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!

 

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The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon

The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon

31694817Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 18th May 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis:

Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …

Rating: five-stars

My love to Paige Toon and her novels has been growing slowly but steadily, in due course and with every new book by this author I am more and more in love with her stories – I just think that each new novel by Ms Toon is better than the other one and soon I am probably going to run short of rating stars, and if I could I’d give them 10 or more. I desperately wanted to read “The Last Piece of My Heart” and when my review copy arrived I was over the moon with joy. Really. Don’t judge me but this is what the books do to me.

Bridget is an aspiring author and travel writer who’s writing about her travels on her blog. She’s also come up with this idea of a feature where she has to contact all of her ex – boyfriends to get the pieces of her hearts that they carried with them back. She hopes to turn it into a novel. But her agent has other ideas and Bridget gets a work as a ghost – writer, writing a sequel to a best selling novel by an author who unfortunately passed away shortly after her book was being published. Little Bridget knows how much agreeing to take this job is going to change her life… Moreover, to write this sequel, Bridget must travel to Cornwall and is spending 7 weeks camping in the gorgeous Padstow, while researching and going through Nicky’s notes and diaries to find what she’s had in mind for her characters. However, it quickly turns out that there are many similarities between Nicky’s life and the story in her book – what does this mean for the book and for Charlie?

I was hooked from the very first page. Seriously. I found myself racing through the pages wanting to know what’s going to happen but also not wanting it to come to the end so I could enjoy it longer and longer. To be honest, I was expecting something different when I’ve read the synopsis, now please don’t laugh but I thought that Charlie is going to be a very, very old widower, handicapping Bridget’s life and work, so I was a little surprised, but not at all disappointed, as Charlie is an ultimate swoon – character and I fell for him immediately, head over heels.

There is a great bunch of characters in this book and their stories are so captivating! There is so much depth to them all and thanks to it they just feel like real people, with real problems. Bridget was just great. So adventurous, wearing her heart on her sleeve, strong – minded and independent, and following her dreams. Charlie’s story has touched all the right heart – strings. He loved Nicky so much and now he was left alone with their daughter April. Watching him struggling with bringing the lovely little girl up, grief and everyday life was heartbreaking. I fell for him immediately, even though there were moments that I was very annoyed with him, but on the other hand I could understand him, he didn’t know what’s right or what is wrong, he was grieving but he also wanted to live his life, and it was so complicated. Seeing him come out of his shell was the greatest thing ever, guys.

I only had one “but” this time, and it’s the ending. The last few chapters seemed so, so rushed, everything there happened incredibly quickly. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely end but in comparison to the whole story, to its pace, it was just too quick. It takes Bridget, but especially Charlie, really, really long to realize what it is they’re feeling, and in the last few chapters it looks like Bridget has just decided she’s going to do it, no matter what, click your fingers, mumbo jumbo, and here we are, at the end of the story. I don’t mean that it doesn’t suit the novel, it fits perfectly and I LOVED this end, I’m just saying. So there. BUT – the way the author has written about the feelings and emotions is freaking brilliant! She can put all kinds of them into words and describe things that I had no idea exists – the feelings just jump out of the pages.

Paige Toon also writes beautiful descriptions of the settings and she always chooses them so carefully and they are always so spot on. This time we not only have London, but also Cornwall, that is so easily brought to life and the scenery is stunning – Bridget needs to do some research and the places were gorgeous! We are also taken on a journey to Thailand, where everything I read about was so vivid, colourful and full of scents.
This book balances humour and the hard – hitting emotions in a perfect way. I absolutely, totally adored the romance aspect in this novel – it was beautiful and so down – to – earth, Paige Toon has captured all the awkward moments so, so well and every element of it just perfectly fitted the other one. You could literally see how the characters were falling for each other, and I don’t think I’ve read about blossoming relationship captured so, so well before!

“The Last Piece of My Heart” is incredibly beautiful story about love, loss, grief and hope. It made me smile, it made me cry, this rollercoaster journey of emotions was just perfect. I instantly fell for the characters and I lived through all the ups and downs with them, I kept my fingers crossed for them, I also got angry with them sometimes, especially when they didn’t see what was so obvious. It was filled with adventures, heart – breaking moments and just this overwhelming feel – good factor. I loved this story, and I am sure you’re going to love it too – highly recommended!