1 June 2017

Book Review: Evie's Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow

"It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother.

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past.

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?"

Rating: 5/5

I read my first book by Christie Barlow a few months ago, that being her festive release Lizzie's Christmas Escape. I absolutely loved it, Christie's writing style was perfect and I knew I would from then on be reading more of her books.m Luckily, her next book wasn't far behind, and this spring saw the release of her new book Evie's Year of Taking Chances. For what it's worth, I have to say how amazing Christie's covers are - in the age of eBooks, covers are again becoming hugely important in whether or not people choose to buy, particularly with an eBook, so these covers are an excellent choice.

This book is obviously about Evie. She's a librarian (dream job!), and happily lives alone round the corner from her adoptive mother. However, it's soon her birthday, a time which always makes her think of her biological mum. Evie eventually comes to the decision that she needs to try and make contact, even if that might mean rejection again. Meanwhile, Evie meets her all-time favourite author, Noah Jones, and the pair strike up a friendship. Evie is sure an author wouldn't be interested in her, but is her heart open enough to allow Noah in? If Evie manages to find her real mother, will it be a happy ending, or was taking a chance always destined to end in sorrow?

Firstly, I loved that Evie is a librarian - in fact, I love it when authors make it obvious that their characters love books, and that was certainly the case with Evie, and her best friend too. The library where they work sounds lovely, and I can see why she loves going to work there. The inclusion of a famous author as another character adds another book-loving level to the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book. Secondly, the hunt for Evie's biological was a great addition to the story, and I felt all the nerves along with Evie as she awaited letters, contact with her mum, I can't imagine how she must have felt, and she remained so positive despite her relatively bleak start in life. I can't say I would always be as optimistic as Evie was if I grew up as she did.

Although the main character was of course very important to the book, I felt the other characters were just as good, and enjoyable to read about too. There's Evie's best friend Carla, who also works at the library, Aiden, a new recruit to the library, Evie's mum and of course Noah. Together, they are a really believable cast of people that you truly believe you could be friends with or hang out with, they're just normal and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them.

This was a brilliant book, and I enjoyed the whole thing from start to finish. Christie Barlow's writing was so easy to read, I found myself about to pick up the book at any time and dive straight back in, keen to get back into Evie's story and find out whether her chance taking would pay off.  I found myself zooming through the book far too quickly, and felt sad once it had finished, simply because I had enjoyed the read so much. I already cannot wait to read more Christie Barlow, and have a few of her earlier stories on my Kindle to enjoy at some point. Barlow is certainly a talent that Bookouture will want to hang on to, with her lovely stories, and wonderful characters, she's an author I'll be reading for many years to come.

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