Last week, I welcomed Sue Moorcroft as my guest, just ahead of the publication of Summer on a Sunny Island, to tell us about her heroine Rosa and her book’s Malta location (you’ll find that post here): today it’s my absolute pleasure to share my review as part of the blog tour. Published on 30th April by Avon Books, it’s now available as an ebook, paperback and audiobook. If it’s the ebook you’re looking for, you’ll find it’s available for Kindle, Kobo or as an Apple i-book: but you might prefer a paperback (that’s a Waterstones link, because Amazon aren’t prioritising paperback sales just at the moment – but you might well spot it on your supermarket shelves too) or an audiobook. My thanks to Sanjida at Avon Books for the tour invitation, and for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Shall we take another look at that back cover? Oh, go on, let’s…
This summer, sparks are flying on the island of Malta…
When Rosa Hammond splits up from her partner Marcus, her Mum Dory suggests a summer in Malta. Not one to sit back and watch her daughter be unhappy, Dory introduces Rosa to Zach, in the hope that romance will bloom under the summer sun. But Rosa’s determined not to be swayed by a handsome man – she’s in Malta to work, after all.
Zach, meanwhile, is a magnet for trouble and is dealing with a fair few problems of his own. Neither Rosa or Zach are ready for love – but does fate have other ideas? And after a summer in paradise, will Rosa ever want to leave?
There are so many reasons that Sue Moorcroft is one of my favourite authors: I really like that slightly gritty contemporary edge she brings to romance writing, her characters invariably have particular strength and definition, and the locations she chooses are always so thoroughly researched and vividly drawn. The location in this book is particularly stunningly recreated – it might be 40 years since I last visited Malta (we spent our family holidays on Gozo, Malta’s little sister, many times in the 70s and 80s), but I really feel like I’ve had the privilege of returning there in the present day, noting the changes but remembering its beauty.
But don’t expect a light and fluffy holiday read, all sunshine and beaches and romance – although it is a really engaging love story, this book is very much set in the real world, and there are quite a few harder edges. There’s the world of “gangs”, young people finding themselves in danger when drawn into the wrong crowd, and that’s quite an edgy story – there’s the perils and consequences of on-line gambling too, and the impact of negative equity traps. And then there are the family dynamics – the main characters’ complex pasts, health problems, relationship issues, building bridges when it seems it might just be impossible.
I really, really liked that additional depth – it enhances rather than takes away from the central relationship story between Rosa and Zach, which is a lovely slow burn of a romance as they learn to accept each others’ faults and gradually pack away the baggage. I will admit that I didn’t entirely take to Rosa at first encounter – I found her a bit self-centred, a little spiky, but those edges soon rubbed off and I found myself totally invested in her hoped-for happy ending. Zach’s a really complex character too – he also has those rough edges at the start, but I really enjoyed the way his character developed.
A word for the older characters in this book too – and I think it must be “hooray”! Dory – the aunt with whom Rosa stays – is beautifully drawn, I enjoyed the focus on her recipes and cooking, her involvement with the world of publishing and showbiz, and particularly her own opportunities for finding personal happiness. Zach’s parents were excellent too – his intractable father, his mother endlessly frustrated by his idea of “care” – and I really liked the way their story unfolded.
Yes, I very much enjoyed this one – for the excellent writing and research (as always), for the complexities of its characters and story line, for its well-drawn setting, and for its credible and moving central romance. Another winner – and very much recommended.
About the author
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Sue’s novels of love and life are currently released by publishing giant HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by an array of publishers in other countries.
Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.
Born into an army family in Germany, Sue spent much of her childhood in Cyprus and Malta but settled in Northamptonshire at the age of ten. An avid reader, she also loves Formula 1, travel, time spent with friends, dance exercise and yoga.
For more information on Sue and her books, she has an excellent website: she also has a Facebook author page, and you can follow her on Twitter. And if you’d like sign up for her newsletter, you can do so here.