Delighted to be joining the blog tour today and sharing my review of a book I just couldn’t resist – The Summer of Going Topless by Liz Davies, published for kindle today (22nd August) by Lilac Tree Books, also in paperback, and available from Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for the advance reading e-copy.
Candice Summerville is invisible. No one seems to notice her – not really. Heck, she often doesn’t notice herself, except for her monthly scrutiny in the mirror to check on her body’s steady slide towards middle age.
But when her ancient, practical estate car is consigned to the scrap heap, Candice falls in love with a cute, purple convertible, and from that moment on her life begins to take on a whole new meaning. Strangers wave at her and people stop to talk, and suddenly she isn’t invisible any longer.
Life seems to be looking up, especially when she meets silver fox and handy-man, Paul. There’s just one fly in the ointment, one thing she that has her second-guessing herself.
Is it the car that Paul sees – or is it her?
And I enjoyed this one as very much as I thought I would – and I’ll delay my search for a sporty Mazda of my own to tell you a little more. This is such a well-told story, about a woman approaching 50 who realises life is passing her by and that she’s become invisible.
After years of having her life controlled by her cheating husband, who “had his head turned by a bit of fluff and had thrown Candice aside like a soiled tissue” (isn’t that quote just wonderful?), she’s rather struggling with her single life. I was particularly struck by the interminable weekends, left to her own devices – even volunteering to do the flowers at the local church, just to fill her time. Work might not be entirely her happy place either, but at least she sees people – and her interactions with her co-workers are so well done. Of course, there’s always her adult son – I really didn’t take to him, rather too much like his obnoxious father, but when your children have problems I guess you have to try and help, don’t you?
Acquiring the sporty little car, of course, is just the catalyst for Candice’s transformation. Then there are the yoga classes (to get a bit more supple, and lose some bumps and bulges), the new wardrobe and the flattering pixie cut, the possibility of finding a partner – goodness, even thoughts of a tattoo. There’s a really lovely friendship – then a developing relationship – with “silver fox” Paul, and the joy of being part of a couple again, with days out at the seaside reliving her youth. And then she might just find the backbone to tell her obnoxious ex-husband (how dare he!) what she really thinks of him…
This book was very funny, but also wonderfully touching – and when Candice really hits her stride, it’s both uplifting and triumphant. I really liked her, and found many of her thoughts and experiences easy to identify with. There’s a really strong sense of place – Worcester, the Malverns, Weston. And I liked the way the book tackled family issues too. There were just two small things that jarred a little – I really didn’t like the nickname for her car (sorry!), and there was one slightly slapstick scene involving the aftermath of lentil soup for lunch that seemed a tad out of place (but happy to admit that maybe that was just me…).
She had lost herself in the marriage, and she had found herself again now. It might have taken her a long time to get there, but she had finally become the person she was meant to be.
And isn’t that perfect? A really lovely read, and recommended by me. So, if I can’t find the sports car, I think I might just go looking for a yoga class instead…
About the author
Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.
She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.
She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.