Ok, I know it’s beginning to look as if the blog should be changing its name to Being Jessica – but I’m enjoying her books so much, I really had to be part of this latest tour too! This time, it’s Searching for Steven – the first full length book in Jessica Redland’s three book series, Welcome to Whitsborough Bay, first published in December 2016. And I’m sure you might have already guessed – I loved this one too!
What if you already know your future… but not the path to take you there?
When Sarah Peterson accepts her Auntie Kay’s unexpected offer to take over her florist’s shop, she’s prepared for a change of job, home and lifestyle. What she isn’t prepared for is the discovery of a scarily accurate clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All her predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven.
Suddenly Stevens are everywhere. Could it be the window cleaner, the rep, the manager of the coffee shop, or any of the men she’s met online? On top of that, she finds herself quite attracted to a handsome web designer, but his name isn’t even Steven…
During this unusual search, will Sarah find her destiny?
As a rather older reader, Sarah’s search for “the one” could well not have been my cup of tea at all – but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The clairvoyant’s prediction is an inspired idea for a story with a really difference, and I loved every twist and turn. The female friendships in this book are just magical, and I particularly enjoyed the sparring between Elise and Clare, and their obvious love for their friend, offering advice and support as she struggles to reconcile the prediction with the happy ever after that she really deserves.
The author really is just superb at creating characters – I so felt for Sarah at her treatment by the awful Jason (and through all her trials in the unfolding story), really enjoyed her relationship with her aunt, and thoroughly loved reading about her every internet dating experience. She creates sympathetic and real female characters, but her men are just perfect too (even if sometimes just perfectly awful), and the various Stevens who cross her path as she continues her search are all so wonderfully drawn. The whole story really captured my heart – I guess we all have that fear of ending up like poor Uncle Alan, and I was rooting for Sarah throughout, just hoping she could find what she was really looking for and not lose sight of her happy ending.
I loved the setting too – Whitsborough Bay itself, but particularly the florist’s shop, every customer who approaches the counter, the conversations in the Outback, every sale achieved (particularly with Clare’s help) on the way to building a successful business. The writing itself is as accomplished as ever, even though it was the author’s first book – beautiful tender moments, times of real sadness, plenty of laughs, misunderstandings put right, and the whole infused with a warmth that can’t fail to bring a wide smile to your face as you read. Just wonderful… now, when can I fit in the reading of her other books?
About the author
Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!
She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs! Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing.