22 December 2016

Book Review: A Year and A Day by Isabelle Broom

"Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere.

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she's determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything - and she won't let that happen again . . .

For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she's struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it's all her fault . . .

For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can't stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .

Three different women.

Three intertwining love stories.

One unforgettable, timeless city."

Rating: 5/5

I first read a book by Isabelle Broom earlier this year called My Map of You. I really loved that book and was super excited to find a new chick lit author I was going to really enjoy reading for years to come. So when I found she was bringing out a festive book, I was really excited and couldn't wait to get reading. It definitely didn't disappoint at all, and I was completely absorbed with the story, the characters and the settings, it was one of the most vivid and enjoyable books I have read this festive season, and I think it's one you must read this winter!

This book is set in a country I have never read about before, the Czech Republic and it's capital city, Prague. I know a few people who have been there and loved it, but I will be honest and say I really didn't know anything about it before I read about in this book. However, I wish I could now jump on a plane and get there right now, it sounded completely amazing and Broom's descriptions are so vivid and detailed, you can imagine every single thing she is writing about, from the architecture to the scenery and the people.

This story focuses on three different women who are initially strangers, and are in Prague for differing reasons. There's our main character Megan who has come to Prague with her best friend Ollie, to help him research the city for his class at school. Megan knows how Ollie really about her but is sure she can stop any romantic feelings on the holiday. There's Hope and her new boyfriend Charlie on their first getaway together, with Hope nursing a broken heart over her daughter who will no longer speak to her. And finally there is Sophie, who is headed to Prague and will be meeting her boyfriend Robin in a few days time. Each of them has their own story, and I love the way their tales become intertwined as the story goes on.

The book begins in a very intriguing way, with a woman ready to throw herself off a bridge in Prague, and then jumps to the start of the women's holidays. Broom changes the narrative frequently between the women, allowing us to find out their backstory, the reason for being in Prague, and to get to know them a bit before introducing them to each other and bringing them together. There's a lot of emotion throughout the book, lots of truths being faced and I loved every bit of it. It did move me to tears during a few scenes, Broom really taps into the heart of each of the stories, and isn't afraid to shy away from the nitty gritty of the sadness, and hope as well littered throughout.

What struck me most about this book though was Broom's descriptive writing about Prague. Everything, from the beautiful architecture, the churches, the cafe's, the food (strudel and goulash - yum!), the local people is beautifully written and brings the place to life in your mind. I loved that the characters visit lots of different parts of Prague, not just the well-known spots, you can tell the author really knows what she is talking about here when she is writing! The snowy paths, bitter weather - it's a perfect winter read. This was a joy to read throughout, it is emotional and a few scenes will certainly move you (possibly to tears like it did with me!), and Broom's narrative works so well, allowing us to follow all 3 stories seamlessly. I adored this book, and really cannot wait for Isabelle Broom's next book - go and read this NOW!

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