The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

 

36634180Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 22nd February 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

Rating: five-stars

Marnie Salt hasn’t had an easy life – she was adopted and has never felt loved. She’s never had luck with people, family, boyfriends or friends. But on the cheesecake forum in internet she’s just met Lilian – the right person at the right time. Lilian is older than Marnie but it doesn’t stop them from forming a firm, strong friendship and soon Marnie finds herself in Wychwell. Marnie blossoms – she can finally bake cheesecakes and she’s finally happy with her life. She doesn’t plan on staying there forever, she only wants to heal her heart and consider her future. But then something happens that puts Marnie’s whole world upside down. She must make difficult decisions and must learn to stand up for herself. Will she manage?

One of the strengths of Milly Johnson’s books are the characters. She can brilliantly capture the essence of her characters and paint them in such realistic, but also friendly, way. They are full of flaws, they sometimes don’t tell the whole truth, they make mistakes but ultimately they are so human, and I simply love this. So I loved Marnie. Simply loved her. I would only like to see her telling some truths to her mother, because she should have done it. Marnie has problems, sometimes her decisions are not the wisest ones but that’s the thing – it only made her more down – to – earth and genuine. She had a big and giving heart and probably this is why all the problems always found her, as she was too trusty and naive and has seen only good things in people. She had a lot of growing up to do, our Marnie, and Milly Johnson really well led her main character on this journey.

The setting in this book is gorgeous and original, and Wychwell, small village in Yorkshire, has such a great story to tell! It was a village like no other, with its own rules and politics!
Yes, it sometimes felt like a witch – hunt there, and there were moments it felt so isolated and so closed but it was also the charm of this place and most of the villagers were great. Milly Johnson has so easily brought this place to life, and the map at the beginning of the book was one of the best ideas ever, it was so great to be able to really place the cottages and imagine the whole village. There was so much happening there, you can count on mystery, drama, scandal and tons of kindness and friendship. There are many subplots in this book but it doesn’t mean that I felt confused, oh no, it was perfectly planned and plotted. It touches upon many heavier issues, such as for example adoption or money fraud, but this all is almost always written with humour or at least in a lighter way.

Altogether, “The Perfectly Imperfect Woman” was a heart – warming, funny and poignant read. It is really easy to fell in love with this story immediately – the writing style is brilliant, easy to follow and chatty, and the plot brings some surprises that I would never expect. It’s just a book with a heart, you know, and you can feel it in every word, and it is great to read such a story. Highly recommended!

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Best Practice by Penny Parkes (Blog Tour + Guest Post)

Hi amigos! Today I am so very thrilled to welcome Penny Parkes to my blog! For all those of you who doesn’t know it yet, Penny is the author of the brilliant, heart – warming and gorgeous The Larkford Series and the third installment, Best Practice, was published on 28th July in paperback by Simon & Schuster. The lovely Penny has written a guest post for us about three books that shaped her writing life – put your feet high and enjoy!

 

39110499

Three books that shaped my writing life – Penny Parkes

Ask me who my literary heroes are and, from a very (annoyingly) young age, I would talk about my favourite authors – the people behind the stories being just as fascinating to me, as the characters within them.

So, in truth, it’s not surprising that I was always one of those readers who would count down the days until the newest offering from these ‘destination authors’ arrived. Not for me something slender and literary – I would always prioritise chunky, tome-like books over clothes in my holiday suitcase – and the photographs from my eighties travels will testify to my precocious (albeit questionable) ‘skills’ with a capsule wardrobe. Chunky novels, though hefty, have always been my go-to pleasure – diving in for five hundred pages of well-crafted, relatable, escapist fiction.

I’m going to blame the marvellous M.M.Kaye for triggering this obsession – her novel The Far Pavilions found me at an impressionable age, when our local librarian had given up pointing me towards more suitable offerings, and allowed me to make the most of my family’s entire collection of library cards by weight, if not by virtue. (See also Ken Follett!) The thing that made this particular book stand out, was that it was like nothing I had ever experienced, in real life or in fiction – it was transporting and illuminating and a little bit terrifying at times. In short, I was hooked.

Penny Vincenzi picked up the reins of my chunky novel obsession shortly afterwards. How, I used to wonder, did she make me care about every single one of her characters, and to weave them so tightly and cleverly together, until I emerged blinking after a day or two, unsure of which reality I now inhabited. That, I decided, was a true art form and one I dreamed of emulating. Even writing this paragraph gives me a lump in my throat remembering reading the crash scene in The Best of Times with tears pouring down my face, and knowing that the wonderful, late, great, dearly missed Penny has written her last denouement.

I’ve always been a bit slutty with my reading habits – thrillers, domestic noir, young adult, romantic comedies, biographies, even if I’m honest, the multi-lingual back of the shampoo bottle – but there is a certain kind of book I return to time and time again. The kind of book that reels me in, makes me laugh, breaks my heart and makes me whole again and for that I can only cite Marian Keyes.

Rachel’s Holiday is, in my opinion, a modern classic – darkly funny, deeply touching and beautifully crafted. Without this book, my writing aspirations would be like driving the Cotswold lanes without a signpost.

Now, when I sit down to write, I have Katie Fforde’s wonderful quote for my first book pinned above my desk – ‘light and funny, but deep and meaningful at the same time’ – and I know exactly where that motivation came from and, that if I’m doing it right, then maybe one day somebody might run into the bookstore with their weekend plans on hold because my new book is hitting the shelves…

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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Best Practice by Penny Parkes

Best Practice by Penny Parkes

 

39110499Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 22nd February 2018 (Hardcover), 28th June 2018 (Paperback)

Series: The Larkford Series #3 (read my review of “Practice Makes Perfect” here  )

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

THE BRAND NEW BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF OUT OF PRACTICE
Love and laughter with the residents of Larkford is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Dr Alice Walker has become accomplished at presenting a façade to the world – to anyone watching, she is the epitome of style, composure and professionalism. But perhaps it was to be expected that the cracks might begin to show at some point. Thankfully Grace is on hand to offer both friendship and support when it’s needed most.

Meanwhile, Dr Holly Graham has her hands full both professionally and personally. Planning a wedding with Taffy Jones is challenging enough, even before some surprising news changes everything. At least beloved Larkford resident, Elsie, still has a few tricks left up her sleeve!

Dr Dan Carter, on the other hand, has decided to throw himself into his career – the best antidote he’s found to unrequited love. When tragedy strikes in the heart of Larkford, Dan makes it his mission to help the community.

Rating: four-stars

From the first page of “Best Practice” I had a feeling that I’m back with my old friends – it was as if there was nothing between me reading this third instalment in The Larkford series and the two previous books. We are actually immediately thrown into the medical action and it really never stops. Theoretically this book can be read as a stand – alone but I personally think there is too much background to be missed if you jump straight and direct into “Best Practice” without reading the two previous stories.

It was really a great feeling to be able to follow the characters and to see how they moved forwards after the story finished in “Practice Makes Perfect”. There is a large number of characters in this novel but the old ones that we’ve already got to know and like are also there. The brilliant couple Holly and Taffy who are so tender and so brilliant around each other, and I really, really love their relationship. Is the big wedding really what they need? Dr Dan Carter, Taffy’s companion in so many silly games is distracted and has to face up a new challenge – the practice manager Grace. The big enigma Dr. Alice Walker, who joined the practice in the previous book is also there, and her plot was probably the one that I’ve read the most enthusiastically. She has to deal with her own health issues and there is this big question about her assistance dog, Coco. And let’s not forget Elsie, who this time showed the most gentle and tender side to her. All those stories were weaving seamlessly and effortlessly into one another.

I must be in a minority here but what bothered me so much was that there run so many parallel stories that I couldn’t find the main one. There were so many, many characters in this book, coming to the practice with their health problems, and while they were interesting I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that they’re drawing us away from the main plot. I think I get where the author was coming from here, emphasize the significance and importance of health service but on the other hand I was never sure if, and which, of those could be a turning point for the plot. Don’t get me wrong here, pretty please, I guess thanks to all the accidents and incidents the pace of the book was truly well paced but it is probably why I didn’t feel as much a part of the characters” lives and I just wanted more of the main plot – this about the rural medicinal facilities being shut down and the campaign going to keep them open.

It is truly a book that introduces us to many, many medical conditions and accidents and while it is obvious that the author truly knows what she’s writing about, it is all written in such an accessible way. This novelk links many issues and topics together. It touches upon love, friendship, patchwork families and heath. It is full of depth and this lovely, overwhelming feeling of kindness and support. Even though it is also about really serious stuff, there is this feel – good vibe to it and tons of heart.
“Best Practice” is a story that ticks many boxes for being a perfect summer read. There is humour and a lot of funny moments, there are plenty of poignant moments that will make you go weak at your knees and go “awwww”, it looks much, much deeper under the surface of politics, money, men in black suits to show what’s really important when it comes to deal with ill people. This, as well as this lovely, brilliantly captured sense of community and really well developed characters, must be ones of the strongest points of this novel. The author has also in a great way weaved the romance aspect and romantic sparkles that added lightness and were like a breath of fresh air. Truly recommended!

 

 

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

 

35849957Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 496

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 20.09.2018)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.
You, Me, Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable novel about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love.

Rating: five-stars

 

You can say that “You Me Everything” is Catherine Isaac’s debut novel, however she has already written 10 (if I’m not mistaken) books as Jane Costello – books that I loved from the bottom to the top of my heart, and probably it is why I was so scared to start reading this new release – I wanted to love it as much as I loved Jane’s books and what if “You Me Everything” won’t live up to my expectations?

But no fears, guys, no fears. This gorgeous read introduces us to few characters that were absolutely brilliantly developed and immediately either likeable or not. I was totally submersed in their lives, I think I’ve felt the same emotions Jess has been feeling. I’m sure you’re going to find yourself on a real rollercoaster journey filled with desperation, hope, devastation, boost, love and hate, fear and faith. Especially one of the subplots is truly heart – breaking and you can see that the author has not only done her research but she just got into her characters’ heads and perfectly described how it is to be in their shoes. Also, I loved the dynamics between the characters and the way they were developing and growing throughout the story. They were my favourite kind of characters when I kept changing my mind about them, when I wanted to cheer them and also slap them sometimes, and bang their heads together – so characters that truly lived in my imagination. I fell for Jess at the word go – she was so incredibly human and genuine in all her feelings, in the way she was and it was hard to believe that she’s a fictional character. I loved her relationships with her parents and with William, they were not perfect and she was not sure if she’s right or wrong but that only made her more authentic and real. I need more characters like Jess in books.

I also liked the way the story was written and the way it unfolded. Present intertwines with past here and we get enough information about Jess and her background to understand her choices and motivations. The subplot with Jess’s mother adds tons of depth and takes this book to a very different, higher level, it is handled professionally and with a lot of sensitivity and subtlety.

This novel touched upon many issues. It was also full of twists and surprises and some of the turns were so unexpected and mostly heart – breaking. Catherine Isaac has proven that she not only has the ability to write humorous rom – coms but also stories that have depth and that tug at the right heart – strings. She has beautifully written about emotions and feelings and the pain Jess has felt was so vivid, you could actually feel it for yourself, and it’s a real gift to be able to write in such a way. No matter if the author describes the scenery, or a situation, the descriptions were evocative, vivid and brought to us in such an easy, effortless way.

Altogether it was an emotional story about parenthood, relationships, hope, forgiveness, choices and love. This kind of book that you live and experience by yourself, that you cry and laugh when reading. I guess I’m going to miss Jane Costello’s books but I am also incredibly looking forward to next releases from Catherine Isaac. “You Me Everything” – highly recommended!

Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House by Louise Candlish

 

37416802Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 5th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue.
Nothing strange about that. Except it is your house. And you didn’t sell it.

For better, for worse.

When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blind-sided. Trinity Avenue has been her family’s home for years. Where are all her belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared.

For richer, for poorer.

The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been turned upside by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party? What has Bram hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him?

Till death us do part.

Rating: five-stars

 

I am a big fan of Louise Candlish – she, like almost no – one else, can write gripping, dark and tense stories with twists that you never see coming. Her stories are clever and complex and never straightforward, and this is what I love – and this is why I was so excited for her newest release, “Our House”. This novel’s proofs are also one of the most brilliant ones, and just imagine my frustration when, deep into the story, I was trying to read and my daughter wanted to open and close the doors on the cover. If it were someone else, I’d bite their head off.

One day, Fiona Lawson arrives home to discover other people are moving in her house. Why? She has never sold it! Trinity Avenue has been her and her family’s house for years and there was no reason to sell it, so what’s happening right now? Her soon ex – husband isn’t answering his phone and he’s actually her only hope to explain things. Has he disappeared? What has Bram been hiding? Can they solve the mess?

I’ve never even heard about property – fraud to be honest, but I went into the book with an open mind, and well, after discovering what has happened, it all started to sound very plausible and, what’s worst, possible to happen! The novel was brilliantly well constructed. First we get to know Fi’s point of view, through her recorded podcast, and then Bram’s, through a word document, and so we slowly start to see what has really happened. It was all so easy to follow and there was never a moment of confusion, as everything was brilliantly sorted and logically structured. This alternating narrative works so great that soon I had a feeling I’m in the characters’ heads, living Fi’s life, being part of her world. This way of telling the story, this she said/he said, she did/he did absolutely fits the plot and the author uses it to its full potential.

The characters were proficiently and marveloussly portrayed, however they were not all so much likeable. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that Fi was too forgiving and too naive and yes, she was too whingy and self – centred, just like Toby said at the end. Nonetheless, you wanted to ask yourself what you would do in Fi’s situation, how would you react. It was so easy, thanks to the rich and descriptive writing, to feel her confusion, her fear. Bram was weak, and even the lengths he will go to to somehow solve the situation, his desperation and genuine sorrow and grudge couldn’t change my mind about him. I also couldn’t believe there was really nothing he could do about it – he probably could, he just didn’t want. All the same, nothing was of course so straightforward in this story and they both, Fi and Bram, made wrong choices, had their flaws and they just felt like normal, real people.

As much as I adored this story there were moments that it just dragged on too much, and not in a good way. It spoiled the reading for me but ultimately it didn’t affect me so much, as it is this kind of novel that you read holding your breath – you can’t believe the things that happens, you wonder how much Fi is going to still handle and the chain reactions, like the proverbial flutter of butterfly wings, quickly turns into an avalanche of lies, secrets and misunderstandings that is building up to a shocking outcomes that are going to change so many lives.

This story touches upon so many issues – property fraud, betrayal, lies and secrets, adultery, murder but it never feels too jammed, overcrowded. There were many twists and turns along the way and while some of them I guessed, the rest I haven’t seen coming, and it made the reading even more exciting. It focused mostly on the characters and their interactions. The author has so well captured all of their emotions and feelings and inner thoughts and filled this family drama full with very relatable and genuine domestic dilemmas. Dark and very detailed but I liked it – in this kind of books I just need to have everything clearly expounded.

Altogether, “Our House” was an exceptional psychological suspense, with a very unconventional end, when the author really and literally allows her readers to insert the end of this story by themselves. It was immaculately written, hooking and hard to put down. This is a story not to be missed, it’s unique, clever and brilliantly crafted and full of surprises. Highly recommended!

Last Letter Home by Rachel Hore

Last Letter Home by Rachel Hore

 

38350479Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 22nd March 2018

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

Number of pages: 560

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 23.08.2018)

 

 

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, and the Richard & Judy Bookclub pick A Place of Secrets, comes a gripping and moving story spanning 70 years, set in Italy and in Norfolk.

On holiday with friends, young historian Briony Andrews becomes fascinated with a wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather had been a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area. Handed a bundle of letters that were found after the war, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey.

In 1939, Sarah returns with her mother and sister from India, in mourning, to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary in the local manor house, Westbury Hall. With the outbreak of war, conflicts of loyalty in Westbury deepen.

When, 70 years later, Briony begins to uncover Sarah and Paul’s story, she encounters resentments and secrets still tightly guarded. What happened long ago in the villa in the shadow of Vesuvius, she suspects, still has the power to give terrible pain …

Rating: four-stars

Rachel Hore is another author that I’ve heard many, many good things about but haven’t read her books – yet! I was truly excited after being approved to read “Last Letter Home” on NetGalley – I do love a good historical fiction, I do love a dual timeline and I loved this beautiful cover. And so, without further delay, I dived into the fictional world of love, drama and the aftermath of the WW2.

Being on holidays in Italy, historian Briony not only stumbles across a ruined villa in the surrounding area, a villa that has connections to her grandfather, who was stationed there in 1943, but is also being given some film reels and love letters. Reading them, she starts to feel desperate to discover the story of Sarah and Paul, who wrote the letters to each other. She doesn’t expect it, but here starts her journey full of secrets and discoveries, truths and lies.

This book was for sure beautifully written. I loved how Rachel Hore has knitted together the life in the pre – war English country, the aftermath of the war, family secrets and tragedies. I admit, it took me some time to get into a book, and there was no particular reason for it, it was just one of the things. It was a little confusing for me also, what with the sudden change in setting and the different tone which seemed as two different stories.

It was a great escapism that slowly unfolded as Briony started to piece together the story behind the letters and their writers. While mostly it was fast paced, there were moments that it dragged on a little for me and was losing the temperature. It also took me some time to warm to the characters and to actually make out who is who and how they are all related as we were presented with a varied, colourful cast of characters. Briony was really well fleshed out but my problem here was that I just simply couldn’t completely warm to her – she was reserved and I had a feeling I just can’t get into her head. I think that the wartime subplot, and the whole secret behind the letters, the relationship between Paul and Sarah were the better part of this book, I really do love historical fiction and this time it was a tale with a difference and it was really interesting to see all the repercussions and problems because Paul was German.

I really liked the way how the past and present, the WW2 parts and the present days, flowed effortlessly together. The Norfolk and Italy settings were so seamlessly brought to life, as all other parts as well, actually. It also shone through the pages how much time and effort went into research.

“Last Letter Home” was a complex, clever story full of secrets, lies and deception, and the author knows how to build tension. Rachel Hore’s writing is very descriptive and very colourful and it’s very easy to imagine the things she’s writing about. As I’ve already mentioned it, it was my first book by this author but it was a great story and here starts my adventure with other Ms Hore’s novel. Highly recommended!

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

 

35888778Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.

Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.

Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.

Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?

Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love, friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears. Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

Rating: five-stars

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I don’t have a huge, extended family and usually I don’t have problem with it, however after reading such books as “The Sunday Lunch Club” I’d give everything to have such a family like the Pipers – so many people that accept you no matter what unconditionally. The problem with books such as “The Sunday Lunch Club” is that no matter what you’re going to write in your review it probably won’t do this book a justice. Because it was a perfect read, from the beginning to the end and really, I still can’t settle for another read after finishing this one. I know people often say that didn’t want a book to end, and I thought I also read such books, but I think this was the very first one that I can for sure say that now I know how it is when you don’t want a book to end. It was this kind of read where I absorbed every single word, I cried and laughed together with the characters.

“The Sunday Lunch Club” by Juliet Ashton is a relatively slow read and with plenty of characters, and I was afraid that it’s going to be confusing, but quickly, very quickly I knew who is who in this book, and even quicker I started to love all of them. The Pipers are two sisters and two brothers with their own, very colourful families and histories, friends and grandmother Dinkie, still full of life, feisty and down to earth. And jeez, let’s not forget Yeti – what a brilliant, entertaining creature, and the descriptions of him looking after the baby made me cry so, so much! But back to the siblings and co. They meet regularly for Sunday Lunch (Club), every time in a different home, and with every single lunch we learn more and more about them, we see what makes them tick, what they love, what they hate and what their problems are – and there is a lot of those things! The story is mostly told from Anna’s point of view, Anna – who was so realistically drawn that I had a feeling I can feel her breathing next to me. She discovers that she’s pregnant at the age of 40, and the baby is not her ex – husband’s. Being pregnant brings back some memories and this part of the story was so unpredictable and heart – breaking, guys. Anna, the second oldest after Neil, feels responsible for all of her siblings and you couldn’t be in better hands than in those of Anna’s. Neil is right now trying to adapt to being a father, the second sister Maeve has visions and thinks she’s psychic, but she’s really, really brilliant, no worries guys, and she doesn’t seem to have much luck in the men – department, and the youngest Josh is troubled and very distant – why? They all have their problems and troubles and when you think they’re going to be very average problems than you’re in for a great, great surprise, because their stories are all but average and predictable. The characters have their own distinctive voices and they are so close to life and I felt so strongly for all of them. They were lovely and loving, eclectic, chaotic, they had their ups and downs and – what’s most important – they talked with each other and they weren’t afraid of telling what they feel. It made them more vulnerable and open to being hurt but it also made them so real.

It was written in a really interesting way. We got to see the characters every now and then, when it was time for their gathering at the Sunday Lunch Club. Sometimes there was a week between them, sometimes a month, and really we don’t know what exactly happens with, and to, them. However, during those gatherings we get enough insight and gossip to know perfectly well what has happened and why. It’s funny really how well it works, as we are used to usually have a sneak peek into every aspect of the characters’ lives, to know their every move and thought, and here we had to settle for some most important moments, and it’s enough to absolutely fell for the characters, to intuitively know what they feel and think, to feel a part of their world, to keep our fingers crossed for them or to want to shake them badly. And that doesn’t of course mean that their feelings or emotions weren’t captured – they were brilliantly put into words!

I absolutely, totally adored the way the family was working. They were bickering, they were arguing, they felt offended but oh my word, let somebody who didn’t belong to the family to tell one wrong word about them! They got their backs, they supported each other, and not only the closest family but also the ex – husbands, new girlfriends and every single crazy idea that came to their minds.

Even though it is on the slower side, the pace is only right and there are some twists that you’d never see coming – take my word for this! It is romantic enough, there is enough drama and plenty of funny moments, and there is this feeling of being accepted no matter what. There are secrets that will break your heart but the family will mend it again. The writing is perfect. The dialogues are effortless and the story is just flawing, and the family dynamics are brilliantly captured. Their interactions and banter were so relatable and there were moments that I could only nod my head with understanding.

“The Sunday Lunch Club” was a beautifully written and full of all kind of emotions and feelings novel about a brilliantly dysfunctional – yet brilliantly working – family. It was heart-warming, uplifting and poignant at the same time. In no time you’re going to feel a part of the Piper family and you want to add your own opinion or two during one of the lunches. It was emotional, and it was funny and I didn’t want to put this book down for a single second. Shortly – it was a bloody perfect read, as I knew it’s going to be. If there is one thing you can be sure it’s that Juliet Ashton is going to deliver a wonderful, emotional, clever and hilarious story. Highly, highly recommended!