8 August 2013

Book Review: In The Summertime by Judy Astley

"It's twenty years since Miranda, then sixteen, holidayed in Cornwall and her life changed forever. Now she's back again - with her mother Clare and the ashes of her stepfather Jack, whose wish was to be scattered on the sea overlooked by their one-time holiday home.

The picturesque cove seems just the same as ever, but the people are different - more smart incomers,fewer locals, more luxury yachts in the harbour. But Miranda and Clare both find some strangely familiar faces, and revisit the emotions they both thought had disappeared."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy In The Summertime as a hardback or an eBook now.

I'll be honest and say I was interested in reading this book because the cover is so beautiful and summery, and the story sounded like it'd be intriguing too! I had no idea when I began reading the book that it is a sequel to Judy's first ever novel which was published in 1994 (I was just 8!!) called Just For The Summer. I haven't read that book, but for those that have, it will be nice to revisit the characters, who have now all grown up themselves, and see a new part of their story. For me though, I knew nothing about these characters so went into this with no expectations. I was really pleased with it when I'd finished, it's a lovely summer read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Miranda is just getting over the death of her step-mother, and finds herself setting off on a holiday to Chapel Creek in Cornwall with her newly widowed mother Clare, and her two teenage children as well. This is where Clare wants her husbands ashes scattered, and while Miranda is happy to do the trip, she's wondering how much has changed since she last holidayed in the village 20 long years ago. Miranda is sure she won't spot anyone that she remembered from before, but when familiar faces start popping up around the village, she and Clare start to wonder whether the people from their past can start to help focus their futures, whether in Cornwall or not. Will they be able to move on whilst they say goodbye?

First of all I want to say how beautifully Astley writes the sleepy sea-side town of Chapel Creek. It sounds picturesque, and Astley really made it come to life in my mind as I was reading, everything from the descriptions of the scenery to the holiday home that Miranda and her family stay in, to the lovely beach scenes as well, it's a joy to read because of that, and certainly tempts me into wanting to holiday in the UK rather than travelling abroad, there's so much to see in this country! Even little things such as the hugely over-priced local shop rang true, and it's a very realistic book, with a gorgeous setting and realistic characters too.

I really enjoyed the characters in here, especially Miranda who is the main character in the book. She's divorced and a single parent to their two teenage children Bo and Silva, and they are quite typical teenagers too. I think Astley has written them really well, and even though they're stroppy and bolshy, they're likeable and you can sense they have good hearts. Miranda's mother Clare is an interesting character too. Although she's desperately grieving for her husband, you can see part of her wants to open her life up to new opportunities too, and I liked her for that. She's a good mother and grandmother, and certainly there is nothing dislikeable her, unlike Miranda's younger sister who is so vain and selfish, I couldn't quite warm to her! I also enjoyed the inclusion of some of Miranda's childhood friends, in particular Jessica and her daughter Lola, their story was quite emotional and moving.

I really enjoyed this book, and the story inside. There aren't any shocking revelations or massive twists or turns, but it didn't need them. Instead, the story itself is what you focus on, and the moving on of these characters through their grief, and reuniting their past with their present once more. The cast of characters is great, from the young teenager up to Clare, but they all work together as a family perfectly, and are all realistic and believable, which I felt was important for this book. I found Astley's writing style very easy to read, and in particular her descriptions of Chapel Creek were fabulous to read, and again very realistic. This is a lovely, gently summer read with sunshine, surfing and a bit of love thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed it, and certainly recommend it!

1 comment:

  1. Nice review, thx. This sounds just the sort of book I need now, to stop my head spinning in circles. SD