A Second Chance Summer

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I love this book.

It doesn’t happen often enough for me but from the very first pages I felt myself sinking into this story, so warm and comfortable, exactly like the way you feel when you meet someone for the very first time and instantly know you are going to be great friends.

This book introduces us to Alice and Julie, two life-long friends, approaching the end of their twenties, who plan a trip to Cornwall for the entire summer – pitched as a holiday but in reality both of them are in desperate need of an escape from the reality of their lives.

Julie is fleeing a broken engagement, and Alice, the main protagonist and narrator of this story hasn’t allowed herself to feel much after two broken relationships, the last ending with violence several years ago. Alice knows that deep inside, the fact that she has felt herself unable to get beyond her feelings for her first love,Sam, – a romance that sparked and ended in a Cornwall summer visit a decade ago – is both her biggest problem and the source of her innermost dreams.

“I want to breathe it in, revisit that golden summer, the summer of Sam – when everything seemed straightforward , and obvious, and opportunities were endless. “

This story wraps itself around you as we get to know these wonderful characters and share in their steps and mis-steps as they try to sort through their jumbled lives – reaching for every moment of joy that presents itself (and there are many made possible by this gorgeous setting alone) as they struggle to put the pieces of their lives, including the relationships that really matter, into some sort of soul-soothing order.

“I soak it in; the warmth of the night, the calm of this place.”

With delicious irony, I could not sum up my feelings in reading this book any better than these words of holiday-making-Alice herself:

“This is not real life. Yet I feel I belong here’.

And what a delight to learn that this is the first book in a seven-part series “Coming Back to Cornwall”.

A great big thank you to the author, Katherine E. Smith for a review copy of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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