Thursday, 11 May 2017

Book Review - The Summerhouse by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

Amazon UK
Title:  The Summerhouse by the Sea
Author: Jenny Oliver
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 18th May 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Every Summer has its own story…

For Ava Fisher, the backdrop to all her sun-drenched memories – from her first taste of chocolate-dipped churros to her very first kiss – is her grandmother’s Summerhouse in the sleepy Spanish seaside town of Mariposa.

Returning for one last summer, Ava throws herself into a project her grandmother would be proud of. Café Estrella - once the heart of the sleepy seaside village - now feels more ramshackle than rustic. Just like Ava, it seems it has lost its sparkle.

Away from the exhausting juggle of London life, Ava realises somehow her life has stopped being…happy. But being back at the Summerhouse by the sea could be the new beginning she didn’t even realise she needed…

Spanish summery fun, full of sand, sea, a summerhouse and a whole lot of sensational sounding Spanish sustenance, set in the stunning Mariposa. 

With  a rather dramatic start to the story, I really wasn't sure what to expect, but it served as a wake up call for Ava, who after attending her grandmothers funeral in Mariposa, decides her life needs a new direction and a summer in Spain sorting out the summerhouse and finding herself is in order. 

It's slightly further in when Rory, Ava's brother, receives his own wake up call, and its one which initially had me laughing my head off for! Rory's storyline though touches on twitter shaming though, and also on digital detoxing which is a lot easier said than done. 

In some respects it was Rory's story I was more interested in, seeing how he changes as a person. To start with he is a rather set in his ways sort of person and seeing his exchanges with his family he is rather hard to like. When he has no real choice but to follow Ava to Spain for the summer, with son Max, you slowly see a whole other side of him emerge. 

I loved Max, he is 10 years old, and is as that great age between child and teen, where he is wanting to look cool in front of new friends, has some interest in girls, but also still has some childlike qualities. 

Ava and Rory used to spend their summers in Mariposa and are shocked at the change in fortunes of the Cafe Estrella, and seem to be determined to make it shine brightly again like its name. Seeing the Cafe slowly come back to life was great to see, and it was some of the most initially unlikely people that set it into motion properly. 

There is just so much to love in this book, Ava and Rory's complicated relationship with their mother, the summerhouse itself and the secrets its hiding, Cafe Estrella and all the patrons of it, Tom the local vineyard owner, and some gorgeous tasty descriptions of the food.  This is a book for all the senses, and I would love to spend a summer in Mariposa for myself. 

Thank you so much to HQ and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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