It’s such a pleasure today to be helping launch the blog tour for Moonlight Over Studland Bay by Della Galton, and to share my publication day review: published by Boldwood Books, it’s now available for Kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited), in paperback and as an audiobook. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
I’ll admit that I tried to book my place on this tour as soon as I saw the publication date – I so enjoyed Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff that I just couldn’t wait for the next book. You’ll find my review of that one here: it was a book that got everything absolutely right for me, a light but wonderfully heartwarming read. It was so thoroughly gorgeous, I wondered if she could do it again… and yes, I really think she has…
‘Utterly uplifting, pure escapism’ – Trisha Ashley, bestselling author
Animal loving Samantha Jones is on a mission to ‘live the dream’.
When best friend Abby has a beautiful baby boy Sam’s priorities change and she realises she wants more from her life .
Uninspired with her dull day job Sam plans to expand Purbeck Pooches, her seaside pet sitting business into a full-time career and embarks on a mission to find her perfect man.
Sam soon hits trouble. Her boss accuses her of moonlighting. The perfect man is frustratingly elusive and her parents make a shock revelation.
The odds are stacking up against her but Sam finds that sometimes when you reach for the moon, you get a handful of glittering stars thrown in for free.
The publishers have called this book “a heartwarming read of family, friendship and growing up”, and they really have pitched it absolutely right. There’s a romance too – a really lovely unexpected one, fraught with obstacles and misunderstandings – but perhaps the real joy of this book is Sam deciding on the life she wants, the future that will make her happy, and everything she needs to do to make it happen.
To start with, the focus is very much on friendship – Abby, who’s life really is rather messy, is living with Sam when she becomes a mother. There’s a lovely closeness about their friendship – but to be honest, I think she’d have driven me insane, loud and brash and pushy, everything Sam really isn’t. She also constantly calls Sam “girlfriend”, which began to become a real irritation – but she does mellow considerably when baby Jack comes along. And Jack’s presence makes Sam think about what she really wants – she’s really not looking for love, but she does find herself getting a bit broody, and dips her toe into online dating with Abby’s “help” just to explore the possibility a little.
But the dream that really drives her is making her business, Purbeck Pooches – dog walking, a bit of boarding not just for dogs but for animals of all sorts – into enough of a money-earner to allow her to leave her day job as an audio typist to a team of structural engineers. The workplace scenes are really well done, with the most wonderful cameo characters like Hypochondriac Heather, Mumbling Mike (the curse of audio typists everywhere), Lightning Jake, Magpie James and buttoned-up boss Rex, while Sam struggles to keep some separation between her work life and the business she’s trying to build. Things start to come together when some money unexpectedly comes her way – amid some family developments that cause more than a little angst – and one of her less-than-successful dates comes up with an idea for her business that becomes a bit of a game-changer.
If you read the author’s last book, you’ll remember the enigmatic (and distinctly unhinged) Mr B, chef at the Bluebell Cliff Hotel – but if you didn’t, you’ll love meeting him for the first time as he arranges some babysitting for his kunekune pigs (do Google them – they’re so cute!), a new venture that brings drama just at the point when Sam’s dreams are starting to come together but other things in her life are falling apart. (It was really lovely to see Cara and three-legged dog Foxy again too – and to spend just a little time at the hotel again).
The whole story has a lovely lightness of touch, really uplifting, extremely funny at times, very touching and emotional at others – and it’s beautifully told. There’s conflict at times, enough to drive the story, gently done and always with a bit of a smile, and the story never really loses its overall warmth and feel-good. And there’s an exceptional sense of place, which I always enjoy – Dorset, the Isle of Purbeck and Studland bay were already on my bucket list after the author’s first book, and have now been inked in even more firmly.
I really like Della Galton’s writing – this book was everything I wanted it to be, and I’d really recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read to escape from the realities of life for a while. Highly recommended by me.
About the author
Della Galton is the author of 15 books, including Ice and a Slice. She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine. She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.