It’s a real pleasure today to join the blog tour and share my review of The Beach Reads Book Club by Kathryn Freeman: published by One More Chapter on 30th June, the fifth in her Romcom Collection, this book is now available for kindle and as an audiobook via Amazon in the UK and US. The paperback will be available on 16th September, available for preorder. Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Another book from one of my personal favourites – Kate gets better and better with every book she produces, and I still find her writing quite impossible to resist. Within this series, I’ve read, reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed Up Close and Personal (you’ll find that review here), Strictly Come Dating (review here) and Mr Right Across The Street (and you’ll find that review here). There are loads of other features here on Being Anne too – pop her name into the search bar, and you’ll find posts (reviews, cover reveals, spotlights and guest posts) for most of her books – yes, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a fan! Let’s take a closer look at her latest…
Welcome to the Beach Reads Book Club… where love is just a page away…
When Lottie Watt is unceremoniously booted out of her uptight book club for not following the rules, she decides to throw the rulebook out the window and start her own club – one where conversation, gin and cake take precedent over actually having read the book!
The Beach Reads Book Club soon finds a home for its meetings at Books by the Bay, a charming bookshop and café owned by gorgeous, brooding Matthew Steele, and as the book club picks heat up, so too does the attraction between Matt and Lottie.
If there’s anything Lottie has learned from the romances she’s been reading, it’s that the greatest loves are the ones hardest earned.
A book club really is meant to be fun – and the one Lottie’s part of at the library feels more like being at school, as she returns another book she hasn’t been able to read to her local bookshop. So she makes the decision to start her own – a less stuffy one, reading the kind of books she enjoys – and the bookshop cafe looks like the perfect place to hold it. This really is my kind of book club – Audrey’s heavy hand with pouring the gin, plenty of cake, just enough book talk about the kind of books I enjoy, and then lots more conversation about the important things going on in the various lives of a group of very different individuals who become close friends.
Matthew (“call me Matt”), the new bookshop owner, isn’t too comfortable about the whole idea of “fun” – he’s very uptight at first in his business-like suit and tie, buttoned up in every way, finding it difficult to relax after leaving his corporate life for a fresh start, struggling at home with the relationship with his grieving father and difficult sister while trying to come to terms with his own guilt about some of his past actions. But Lottie’s bubbly personality is impossible to resist, and the attraction between them starts to warm up very nicely – until an old flame turns up and stops everything in its tracks.
I have to say that I absolutely adored this book – and that’s certainly not the first time I’ve said that about a book from this wonderful author. The characters are just excellent – not just Lottie and Matt, but every single individual who’s part of the unfolding story. Audrey (the one with the gin) is quite superb – a rather lonely elderly lady that Lottie comes across when she visits to fix her electrics, she becomes very much the life and soul of the
party book club, and I just loved her absence of any filter. But every single individual is particularly real and well-drawn, and has their own great story – and there’s also a baby (in time) added to the chaotic mix, and Lottie’s adorable dog who suffers from separation anxiety and sometimes has unfortunate accidents between the book stacks.
The way the story was structured around the books they read was particularly cleverly done, the chosen books always tied in to the unfolding story, almost all of them familiar to anyone who reads the books I always enjoy (and those I was less familiar with have been added my reading list!). And I entirely loved the developing romance – they’re both just such thoroughly lovely people, totally winning your heart through their shared thoughts and hopes and dreams, all the small acts of kindness – and I really enjoyed the initial thrust and parry of their exchanges as things slowly start to heat up rather nicely, with the perfect amount of added steam. And although the book is always essentially a fun read, filled with well-judged humour, there’s real emotional depth too – everything is just so wonderfully well balanced, always entertaining but at times surprisingly and satisfyingly touching.
There’s an immense warmth to the whole book that really does your heart good – I loved every moment, and couldn’t recommend it more highly.
About the author
A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.
I’ve two sons and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.