It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low, and to share my review: published by Boldwood Books on 3rd June, 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 invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Do you know, I do surprise (and annoy) myself sometimes. With over 20 novels to her name, I really couldn’t remember reading a book from Shari Low before. So I checked my reviews on Goodreads, and found I actually had – ten years ago, I read and really enjoyed Friday Night with the Girls, and given that I compared her writing to Milly Johnson I have absolutely no idea why I didn’t go on to read more. Maybe it was only because I lost my love for romcoms for a while – but that love has now most definitely returned (as you might just have noticed…!). I’ve seen so many lovely reviews for her books, especially since she became a Boldwood author – and I really felt it was beyond time that I tried another…
As the sun rises on a hot summer’s day, four lives are about to be changed forever…
Brand new from the bestselling author of What If?, What Now? and One Day In Summer.
Today, Maisie McTeer decides to track down the ex who jilted her at the altar. Today, she’ll find out that revisiting the past can also rewrite her future.
After losing her husband, Harriet Bassett can no longer bear her lonely life. Today, a familiar face in a crowd will spark a quest to discover if there’s something and someone worth living for.
Scott and Kelly Bassett’s daughter is leaving home. Today, Scott plans to tell Kelly that he’s ending their marriage to pursue his rock and roll dreams. However, Kelly, has a bombshell of her own. How will Scott react to the news that a new arrival is on the way to fill their empty nest?
Between sunrise and sunset, there’s love, heartbreak, laughter and tears, but who will find happiness at the end of the day?
I’m so pleased I chose to read this one. I loved the whole concept of this book when I first saw it – one day, sunrise to sunset – and the book was an absolute delight from its beginning to its perfect end.
The book’s introduction sets out the large cast of characters with a few key facts about them – I wondered if I should maybe take notes so I could keep track, or perhaps that I really needed to have read the last book (I understand we met Maisie and Hope in One Day in Summer). But no, there was absolutely nothing to worry about, this book is entirely standalone – the events of the earlier book are there in the background, but nothing that’s unexplained – and the characters leapt into life from the book’s pages as soon as I started to read, and the wonderful story began to unfold.
Maisie finds herself responsible for running the catering at a big charity event when her friend Sissy goes into labour – and might just be a bit more enthusiastic about it if it wasn’t being held at the same venue where Nathan jilted her at the altar. It’s a graduation event largely organised by Carny Bassett, about to leave home for the bright lights of London, leaving her parents behind in their empty nest. Her father Scott is finding the courage to drop the bombshell that he’s decided to walk away from the marriage and pursue his own dreams – mother Kelly is struggling with the impending loss of her daughter, but has secrets of her own and one big bit of news that she really needs to share. And then there’s Harriet – in her 80s, being discharged from the geriatric ward of the hospital to return to her empty and lonely life, taken to the event by nurse Yvie who spots the shared surname and hopes there might be a family connection.
I was right about the large cast of characters – the various partners, friends and family members – but every single one of them plays their own significant part in the story, and is quite perfectly drawn. I loved the fact that it was a multi-generational story too, with distinct characters and situations that every reader couldn’t fail to identify with – and there’s a strong focus on complex family relationships alongside friendships that entirely warm the heart. I’ll admit to having a particularly soft spot for Yvie – her relationship with her sister, her gentle caring and ever-present humour, the perfect part she has at the heart of the story and in one of its particularly dramatic moments.
The whole plot is busy – so many unexpected twists and turns, echoes of the past fleshing out the characters, encounters that bring changes in direction – but beautifully controlled, and the writing is quite superb, the threads of the story firmly held, satisfyingly tangled (and then knotted a few times to make sure), then slowly pulled apart with a few more delicious surprises along the way.
The comedy is quite perfectly judged, ranging from the most wonderful one-liners to more sustained laugh out loud moments, with supporting characters playing their part (Janice and Jane, from the catering company, their contact with the public limited for good reason, were fantastic!). But the ever present humour is more than balanced by the strength of the emotional content – Harriet’s story is particularly heartbreaking (and did make me cry), very real and so sensitively handled, and the angst in the relationship between Scott and Kelly really makes you ache inside. But Maisie’s story line is quite wonderful too – she remains clearly in sight throughout all the other unfolding storylines, having already won your heart, and her final big triumphal moment made me want to cheer out loud.
This really was a perfect summer read – I read it in one glorious sitting and loved every moment. It’s an engaging and compelling read, made me laugh and cry, left me with a fullness around the heart and a massive smile on my face – and I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I was by the storytelling and the way the different storylines were constructed, overlapped, and brought together. I now want to read everything Shari Low has ever written – another author most definitely now added to my list of favourites.
About the author
Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter and With Or Without You and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow and her first title for Boldwood was My One Month Marriage in January 2020.