8 June 2014

Book Review: A Summer to Remember by Victoria Connelly

Rating: 4/5

I have read the past few novels that Victoria Connelly has released and I have really enjoyed all of them. Victoria's novels are fun to read with great stories, characters you care about and are perfect escapist reading. I was really pleased to be sent a review copy of her brand new book A Summer to Remember, and with it's gorgeous summery looking cover, it seemed like the perfect book to dive into with summer fast approaching!

Nina is fed up. Her job doesn't seem to be going to plan, she works for the boss from hell and quite frankly, she's had enough. Nina finally hands in her notice then finds herself without a job, and wondering how exactly she's going to make ends meet. When she, by chance, bumps into her old employer Mrs Milton, she finds herself being offered a job opportunity she can't afford to turn down. She ends up working as Mr Milton's secretary while he writes his secret new book, a job the other Milton's think she is mad to take! What will Nina make of her new job, and what is going to make it a summer to remember?

What I really loved about this story was it's simplicity. There wasn't anything mad going on, any craziness but it just plodded along nicely, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read from start to finish. I really liked the character of Nina. You could understand why she hated her job so much, and I was pleased she found the job at the Milton house. It turned out she had worked there when she was younger, so it was nice that the characters already had a rapport with each other. I did however like the change in the relationship between Nina and the Milton boys, whom she used to babysit for. They clearly see Nina in a new light now they are grown men, but she still sees them as the boys she cared for in Batman pyjamas, which led to a few funny moments! Nina was thoroughly likeable though, and I loved following her in the story.

The Milton family were plenty to make up the rest of the characters for the book. Mrs Milton, bless her, enjoys a rather easy life, caring for her house and husband, and wanting everything to be just perfect. She despairs at husband Dudley's disorganisation, which is where Nina came in. Dudley seemed pretty unliveable at first, but as the book went on, I grew to really like him, he was just stuck in his ways! The Milton sons were an important part of the book too. There's artist Dominic, harbouring a crush on unsuspecting Nina, and his older brother, playboy Alex. As I said, they're now grown men with feelings of their own, and Nina isn't quite sure how to handle it. I particularly liked Dominic, and reading about him and the growth of his relationship with their gardener Faye - this was a lovely addition to the story.

One thing I really loved about this book was the Milton house.  Everything about it is described so beautifully, it's so easy to picture it clearly in your mind. The flowers, Dudley's study, the folly where Dominic loves - it all sounds so perfect, you can see why Nina was so keen to return to the house and not want to have to leave! Connelly creates a beautiful setting for this book, and another part I enjoyed was when Nina had to walk the dog, Connelly's descriptions of Nina's surroundings were just wonderful, I loved reading them. This allowed the introduction of a new character, Jamie, with a bit of mystery as to who he is. I have to admit I worked it out quite early on but it was still fun to read on and see if I was right!

For me, this book is a perfect summer read, it's got everything you would want in a book. There's great characters, a beautiful settings and Connelly's writing is so easy to read that the book was a joy to pick up of an evening. I loved Nina and the Milton's, and I really hoped that they would all find the happiness they all wanted, especially Nina and lovely Dominic too! I know fans of Victoria's previous books will enjoy this, and it's a good place to start if you haven't read anything by her before too! It was a fabulous read, I can honestly say I enjoyed every page and didn't want it to end. A wonderful summer read I heartily recommend. Full of romance, laughs and lots of family fun.

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