21 March 2017

Book Review: The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond

"Number 11, Dukes Square, looks just like the other houses on the Brighton seafront: a Regency terrace with elegant sash windows, a winding staircase, and post piled up in the hall for its tenants. It might be part of the city's history, but it's also a place of brand new beginnings.

Georgie has followed her childhood sweetheart to Brighton but is determined to carve out a career for herself in journalism. Throwing herself into the city's delights is fun and exciting, but before she knows it, she's sliding into all kinds of trouble . . .

Charlotte's in the city for a new start, hoping to keep her head down and somehow get over the heartbreaking loss she's suffered in the past. But Margot, the stylish old lady on the top floor, has other ideas. Like it or not, Charlotte must confront the outside world, and the possibilities it still holds.

A terrible revelation sent Rosa running from London to start again as a sous chef. The work is gruelling and thankless but it's a distraction at least . . . until she comes up against the stroppy teenager next door who challenges her on her lifestyle choices. What if Rosa's passion for food could lead her to more interesting places?

As the three tenants find each other, it's as if a whole new chapter of their lives has begun."

Rating: 5/5

I absolutely love Lucy Diamond's books so was super thrilled to be sent a review copy of her brand new book The House of New Beginnings. It was a massive book, but I just couldn't wait to get stuck in. I have to confess I was absorbed by this story from the very start - it draws you in and I just couldn't put it down, so eager to find out what was going to happen with Charlotte, Georgie and Rosa in the end. Lucy's writing was, as always, brilliant and for me, it was one of the best stories I think I had read from her so far!

The story literally takes place in one house in Brighton, lived in by different people going through different times in their life. There's Georgie, who has moved down to Brighton because of her boyfriend, but it isn't all sunshine and roses for the pair, so she decides she has to find herself a job to occupy her time. Charlotte has moved to Brighton to escape a devastating past, but it seems the world is determined to make her show her face once more and start living life. Finally, there's Rosa, who again is running from a secret, to try and live out her dream of working as a chef. The three strangers soon become friends as they get to know each other, but what surprises does the house have in store?

I love a book that revolves around multiple people, rather than just one character. I feel it adds something to the book, gives us lots to follow, and always keeps things interesting. This was definitely the case in this book, and I loved each of the women that I was reading about. They were all very different, with very differing pasts but bought together by the fact they don't seem to really have anyone else around them to be friends with. I think these days, people can live much more solitary lives, choosing to stay in rather than go out, and this was certainly the case with a few of these characters.

My favourite of the three women was possibly Charlotte - she was the one I felt I could relate to most of all, and I enjoyed seeing her flourish as the book progressed, how she opened her mind to new friendships and experiences. Her story was completely heart-breaking, very sad, and you could feel all the emotions along the way, the honesty within the words Lucy Diamond writes was very raw, and you could completely sympathise and feel for Charlotte. The way the three women gradually become a part of each others lives was good to read as well, it felt very natural and I enjoyed the fact they opened up to each other as well, unburdening themselves by sharing their secrets at long last.

The house itself was the perfect setting as well - it sounded charming, and the perfect hideaway for the women. There's many issues covered in the book, covering a vast range of emotions; grief, sorrow, fear, deception and more, and these women really have hit the lowest points in all of their lives in different ways, showcasing these range of emotions. Diamond's story-telling is brilliant throughout, handling the more delicate issues with ease and making even the hardest parts completely readable.

For me, this was a superb read from start to finish. It's believable, with characters you can relate to and empathize with, and a setting that I loved to read about. There were some surprise characters along the way, including a wonderful elderly resident called Margot, poorly resident Jo and her angsty teenage daughter Bea (which is another very heart-warming storyline), and others that pop in and out - they are as vital to the book as the main ones, and its a skill that Diamond can so easily weave them together perfectly to create one of my favourite reads of the year. It's a heart-warming, emotional and yet ultimately uplifting read that I can highly recommend, you won't be disappointed!

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