The Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Lynsey James
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publishing Date: 11th September 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Buy the Book: Kindle
It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer, but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones…
But this summer is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery – or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!
Whatever the answer, this is going to be a summer she never forgets… watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!
Lynsey James’s latest book, “The Summer of Hopes and Dreams”, introduces us to Cleo, who has just found her old bucket list, and as I love novels with to – do lists, or bucket lists, or any other lists, I thought it can be THE read. And let’s not forget that I enjoy the author’s writing, and so, quickly after downloading the book, I started to read it.
Our main character Chloe has left me s little torn. On the one hand I liked her and admired her strength and the way she fought for her weight, on the other hand she seemed a little bit meh and boring as a person. Don’t get me wrong, please, she was of course kind and lovely but maybe she was too kind and too lovely – she just wanted all the good in the world for everybody, there was not a bad bone in her body and it just felt so… flat. However, she was also honest and she felt genuine in all the things she did and felt, and it was really hard to see how she was affected by all the accidental meetings with her high school nemesis Amanda. Chloe’s relationship with Scott was the greatest part of this story, I think, or rather the way Sam made her feel good about herself, how he made her feel stronger and how he helped her to come out of her shell.
I liked how well Lynsey James captured Cleo’s battles. In a very sensitive, gentle way she was able to show all the feelings and emotions, spot on, making Chloe realistic and relatable. I think many of us know the feeling of binge eating and those guilt – feelings afterwards? Also, the descriptions of Chloe’s feelings towards herself, the self doubt, the looking in the mirror and hating herself… well, I think for most of us, normal people, they do ring a bell and it just made me understand Chloe more and better. This all written in a very gentle and sensitive way.
But the book lacked for me in this “something”. I think I know what the author wanted to achieve touching upon this very sensitive issue of being overweight but it didn’t work for me and, sadly, I must say that I’ve read better stories with such topics. Which is a pity because I was expecting more from this book and from Lynsey James, as she’s already proved that she can write brilliant, light – hearted novels. Altogether, I think that the author just wanted to make this book work, to make it all so correct, to not to offend anybody, and she’s just overdone it, and as a result we got a book that is nice but that’s all.
It was a story of lost dreams, starting afresh, becoming stronger, feeling good in your own skin. It also turned out to be much more serious that you can expect from this author and from this kind of read, I think, deeper and not so light. It’s not criticism, it didn’t disturb this book on the whole, it just might take you by surprise. It was about self – confidence and being happy with yourself and gaining confidence, and altogether I did appreciate the message in it – it was a pleasant read, with more or less likeable characters, some funny and some serious situations, and even though it didn’t push my buttons, I’m sure fans of Lynsey James are going to love it.