guess the outcome, but this is only a huge bonus point for the book. It dealt with a truly poignant case, and I really appreciated the way the author tackled all those issues – always when children are involved it needs this special, gentle touch and Cara Hunter provided us with it. The author’s writing style is refreshing and very modern, which makes the reading this bit faster. I can only highly recommend this domestic – noir police procedural.

 

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Swallowtail Summer by Erica James / Blog Tour

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

 

44303017Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

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

Number of pages: 386

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

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

 

Synopsis:

A captivating story about friendship, making changes, and learning to live life to the fullest from SUNDAY TIMES bestseller Erica James.

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . .

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

“Swallowtail Summer” is a story about three men who have been friends from their schooldays, and about their families. One of them, Alastair, owns a beautiful house in Norfolk, where the whole group – later with the wives and then with the offspring – used to spent every summer, enjoying their holidays and sometimes searching for the elusive swallowtail butterflies. They are all happily settled into their lives and enjoy them, until Alastair’s wife Orla dies, and he goes travelling. After his return, he has some news for his friends, that turns out to be rather shocking for them, and that will affect them all.

The setting was absolutely beautiful, the picturesque Norfolk Broads vividly and colourfully described. The house that was the centre of the story was incredibly welcoming. I had, though, problems to get into the book, the beginning was really heavy for me. It was probably because of the great number of characters introduced to us and I couldn’t keep track who is who and who belongs to whom and what has happened, often feeling confused about their relationships. However, later, it starts to fit and after I’ve worked out who, why and what, I felt myself really invested in the story – it is really worth persevering, as then we are more likely to understand them, their decisions and motivations.

Nevertheless, I’ve started to feel anxious to be honest, because, well, I haven’t warmed to the characters, and I was scared that it’s going to destroy the whole reading experience for me. I couldn’t, for example, really understand why the guys, and then their families, put Alastair’s on a pedestal, I found it a bit strange, to be honest, I mean, they were all adults but they still behaved like in their youth. What made him so special? Also, I can’t imagine any of my friends – best friends – behaving like this should I tell them such news as Alastair – well, it’s my decision, right? However, they had strength to them and their personalities were very well captured, they all were flawed and had their own problems and secrets.

“Swallowtail Summer” was a story with friendship in its centre, loyalty and with a depth to it, written in a very lyrical way, providing a very accurate and sharp look at the ways people work, how they see what they want to see, how they react at truth. It was rather a sad read, or maybe I should say a very realistic one, as reality is a bitch, we know this only too well. There was never a dull moment, and while I might have not understand some of the actions of the characters, I really appreciated all the emotions that were released after Alastair’s announcement. I could never be sure where the story would lead and the few skeletons that came out of the closets were really surprising. It is a great picture of characters’ interactions, really exploring different group dynamics, showing the effect of Alastair’s news, how it affected them all and how they tried to work it for themselves, and making you also wonder. A story that had a substance to it. Recommended!

 

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