Fish and chips are Nell McNamara’s bread and butter as she works in a chippy day in, day out. She thinks she’s happy with her ‘normal’ existence, coming home from Live And Let Fry each day to her rented terraced house and boyfriend Olly and little girl Petal, just about keeping their heads above water. But when her boss lets her give the tired chip shop a ‘Changing Rooms’ style makeover, she suddenly realises that she needs an outlet for all the creative juices bubbling inside her. Her eye for style and design are just waiting to be given the green light to really take off. So, buoyed up by her friends at the chippy, she makes the big decision to leave and set up her own handbag design business. But turning daydreams into reality isn’t that easy, and as her determination to succeed at almost any cost increases, it’s at the expense of not only her bank balance, but also her family and happiness.
The story is based on Carole’s friend Helen’s own life, and although some artistic licence is obviously taken at times, it gives the novel a very real and believable aspect. The characters are warm and human, which means you identify with them immediately and really care what happens to them and how they feel. Plus, it’s a story about handbags – what’s not to love?!
Heart-warming, funny and inspirational, this is the perfect light read for sunny days in the garden (that’ll be today, then!). Race you to the sun lounger…
This beautifully descriptive novel transports you to the Hungarian countryside, where Beth Lowe (and author Emylia Hall) spend her summers growing up. The book begins with Beth receiving a package containing a letter telling her that her mum Marika has died. Included in the parcel is a scrapbook her mum made, called The Book Of Summers, depicted each summer Beth (or Erzsi in Hungarian) spent in the Hungarian countryside with Marika and her lover Zoltan, before returning to live with her father the rest of the year. As Beth looks through the scrapbook, we experience her memories of each summer she spent with her impulsive, exciting mother, and how she fell in love with local boy Tamas. Slowly her family’s story unfolds and its secrets are revealed.
This coming-of-age novel is one of Richard & Judy’s Summer Reads and I can see why it’s caught their interest – it’s fresh, engaging and tugs at the heart-strings. A brilliant debut novel that will leave you wanting more.
Let me know what you thought about both Summer Daydreams and The Book Of Summers and tell me what you’ve been reading - tweet me @FabFrosty. And come back next Saturday to read all about it!