Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Book Review - My Summer of Magic Moments by Caroline Roberts


This is the latest book-shaped gem from one of my favourite authors, Caroline Roberts, and I think it's her best novel to date. To find out more, why not grab a cuppa, pull up a chair and read on... 


Claire is ready for a bright new chapter. Winding her way to the coast for a cosy cottage retreat, she prays that three weeks of blissful peace and summer sunshine will wash away the pain of the last year. 

Claire's a survivor - she's growing proud of the scars that prove it - and she's determined to make the most of each and every day, to seize those magic moments that give life its sparkle.

Her plan for peaceful solitude goes awry when handsome, brooding Ed turns up in the cottage next door. Will a little summer romance prove the worst distraction? Or might it be the perfect remedy? 


I'm a huge fan of Caroline Roberts and, in my opinion, this fab author has delivered a beautiful and well-crafted novel in the form of My Summer of Magic Moments. But, before I go any further, I should warn you that the book is totally addictive -  I was barely three pages in before I was totally hooked. I'd find any excuse to sneak onto my Kindle for a quick fix (read a wonderful novel or get stuck into home renovations? To me it was a no-brainer - the house could wait!).

This is Caroline's fourth novel and is a beautifully-balanced mix of everything that makes for an absorbing read. I can guarantee that when you dip into this you'll experience the full gamut of emotions, ranging from happiness to sympathy, from sadness to laughter (the Pretty Muddy scenes spring to mind!), then onto tears (oh the tears; gulp, sob, sniff!), threaded with  concern and interspersed with a generous splash of joy. This book has them all!


The - very likeable - female protagonist is journalist Claire Maxwell from Newcastle. She's endured a year having the worst type of challenges thrown at her: breast cancer, closely followed by divorce. Still numb from both, Claire decides she needs to get away from it all, to regroup and unwind. She chooses a 'ramshackle' holiday cottage in Bamburgh - an area she used to visit as a child, and has fond memories of. There she meets the brooding-but-gorgeous, skinny-dipping Ed - yes, you read right, and the author treats us to a rather tantalising description! Anyway, I digress! Ed's down from Edinburgh for the weekend and is staying at his bolt-hole next door. Claire's first impressions of him aren't all that good but, unbeknown to her, he's wrestling with some pretty horrendous demons and working through a healing process of his own. Despite this, the pair are both caught off-guard by the undeniable spark between them, to which they briefly, but passionately, succumb. However, as we all know, circumstances have a nasty habit of getting in the way, and their budding romance seems doomed before it's even got off the ground...

And, as I really don't like spoilers, that's all I'm going to give away! So if you want to find out what happens, I'm afraid you'll have to buy the book but, suffice to say, it's definitely more than worth it!


Goodness, where to start? Well, it's beautifully and sensitively written, the setting is stunning, meticulous attention to research is evident, the characters are likeable (apart from Claire's ex who's a s**t!) and relatable, and the story flows seamlessly and effortlessly.

For me, a stand-out feature of the book is Caroline's vivid descriptions and exquisite attention to detail, whether describing emotions, people or places. The scenes of Bamburgh beach are so evocative and are particular favourites of mine (Bamburgh is a place much loved by the Scott family and definitely worth a visit), and if you close your eyes you can almost hear the waves crashing against the shore, the gulls calling up above and smell the salty sea air. Delicious! The only thing missing is a ninety-nine ice-cream!

A rather nice aspect of the book is that each chapter features a 'Magic Moment'  - from the smell of freshly baked bread to laughing in the rain - which links to Claire's new weekly column at the Herald back in Newcastle, which focuses on her readers' own 'Magic Moments'.

My Summer of Magic Moments is my favourite of Caroline's novels. I feel it showcases her wonderful writing skills and sits her firmly alongside well-established authors in a similar vein, such as Freya North. It also just happens to be my favourite book of the year so far.


Compelling, heartwarming & sublime!


TWITTER:  @_caroroberts

PUBLISHER:  Harper Impulse

What are your magic moments?

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