5 August 2014

Book Review: The Beach Hut Next Door by Veronica Henry

"Summer appeared from nowhere that year in Everdene . . . and for those lucky enough to own one of the beach huts, this was the summer of their dreams.

For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed.

Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father - but they have very different ways of coping.

And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become 'the ice cream girl' once again might just turn her life around.

But this summer is not all sunshine and surf - as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever . "

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Beach Hut Next Door as a paperback or an eBook now.

Veronica Henry is one of my favourite authors, and I have read all of her books that she has had published to date. I've enjoyed every one of them, and I was thrilled to see that Veronica was doing another book like her previous brilliant summer read The Beach Hut. It didn't feature any of the same characters, but was still set on Everdene beach, and examined the lives of many different characters who happen to visit the beach and the huts there. I was really pleased when I received a review copy from Orion, and eagerly got stuck in, looking forward to another fabulous summer read, and it's certainly one I'd recommend you stick in your suitcase!

Jenna and her boyfriend Craig are determined to keep the strength in their relationship alive, and when Jenna discovers a new business opportunity that she thinks will be the making of her, Craig knows he has to trust and support his girlfriend in her venture. Recently separated couple Rachel and Tim have decided to share their beloved beach hut, neither wanting to part with the place that holds such lovely memories for each of them. There's also the fishermen brothers who are trying to keep their business alive after the loss of their father at sea, driving one of the brothers to the brink of despair, and the other struggling to keep the business afloat. Finally, there's Elodie, who fell in love with Everdene in her childhood when she lived at Grey House but left after a shocking family revelation left her estranged from the rest of her family. All this and more happens on the beach at beautiful Everdene...

While I've mentioned the above characters, these are the ones that stood out to me but they aren't all that is in the book. There are lots of little stories within the book, all cleverly woven together and they really do read as a wonderful story. There's obviously lots of different storylines going on and you do have to concentrate to make sure you know where you are with the book but for me, it was a really enjoyable read. I loved revisiting Everdene, visualising the beautiful scenery in my mind as well as the lovely beach huts too. Since reading the book, I've found out that the characters of Jenna and Craig featured in Veronica's 'Quick Read' A Sea Change, and although I haven't read that book, it didn't stop my enjoyment of the story at all.

I had 2 favourite parts of this book overall. The first was the story between recently separated couple Rachel and Tim. They have been driven apart by their desperate need for a family, something Tim knows he can't even give Rachel, no matter how much they want. He's reluctantly let her go to fulfill her dream, but he's hurting and missing her. The fact they shared the beach hut was so sweet, and I really did feel for Tim, it was a very touching story. The other brilliant part for me was Elodie's tale. We meet Elodie as a elderly lady, buying the Grey House in Everdene, but we soon find out that the house has a big tie to her from her childhood. As the book progresses, it moves back to Elodie's childhood to reveal what happened that drove Elodie away from her home and her family, and it was a really captivating story. I was really riveted by this and thought it was so well done, I could have read a whole book on Elodie and her story alone.

This was a fantastic read, as I always expect from Veronica Henry! I really enjoyed the whole thing from start to finish, whether it was Elodie's emotional story, or one of the tales of the residents of the beach huts too, they were all very readable. I loved Veronica's descriptions of the beach huts and Everdene, she managed to make them sound like the perfect place to be in the summer, and I can't now wait to visit my parents where they live by the sea, and sit there near the beach huts with a good book! Fans of Veronica Henry are going to want to pick this up and lose themselves in another wonderful, evocative and warm tale of many lives at Everdene beach and beyond. I loved it. A fantastic beach read.

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