Review – Summer At The Lake by Erica James

By | March 25, 2014

It was a wedding invitation that changed everything for Floriana…if she hadn’t been so distracted at the thought of having to witness the one true love of her life get married, she would have seen the car coming.

If she’d seen the car coming, there would have been no need for elderly spinster Esme Silcox and local property developer Adam Strong to rush to her aid.

And if Floriana hadn’t met Adam and Esme she would never have had the courage to agree to attend Seb’s wedding in beautiful Lake Como.

For Esme, Lake Como awakens memories of when she stayed at the lake as a nineteen-year-old girl and fell in love for the first time. So often she’s wondered what happened to the man who stole her heart all those years ago, a man who changed the course of her life.

Now it’s time for both Esme and Floriana to face the past – and the future – on the shores of this most romantic and enchanting of lakes.

I’ve enjoyed Erica James’ books for many years now and, like most readers, I have my favourites. Hidden Talents was one, a wonderful book following the stories of the characters who come together at a creative writers’ group.  Precious Time was another, Clara and Ned’s journey to the Peak District in a camper van where their lives become entangled with a range of wonderful characters.  But this new one is equally wonderful – I’ve never been to the Italian Lakes (it’s on my bucket list) but I feel like I have after immersing myself in this lovely book, and, having set it aside with a satisfied sigh, I really missed the characters I’d grown to care about so much.  This is a quite perfect book for anyone who loves to escape into the pages of the book they’re reading – it transports you wonderfully, first to Oxford, then to the shores of Lake Como, and entangles you wonderfully in the lives of the characters in their past and present.

I was immediately engaged by Floriana, working as a rather quirky tour guide in Oxford, her childhood friend Seb about to be married to another, their friendship badly broken.  Enter the two other main characters.  Esme is now an old lady, living alone with her cat, remembering her teenage travels to Lake Como with her father and the pain of first love.  Adam is a property developer, nursing his own broken heart, who finds unexpected friendship with Floriana and Esme.  The story moves to Lake Como – so that Floriana can attend Seb’s wedding, and Esme relive her youth – and the story unfolds quite enchantingly.

This is a tale that moves quite seamlessly between past and present – we ache with the pain of Esme’s first love as we watch the modern story play itself out.  Lake Como becomes a fourth main character, enticingly and beautifully drawn, and it really is the perfect backdrop for the lovely story which sweeps you up as you read until you reluctantly return to the real world at the end.  Don’t miss this one – Erica James really does get better and better.  

My thanks to netgalley and publishers Orion for my advance reading e-copy.  Summer at the Lake was published in hardcover and Kindle editions on 27 February 2014, and the paperback will follow on 5 June. 

With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. The author of many bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and the recent Sunday Times bestseller, The Hidden Cottage, Erica divides her time between Cheshire and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.  For more information on Erica and her books, see her website: she is also on Twitter and has a Facebook page.

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