Under a Starry Sky by Laura Kemp
Publishing Date: 9th July 2020
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance
One summer to change her life…
Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way.
So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm.
Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers.
But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…
Wanda Williams has always dreamed of travelling the world, however, every time she was ready to departure and leave home, something wrong happened, keeping her in Wales. This time, when she’s about to travel, she discovers that her family business, the campsite, is in tatters and in financial troubles, so there is no other option for her, she must – again! – postpone the trip and try to put the campsite back on the track. But then not one, but two faces from Wanda’s past return to Gobaith, faces that she hoped she’ll never see again, and her life is turned upside down – what will she do? Escape or stay?
There is a vast array of characters in the book but it is totally easy to follow all of them, I have never felt confused. It is a community – centred story and all the characters support each other in a lovely, not too forced way, and all of them have their own story to tell and they play a huge and important part in the village’s life. The author has brilliantly captured the lovely sense of community here.
The blurb mentions Wanda, so Annie’s side of the story was a bonus point. However, personally, I think that it was Annie that really has stolen the show, there was much more depth to her history and background, and Wanda’s felt, in comparison, a bit flat and it started to be repetitive, whereas Annie’s tale was living and breathing. Nevertheless, don’t you worry, both stories are emotional rollercoaster journey, full of ups and downs, and sometimes you’ll feel like on a real rollercoaster, feeling your heart in your mouth, such poignant and moving are some of the events and things that happened in their lives. Maybe prepare a tissue or two, just to be on the safe side.
The descriptions were absolutely gorgeous and well, yes, I used to go camping, and even though now I’d rather go “hoteling”, the book made me feel nostalgic. The setting was wonderful, a perfect place to spent a few days, with the lakes, mountain that is not a mountain, food… I am really ready for my holidays after reading this book.
The writing style is so easy and approachable, and the storytelling is flowing effortlessly. The dialogues are natural and close to life and the banter between the characters is so real. I liked the interactions between Wanda’s family, and I loved seeing the campsite coming back to life, and the comments about it at the beginning of each chapter were priceless.
As much as I loved this book, there were things that didn’t sit with me so well and I have to mention them, apologies. I think that the book could be much shorter, cutting out some of the descriptions would do it really good as it slowed the pace down and the story felt too repetitive. The plot was crying out for more action and events – I loved the starry skies and the gorgeous setting but I wanted more, I wanted the plot to speed forward. And I also missed this brilliant and dry Laura Kemp’s humour, to be honest, I was really looking forward towards it.
“Under a Starry Sky” was a real escape, comforting and easy to read. While I liked other Laura Kemp’s novels better, I still really enjoyed it, as it was a beautiful, emotional read. There were some twists and turns and the characters really grew on me, I felt a part of their lives. And it was everything that I have expected from this book and from this author, a lovely and uplifting story, a perfect read for a summery evening.
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