It’s a real delight today to join the blog tour and share my review of the latest book from the wonderful Kim Nash: Sunshine and Second Chances was published for kindle on 4th June, and is available via Amazon in the UK and US (and free through Kindle Unlimited).
What can I tell you about Kim and her writing that I haven’t said before? You’ll already know how much I loved both of Kim’s earlier books – Amazing Grace (e-book just 99p at the moment!) and Escape to Giddywell Grange (you can read both my reviews here) – and I’m rather fond of the lady herself too. So when she asked if I could read her new one at short notice and fit in a review… well, I hesitated for all of a few seconds, dropped everything, and settled down in the garden for the afternoon. This book was just… let’s take a closer look, then I’ll tell you!
It’s never too late to be offered a second chance at life.
Debs is newly single, Fiona is caring for her mum, Samantha is grieving, and Liv has the perfect life – or so she’d like her friends to think…
This year, these four life-long friends are turning fifty, and Liv is determined they will honour their promise to each other – made on a beach at sunrise twenty-nine years before – to celebrate this milestone together.
And what better place than a gorgeous villa where they will be spoiled and enjoy the stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns and glorious climate of the Algarve?
But time away from home doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes it makes the thought of returning to your life too hard to bear. Especially with more than one gorgeous Portuguese man making hearts unexpectedly flutter…
It begins as a reunion in the sunshine, but little do the four friends know what life-changing decisions they’ll all be making before their flight home.
A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances.
This might not be the first time I’ve been taken with a group of friends on a holiday in the sun – and it’s something I always thoroughly enjoy, particularly when real-life holidays are such a distant memory. But there’s something really fresh and different about this book – the characters themselves, the really well drawn Portuguese setting, the lives the characters have lived (they’re all 50 or thereabouts) and the baggage they all bring with them, the quality and depth of the friendships, and a particularly perfect touch of romance. All that, and the lovely writing I’ve come to expect… this book was wonderful.
An ensemble piece like this is only as strong as the drawing of its characters, the empathy and believability – and the author entirely nails it. I particularly adored Debs – she’s so much more than the funny fat one, with her party girl front hiding her insecurities and hurt. Some of the detail is just lovely, and there was so much about her that I identified with – eating both the custard tarts in the packet, that feeling when you look in the mirror, not wanting to strip off by the pool, and the disbelief that anyone could find you remotely attractive (and her former partner – and the new model he moved on with – certainly didn’t help with that).
I didn’t find it too difficult to identify with Fiona either, struggling with the care of her mum’s dementia and her own loneliness, so very concerned about leaving her in care while she heads off on her jollies. Liv’s life may be less familiar, but her issues certainly won’t be to too many – a family entirely incapable of functioning without her presence (so very well drawn), a marriage slowly disintegrating. And then there’s Samantha – a real sadness, a long legacy of hurt, the truth unspoken and tearing her apart.
Slowly – and with lots of twists and turns along the way – the friends heal each other, sometimes with a notebook and “to do” list, sometimes just through one talking and another listening. As a portrait of female friendship and the empowerment it can bring, this book is just superb, and it really pierces the heart – these are all women with a strong core that just needs a little nurturing.
Am I making it sound a bit heavy? Oh no, it most certainly isn’t – it’s very funny too, and really joyous as the women recapture their earlier friendship and look forward to what might come next when the holiday is over. And I loved the blossoming romance – a touch of scepticism at first maybe, but it’s all so perfectly handled and really did my heart good. I also really enjoyed the side story about their “fixer” Mickey and his secret – beautifully done.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said “the perfect summer read” this year – but how could I possibly not say it about this gorgeous book? Just lie back in the sunshine, let the author whisk you away to the villa, enjoy the friendships, get immersed in the characters’ stories and urge each one of them along in turn. A thoroughly lovely read, and very much enjoyed…
About the author
Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, feel-good, romantic fiction.
She lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is Head of Publicity for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk.
Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.
When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!). Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.
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Amazing Grace was her debut novel with Hera Books and came out in April 2019; Escape to Giddywell Grange is Kim’s second novel and was published in September 2019; Sunshine and Second Chances is Kim’s third novel and was published on June 4th 2020.
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