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Review of 'Summer of Love', a novel by Katie Fforde
I am reviewing the paperback version of this book, published by Arrow books, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0099539148, cover price £7.99. Genre: - Modern fiction.
This novel is currently available from amazon at £5.59 new, from 0.01p used or £5.22 for a Kindle version.
Sian is a single mother from London. She has an almost 5 year old son called Rory who she conceived after a one night stand. Rory's father does not know about the little boy as he met Sian only once and headed off travelling the day after the couple had enjoyed their night of passion.
Sian is a furniture restorer by trade; she works from home sourcing old furniture to up cycle. Her life in London takes a turn for the worse when Rory cannot settle into the large inner city school she has chosen for him. A lifestyle change is offered to her by an old friend, Richard. He knows of a picture post card cottage available for rent in the little village where his sister teaches in the tiny local school.
After much discussion with her supportive parents, Sian decides to make the move to the country and although the cottage is damp and very, very small, she and Rory soon settle into village life. Richard makes it quite clear that he would like to be more than just friends and although Sian likes him, she cannot envisage a life with him as her partner and finds herself making all kinds of excuses not to see him.
After a short time in the village, Sian becomes firm friends with a near neighbour, Fiona. Fiona is a widow with a grown up family and seems to delight in young Rory's company. Fiona is also good friends with Sian's landlady, who lives on the continent.
The only slight problem on Sian's horizon is the rich, spoiled local girl Melissa Lewis-Jones who has decided that she wants to buy Sian's rented cottage and makes strenuous overtures to the landlady, Louella.
When Fiona's son Angus decides to return to his family home, Sian and Fiona are thrown into a situation that neither of them could possibly have foreseen and it threatens to ruin their comfortable friendship.
Will their friendship survive the dramas that unfold and will Melissa be able to persuade Louella to sell the cottage?
No spoilers here, you'll have to read the novel if I have whetted your appetite.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
I have read a couple of Katie Fforde's previous novels and enjoyed them. She uses a very descriptive, easy going way of telling her character's stories which makes for an entertaining read. The characters in 'Summer of Love' are very well drawn; on the whole they are likeable and believable.
The plots in Ms Fforde's novels are not terribly involved or complicated, these are definitely 'pick up and put down' type novels, ideal for light holiday reading or for those times when you just want to lose yourself in a novel.
I particularly liked this novel for the slightly different slant on a tried and tested theme. There are an awful lot of single mother making good type novels around at the moment, but this one is a cut above the usual chick-lit style of novel. I found the storyline was fast paced and interesting, holding my attention from the very first. I enjoyed the witty repartee between the main protagonists, Sian and Fiona, and thought that the unlikely friendship that sprung up between the younger and older woman was an excellent twist.
I would recommend this novel to others, no, it is not educational or 'improving', and it certainly doesn't pretend to be, but for pure escapism and a good plot with a happy ending, Ms Fforde scores a 5* rating in my opinion.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 January 2013
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
*I haven't written many book reviews before so bear with me - I know it isn't amazing but constructive criticism or praise is welcome! :)
Sian Bishop is a girl looking for nothing other than a little country home with her son Rory - no men, no drama and lots of painting. Sian is shocked at how quickly she settles in and finds herself in a close friendship with Fiona - an older lady who lived in the village and had all the knowledge of the locals.
I don't want to give the story away, but Sian definitely does not expect what happens next - finding herself in a love triangle which is tricky and confusing for all involved. Does she follow her head or her heart? Who could provide more for her son? Richard can give her anything she needs, he has a big home, good job and loves her dearly. Sian could grow to love him and knows he will be a great step father to Rory. Gus is an adventurer, he couldn't be completely stable with a job, but he is amazing with Rory and Sian is beginning to fall madly in love with him all over again. This is most definitely a position nobody would want to be in!
Admittedly, I'd never heard of Katie Fford before this book. I brought it on a whim at Tesco due to it being £3 and sounding interesting enough for a long train journey home from my grandparents. The blurb on the back sounded interesting enough, I'm quite into my romantic love stories so I couldn't resist - especially when Katie Price's novel was the only other choice I might like.
Katie Ffordes writing style is brilliant, I was captured from the first word and couldn't put the book down. I would read at night until my eyes couldn't stay open and I physically had to put it down - but I picked it up again as soon as I was on the train in the morning! I don't think I've ever been so into a book before and I would read her work again. I'm searching Amazon as we speak for more titles to try.
I have a bit of an annoyance with books/films that are predictable, which despite being so in parts, I found this book to be sometimes quite unexpected. Certain situations I felt like I knew what would happen but at the same time I didn't expect it when it did happen! The book is written from Sian's point of view which I liked, because I felt like I was being absorbed into the pages and living her life despite knowing she is a seperate person.
I found myself completely absorbed in the story, almost feeling as though I was actually Sian - I put this mainly down to Katie Ffordes writing style. I got annoyed with some of Sians decisions, frustrated with some plots - even found myself teary with certain parts. The connection between the reader and the characters is excellent and following them on their journeys through certain situations really made me feel like I knew them personally, as if they were friends of mine. One of the main things I really liked, was that this story followed the stories of more than one character over the time span of the book. Sian was living her life, but alongside her so were other people - and all of their stories intertwine so they don't just seem like someone hopping in and out of her life. I don't want to go too much into any of the characters because I hate reading reviews which give away the story.
The ending of the book for me, could have been a little better. I felt like I was not only left at a cliffhanger, but hanging half way off the cliff with my rope about to snap. I almost felt like the book ended because Fforde couldn't be bothered to finish it - although some people may enjoy this style of finish. I almost wish there was a part two to this book so I could see how their lives pan out in the future (how sad am I!).
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a romantic love story to get lost into, as this is exactly what I did. Katie Fforde makes it easy to connect with the characters and you will find yourself at the end of the book before you know whats hit you! It is inexpensive to buy and well worth the read.
Sian had been raising her son Rory who is nearly 5 years old on her own after a one night stand, in the hustle and bustle of London. When her close friend Richard offers her a chance to pack up and move to a slower and quieter pace of life in the country where she will be able to carry on her restoration/decoration business and Rory can start a fresh at a new school. Sian quickly settles in and finds a great friend in her neighbour Fiona. It is whilst Sian is attending Fiona's dinner party to meet some new faces that she sets eyes on someone she never expected to see again. Is this chance meeting about to change Sian's life for better or worse...
I absolutely love Katie Fforde's style of writing, I have never found anyone who writes in a similar style. This book, just like the rest of Katie Ffordes books has you instantly absorbed into the storyline. Her books are such a cosy read that just have a way of making you want to curl up in the garden on a hot summers day and this book follows in the same style.
Sian is the main character in this book and she is a very ordinary, down to earth character facing normal day to day situations. In the opening of the book Sian makes friends with her older neighbour Fiona and they for a strong friendship and Fiona takes both Sian and little Rory under her wing. The friendship between the two women felt very natural.
The storyline focuses on Sian who comes back into contact with Rory's father but she is waiting for the right moment to tell him. As well as this storyline there is a small sideline which follows Fiona and her looking for male company through internet dating which is a very modern topic and shows the dangers which can occur so there is a great lesson coming across in this story.
There was only one thing that bugged me a little with this book and that was Sian's friend Richard who has strong feelings for Sian, he was the one to persuade her to move to the country yet he knew the man from her past was bound to show up at some point with his mum living close by!
This book was a lovely read and I would say it is one of my favourite books by Katie Fforde. I would highly recommend this book for a nice Sunday afternoon treat!
Review is also on amazon and www.reabookreview.blogspot.com
With Katie Fforde's novels, the reader is often transported to an idyllic life in the country. This is also what has happened to Sian who has recently moved into a charming cottage with her young son Rory. Everything seems perfect as Rory settles into the local school and Sian starts to make some good friends. She is really enjoying her new life in the country. That is until one day a face from the past appears and her life is thrown into turmoil.
Sian Bishop is a single mum who makes her living by restoring and painting new furniture. She hopes that by moving to the country she will be able to provide her five year old son Rory with a good life away from the hustle and bustle of London. Although she is happy on her own, she knows that her good friend Richard is looking for something more and would love to marry her and to provide a home for herself and Rory.
However, although she recognises that he is a good dependable man, he does not excite her, unlike Rory's father who she had only a brief fling with many years before. Should she settle for security and a quiet life or should she hold out for something more exciting? That is the dilemma that Sian struggles with throughout this story.
I really enjoyed Summer of Love from the very first page as it was a very relaxed and enjoyable read. All of the characters were entertaining and easy to like which is something I always notice in Katie Fforde's books. She seems particularly good at creating and developing characters that you are bound to like. They are mainly the types of people that you could imagine sitting down with for a cup of tea and a good chat, especially Sian's lovely neighbour, Fiona. She is an older lady and proves to be a very good friend to Sian as well as becoming a stand-in grandma for Rory.
Summer of Love is an entertaining and easy story that is based on a few misunderstandings along the way. These can be quite amusing although sometimes it can be frustrating especially when things would be easily solved by characters actually talking to each other. I don't suppose that it would be much of a story if that was always to happen though.
Summer of Love is quite a good title for this book but it is definitely not slushy and romantic. In fact, for most parts of the story, love looks extremely unlikely for Sian, and also for Fiona who has taken a first hesitant step in to the world of internet dating. Her various and sometimes disastrous 'dates' actually provide some very humorous moments throughout but also with a slightly poignant slant as she constantly doubts that any man could find her attractive. Overall the entire story is most engaging and I was hooked from the very start. The gentle pace and absorbing story lines made for easy reading and I was thoroughly entertained.
The hardcover is currently available on Amazon for £8.24.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk
With all these recent sunny days, I have been spending my afternoons sitting in the garden reading! I am a big reader anyway, but these couple of weeks I seemed to have 'flown' to my 'to read' pile of books and have been getting through a book in a couple of days. Today, I will be reviewing one of my latest reads.
Summer of Love is a fictional book (otherwise known as chick-lit) by author Kate Fforde. The book was released in the United Kingdom in March 2011 and so is very recent. You can buy a copy of this book from Amazon for a price of £8.24 which I think is quite expensive for a book, although it is worth it.
The plot: Sian is quite a sensible young lady, apart from that 'crazy' night which resulted in her son Rory. When she has an invite to move to the countryside; especially as she can leave the mad city life behind. One summers evening in the countryside, she meets Gus...a bad boy....someone who she has met once before but how and where?. What will happen? Read Summer of Love to find out!
I loved this book! It is so sweet and romantic. I thought that the plot was really difference and it made a nice change that it wasn't about a 'my-boyfriend-just-cheated-on-me-so-I'm-going-to-travel-the-World-on-my-own' kind of character.
I thought that the characters were interesting. Throughout the book I could not wait to see what Sian and Gus's connection was, although when I did find out, it did all make sense and I wondered why I hadn't guessed in the beginning!
I had only finished another 'country' read called ' The Desperate Diary of A Country Housewife', the other day and so this was a bit similar to that in terms that it was about a 'city girl' moving to the country. Being a country girl myself, I find it interesting when so called 'city girls' think that life in the country is 'perfect'. So it was refreshing to see a city person's view on the countryside.
I liked the way that this book was written. Having seen a photo of the author, I can see that she is quite mature (in her 60's perhaps). Despite this, I thought that she really knew how to keep the younger reader (teens-thirty somethings) interested. Really well put together book!
I like that this book is a summer read. It is an 'easy to read' kind of book which does not require too much thinking, which means that it is a great book for reading whilst chilling out in the garden.
If you are looking for a good book to read in the sun, read this!
Thanks for reading!
April 22nd 2011
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)
When Sian Bishop moves to the country with her son Rory, she quickly finds herself settling in, making friends with Fiona Mitcham. Her business as a furniture decorator is going well and she loves the little cottage she and Rory call home. When Gus Berresford comes hurtling into Sian's life it's the last thing she needs. Not only is Gus a heart-breaker, but he and Sian have met before. Gus is an entirely unsuitable man for Sian to fall in love with, especially when good friend Richard is offering her everything she could ever need, except love. But who will Sian end up giving her heart to, and what happened the first time Sian and Gus met?
It's very well known that I love Katie Fforde. She's a wonderful author and of all her seventeen novels I've only not read three of them. I love her storytelling abilities and the way her writing is a bit more old-fashioned than what I normally read. Her books are predictable, but that's what I love about them. I know exactly what I'm getting each time I read one of her books and that's wonderful because it means no nasty surprises! So I was absolutely thrilled to receive her new book in the post, and couldn't resist reading it straight away and, as always, I was not disappointed.
Summer of Love follows pretty much the same format as all of Katie's novels, as I've mentioned in previous reviews of Katie's books. It's a winning formula for me and I'm pleased Katie sticks to her formula for each and every novel. The book opens well, with Sian meeting Fiona and the two quickly become friends. Their bond is sealed when Fiona confides in Sian about her going on an Internet date (more on that later) and I thought the friendship between the two was very real. Now the majority of the plot centers on Rory, Sian's son's, father. It's fairly obvious who the dad is, but I won't tell it here just to preserve you knowing until you read the book. I was majorly worried Sian wasn't going to tell him he was the dad, and I was going to have to go all Jeremy Kyle on her ("You have no right to not tell him he's the dad" etc. etc). Thankfully that wasn't so, and Rory's father finds out in good time.
There is an interesting sub-plot featuring Fiona, who decides to go Internet dating. It was a nice way to mix the plot up a bit, and involving Fiona meant we could give Sian a break every now and then. I liked Fiona's adventures at Internet dating, and the way she handled herself on one particular date. It's a very now plot to have featured, and Fiona was perfect for it. We also see her relationship with James, a bookseller, develop during that time and it proves, if anything, that it is possible to find love and all that at any age.
I very much enjoyed getting to know the characters. I had a bit of a wobble about Sian, regarding the dad situation (again, my inner Jeremy Kyle is to blame) but it isn't dragged out too long as to make me dislike her in any way. I just didn't agree with her keeping schtum. Bar that, she was another excellent Fforde heroine. We have two potential love interests in Gus and Richard and to be honest there was only one for me. Richard was a bit wet for me, surely an astute businessman like himself can tell when someone isn't fully in love with him? Gus on the other hand was brilliant, he and Sian sparked off each other well and I liked his relationship with Rory. Fiona was brilliant, as previously mentioned and I loved little Rory, he seemed like the perfect 4/5 year old!
I've mentioned this in previous reviews but I adore Katie Fforde's writing style. I know, I'm getting boring aren't I? And starting to sound like a parrot? I do apologise, but really, her writing is so enjoyable and there's nothing like losing myself in a Katie Fforde book during an afternoon. I constantly want it all to work out for her characters and I'm always happy when it does all come together. Honestly, for as long as Katie carries on writing novels I will still read them, because there is nothing quite like being able to pick up a brand new Katie Fforde novel. Summer of Love is another worthy addition to Katie's back list with it's lovely plot and even better characters. It's one Fforde fans will devour, and rightly so and I'm looking forward to Katie's next book already.