Sunday, 27 August 2017

Last Seen by Lucy Clarke - A Gripping, Unputdownable Thriller - A Perfect Bank Holiday Read

Last Seen is the latest unputdownable thriller by Lucy Clarke. It takes place amongst the summer community of Langstone Sandbank on England's south coast, but it could be any similar beach community where a tragedy tests the lifelong friendship of two women to the limit.
Seven years ago, best friends, Jacob and Marley, swim out to the yellow buoy and get into difficulties, but only Jacob is rescued. Marley's body is never found.
Marley's mother, Isla, turns to her best friend, Sarah and her husband, Nick, who spend the summer months at the beach hut next door, for support and comfort as they all come to terms with Marley's death.
But the title of the novel gives a clue to the conflict arising: Who was the last person to see Marley alive?  What were the circumstances of his death? Who was responsible?
This is a gripping novel, told in turns from Sarah's and Isla's point of view over the seven years since the incident, and gradually, coming together until the dramatic truth is revealed in the final chapters.
Lucy Clarke, as always, takes you right onto the beach. You can taste the salt; feel the sand between your toes; and squint into the sun reflected off the sea as you search with Sarah and Isla for their sons.
It is a moving story of summers spent on the beach and the secrets the sea keeps in its depths.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara - Romance, Magic and Fun

This is the second book by Ali McNamara that I've read this summer, and I loved it just as much as the first.
The Summer of Serendipity has it all: romance, magic and fun!
Serendipity Parker (Ren to her friends) and her crazy friend, Kiki, who's always getting her words mixed up, travel to the west coast of Ireland to find a property for a client. They stay at the Stag Hotel and meet the gorgeous manager, Finn. Later, a local man called Jackie rows them across the lake and points out The Welcome House.
When Ren goes to see it to find the owner and ask if they're willing to sell, she finds the front door unlocked, and wanders in. It's perfect!
In her mission to discover who the owner is and secure the house for her client, aided by Kiki, she meets many fabulous Irish characters and animals who help her in her quest, including Fergus, Finn's dog. But nobody seems to know who the owner is.
It's a brilliant story, which not only reveals the secrets of The Welcome House, but also reveals the personal secrets that Ren, and Finn, have been hiding from each other, and whether their holiday romance will be for keeps.
The whole thing is all wrapped up in magic, and is another fantastic summer read, and again, like Ali McNamara's The Little Flower Shop by the Sea (my review is here), it is a little like Enid Blyton for grown-ups. I don't know how she does it, but it really works - like magic!

In the story, Ren has some Guinness (of course!) and Kiki tries some Club Orange. I was in Dublin recently, and couldn't resist taking these photos. Two great Irish drinks!