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Ghosts By Dolly Alderton

Ghosts‘Ghosts’ is the debut novel by Dolly Alderton.

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

‘Ghosts’ is Dolly’s debut novel even though she’s already published a book called ‘Everything I Know About Love’ and has a regular newspaper column.

‘Ghosts’ is seen through the narrative of Nina, who like many other females in the world is adapting to life as a singleton as everyone is pairing up around her. Her career as a food writer is going from strength from strength and just as her relationship with Max starts to develop, he disappears, ghosting her. Her father is battling dementia and disappears into his own world but already remembers Nina as his ‘Bean’.

This book is a powerful story and one that many will wholeheartedly relate to. The surprise and disappointment of online dating, finding the one only for them to let you know and to be judged on your status in life, married, children and if not, why not?

I loved Nina, I loved her independence and passion and how she was always there for others, no matter how they treated or disregarded her. I adored her best friend Lola, who was looking for happy ever after and was determined to find it, no matter how long she stayed on WhatsApp.

I loved the dynamics of the female relationships, how women behaved differently towards single women as if they were preying on their husbands and genuinely found this to be true of real life. I found the scene with Nina’s parents to be hard hitting as her mother dealt with her husband’s dementia by engaging now with friends to escape the pain, whilst Nina struggled with seeing her father become a different person. These scenes are hard hitting and emotional in parts and did make for quite tender reading.

Beautifully written and sadly relatable, ‘Ghosts’ is a poignant and bittersweet story about getting old, looking for love and finding your place in life. Filled with humour, cynicism and nostalgia for what has been, this book brought back all kinds of feelings and was truly a masterpiece of a read.

You can buy ‘Ghosts’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase By Jane Riley

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ is the latest book by Jane Riley.

Jack had two dying wishes: that his wife scatter his ashes somewhere ‘exotic’, and that she not give up on life once he was gone. He intended to spur her on to new adventures, but despite clinging to her red suitcase, Geraldine Verne hasn’t left the house for three months. It takes an accident for Geri to accept help from her friends, but when Meals on Wheels arrive she is mortified. Yet heartbroken volunteer Lottie brings with her more than cottage pie and custard. Like Geri, she too is struggling to cut loose. As a gloriously unlikely friendship blossoms, Geraldine begins to feel a long-lost spark of life and a newfound confidence. Perhaps what both women needed most, after all, was each other.

Although this book is a story of loss and grief, it’s delivered in such a upbeat and quirky style that I was immediately absorbed in this story.

The story is seen through the narrative of young at heart Geraldine Verne, who’s struggling with the loss of her husband. So much so that keeps his possessions and ashes in a red suitcase that she wheels around with her. A once vibrant character, she’s become reclusive and avoids company until one day after having an accident, her friend called Len Goodman sets her up with Meals on Wheels so she can be looked after whilst he’s away on a cruise. Geraldine becomes friends with Lottie, one of the meal delivery ladies and although there’s over 30 years of difference in age between the 2, they become friends and share a mutual share of grief. As Lottie deals with a relationship breakup and Geraldine deals with no longer having Jack in her life.

I loved this story, it’s warm-hearted, funny and tender and made for really sweet reading. Geraldine is a great character, she’s eccentric and vibrant and as much as loves company finds it hard to talk to people without Jack no longer being at her side. It’s lovely to read her and Lottie’s interactions, as Lottie gently coaxes her into getting back into the world and help Geraldine rediscover her lust for life. To help her deal with her grief, Jack leaves a puzzle for Geraldine to solve and this makes her feel that he’s still with her and this makes for sweet reading as she discovers letters and clues from her true love. One addition that made for interesting reading was Jack’s passion with butterflies and it made for fascinating reading at the variation of the species.

‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ is a poignant and fun story about love, loss and letting go.

You can buy ‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances by Stephen Anthony Brotherton

Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances‘Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances by Stephen Anthony Brotherton’ is the latest book by Stephen Anthony Brotherton.

“This is my story of first love, but it is told through the eyes of two fictional characters, Freddie and Jo\-Jo. My life, like Freddie’s, was fractured by my dad’s death when I was seven years of age. As a teenager, at the end of the 1970s, I had a first love relationship that I dreamed would last a lifetime. My partner, like Jo\-Jo, was strong, independent and had her perfect world dreams, but she was haunted by her own fractures. In 1980 a heartbreaking event killed our love and, for us, there has been no reunion. But I’ve always wondered, what if? This book explores that possibility. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo\-Jo’s fractures, their teenage romance, their lives apart and their attempt to reignite their love after being separated for over three decades.

You can buy ‘Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances’ from Amazon and is available from good bookshops.

Bad Choices By Lucy Vine

Bad Choices‘Bad Choices’ is the latest book by Lucy Vine.

Nat and Zoe have always shared everything. Hopeless crushes, emergency tampons, messy sex stories, work triumphs, those days where you can’t stop crying in the loos, those days where you can’t stop dancing on the bar. They even share the same birthday, FFS. The struggle is real, but they’ll always have each other. Except best friends forever is a hard promise to keep…

When it comes to book by Lucy Vine, I find them completely addictive and her latest book with its beautifully vibrant cover is no different.

The story is seen through the narrative of best friend Zoe Darling and Natalie Winters who meet in the school toilets one day when they get their periods for the first time. They also discover that on this milestone day that they share the same birthday and so begins their epic friendship.

Each chapter is a new year as they celebrate their birthdays together and discuss where they are in their lives. I loved the interactions between this pair, they are delightfully honest with each other and offer genuine love and concern for their happiness. Natalie is a delight, she’s a romantic at heart and is looking for the big love and when it comes her way is reluctant to let it go, even though it doesn’t make her completely happy. Whilst Zoe, is trying to find her place in the world and finds it difficult to see Natalie with new friends and her fear of being left behind.

Lucy is a pro at writing about the complexities and dynamics of female relationships. Her writing is fresh, witty and delightfully crude at times that I was regularly snorting with laughter. But she also writes tenderly of the pressure that women and society put on themselves, to find the perfect partner, job and be successful. This was the first book that I’ve got to review on a book tour for Lucy and I was genuinely honoured, as she’s become one of my favourite comedic authors.

With hilarious one-liners, dramas and nostalgia that make for delicious reading from the very first page, Lucy is back with another rollercoaster of a story that was genuinely uplifting to read. For anyone looking for books that will make you chuckle at creative dialogue and scenarios, I wholeheartedly recommend Lucy, as her books are a delight from start to finish and will always make you smile. Bad Choices’ is a wise and warm story that all women can relate to about life long friendships, the make ups and the mishaps.

You can pre-order ‘Bad Choices’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 10th June 2021.

Summer In The City By Fiona Collins

Summer In The City‘Summer In The City’ is the latest book by Fiona Collins.

Prue is not someone you would notice willingly. She likes to keep herself to herself and fade into the background. If it were not for the birthmark on her left cheek, she might actually succeed at becoming invisible. She spends all of her time with her blind father, Vince. Together, they sit in silence and ignore the vibrant city just on their doorstep. Life is as good as what’s on TV. That is, until something forces them both to go outside and see what they have been missing. For Vince, that means discovering how to see the world without his sight. For Prue, that means finding the courage to finally love and be loved in return.

For an uplifting story about new beginnings, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book.

The story is seen through the narrative Prudence who lives with her father. Both people are reclusive characters, her father is blind whilst Prudence has a large birthmark on her face that she’s so self conscious of. The birthmark has really effected her self esteem and results in her not able to hold down a job or make new friends. Prudence and her father spend their days inside the house, until one day her father gives her a list of places that he’d like to visit in London. Now, both Prudence and her father have to step outside their comfort and embrace new adventures and friendships.

This is such a lovely warm-hearted story that made for joyous reading. Prudence is quite an introverted character who’s made hurt a lot in the past, not only by family but also in relationships, because of this she keeps to herself. She’s her father’s carer and spends her day inside the house whilst he listens to audio books and cooks delicious meals.

The interaction between the pair of them is lovely, as the fair of them face their fears and step outside. Prudence’s father hasn’t always been blind and as they rediscover the famous sights of the city and it’s touching as Prudence describes the scenes and her father reminiscences on his own memories. Her father was an architect and it’s fascinating to hear the history behind some of London’s most famous buildings.

It’s lovely to read the interaction between the pair of them and see them both grow in confidence as the story progresses and they begin to meet new people.

This is a beautifully written story and really captures the magic of London and new friendships. Descriptions are so vividly written and Prudence’s narrative is so descriptive that I literally felt like I was seeing London through new eyes. I loved Prudence, she’s shy but also straightforward which makes her a witty character. I loved joining her on a journey of self discovery and finally finding her place in life.

‘Summer In The City’ is a stunning story of new beginnings, and getting back out there. A feel good and poignant book that sweeps you away on holiday without leaving the house.

You can buy ‘Summer In The City’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.