Summertime and the livin' is easy ... and so is the reading ! There's something about the summer holidays and lazing on a sunlounger, whether it's by a poolside on an exotic holiday or just in the back garden, that always makes me want to put aside my usual dark thrillers and chilling crime fiction and turn to some feel-good, light-hearted chicklit. Paige Toon never fails to deliver in this department so I happily plucked her latest novel, The Sun In Her Eyes, off my shelf and headed to the deck chair !
The title may evoke carefree summer holidays but it actually hides something much darker - the cause of a car accident that left three-year-old Amber motherless. She had a tough time growing up in her native Australia but has now found a new life in England with her husband Ned. Her happy humdrum life is about be blown apart though, by a phone call telling her that her dad has had a stroke. Heading back to Australia to help out, she catches up with her childhood friends, including the first love of her life (and the one that got away), Ethan. With Ned so far away, will it be out of sight out of mind or will she realise that making fantasies into reality is a dangerous thing to do?
There are poignant episodes as well as a lot of laugh-out-loud moments and Amber is a perfectly imperfect character. As a reader, you may not condone all of her actions but you can really empathise with her and understand her sense of being totally torn, not just between two men but also two different lives, the one she once had back in Australia and the one she now has in England. Threaded through the romance is a darker vein of childhood memories that haunt Amber's dreams and an old lady who suddenly gets in touch to say that she was at the scene of the accident all those years ago and wants to pass on Amber's mother's last words.
It's an enjoyable read that offers will-she-won't-she? tension, heartache and a happy ending, as well as a glimpse of Australia that is perfect if you're stuck at home while your friends are jetting off on holidays abroad ! It's a real coming-of-age novel and watching Amber learning to put demons to rest so that she can find happiness and inner peace is both heartwarming and cathartic. It's the perfect poolside read.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £7.99
Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to share my honest review.