After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle. Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.
Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with. Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met. Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.
As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities. Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him. For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.
But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.
I had the great pleasure of meeting author Jo Lambert on-line back in August, when she wrote me a lovely guest post about her personal long and winding road as part of her blog tour. You’ll find her post here. Since that time Jo and I have hosted tours for Brook Cottage Books, we’ve tweeted and commented on each others’ posts – and I have to say she finds some of the best cat pictures ever to publish on her Facebook page! But it’s taken me far too long to catch up with her latest novel, Summer Moved On – available in kindle and paperback editions in the UK and US. And now I have, and I was delighted to find that Jo writes quite beautifully: this book took me a while to read because of other things I had going on, but I looked forward to picking it up whenever I was able, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
It’s a great story, with teenager Jess at its heart. I did briefly wonder if I might struggle with such a young focus for the story – it’s the summer between the end of school and the beginning of university – but I liked her very much. She’s a mature 18 year old, while at the same time a bit unworldly and perhaps a little too open and trusting. When we first meet her she’s in a relationship with rich boy Zac, much to her detestable father’s delight. But when her life is blown apart by family secrets, she moves in with her Uncle Rufus at his village pub, where her relationship with Talún develops. He seems totally unsuitable for her, a bad boy with a quite dreadful reputation with women: to begin with their exchanges are pretty fiery, but he turns out to be a much more complex character than he at first appears with a soft side, a very sad past, and secrets every bit as life changing as Jess’s. And he’s also absolutely gorgeous – there’s a great scene set on (well, “in” actually) the river that’s absolutely guaranteed to make your heart beat faster along with Jess’s.
The author has created a wonderful cast of characters – all the villagers, Jess’s faithful friend Roo, her foul father Leo, long suffering stepmother Amber, schemer Lily – and the story is a real page-turner, full of twists, turns and surprises. It’s quite perfectly paced, and I really like Jo Lambert’s writing style – easy to read, flowing, perfect to escape into. And it really is quite a story – it took me in directions I never expected, and left me with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Jo describes her writing as “romantic drama driven fiction”, and that describes it quite perfectly.
I have to say my smile was even wider when I saw that there will be a sequel – Watercolours In The Rain – because I’d so like to spend more time with Jess, Talún, Rufus and the rest of these wonderful characters who became my friends. This was such a lovely, lovely read – write faster Jo!
My thanks to author Jo Lambert for providing my kindle copy of Summer Moved On for review.
Jo Lambert was born and brought up in rural Wiltshire in a small village on the edge of Salisbury Plain. She has spent most of her working life in Senior PA or Admin Management roles both in the private and public sectors. Her love of reading soon spilled over into writing and her first novel When Tomorrow Comes was published in 2009. Four other books – Love, Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me, Between Today and Yesterday and The Other Side of Morning followed. They formed a series following the lives and loves of four Somerset families. Summer Moved On, her sixth novel, is the first part of a two book love story set in South Devon.
Jo lives on the eastern side of the Georgian city of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a forty eight year old white MG Midget called Bridget. She loves travel, red wine, rock music and cooking for friends. Jo can be found on Twitter, has a Facebook author page, a website and a blog.