Sunday, 19 March 2017

Book Review & Summary

The House of New Beginnings, by Lucy Diamond

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I love reading. But being someone who finds it hard to make a decision, the thought of having to choose my next book daunts me. How can I possibly be expected to pick one book, out of the thousands that the book shop has on sale, to devote my reading time to? What if I don't like it - then it'll have been a waste of time and money. What if I don't understand it - then it'll have been a waste of time and money. What if it's boring? What if takes me out of my comfort zone and I don't enjoy it? What if it forces me to read about things I'd rather remain blissfully unaware of? What if I don't like the characters? What if, what if, what if?
The great thing about Lucy Diamond though is that I don't even need to read what the book is about because I know from experience I'll love it (read one of my other reviews here). So can you imagine my joy when I saw her shiny new novel, The House of New Beginnings, in WH Smith at Heathrow, just as I was about to board an 11 hour flight to San Francisco?

That little baby went straight into my basket (well there were no baskets and I actually had to balance the book on top of the three ton of chocolate, sweets and biscuits I was buying - don't judge, 11 hours is a long time!)

Before we had even taken off I was nose in book, meeting the characters who would be my imaginary friends for the next 11 hours or so.

I didn't manage to read the whole book in one sitting as my need for sleep always wins, even if the other option is to read!

So, The House of New Beginnings - what's it all about then?

Based in Brighton, the story is about three women - Rosa, Georgie and Charlotte - who all live in flats in the same converted Victorian house. Each woman is going through a tough time, although Georgie has it slightly easier than the other two if you ask me; Rosa is coming to terms with the breakdown of her relationship with Max (and I'm not just talking your regular break-up; this one is a break-up with a twist), Charlotte is grieving the loss of her baby girl the year before, and Georgie has followed long-term pratt, sorry I mean boyfriend Simon down to Brighton from the Yorkshire Dales for his work.

In typical chick-lit style the three girls forge the sort of friendship that you sometimes think only exists within the pages of a book. They confide in one another, they help each other out, they come to rely on each other.

Each girl went to Brighton with hopes of starting again, of starting afresh; Rosa and Charlotte in particular. We journey with the girls as, independently and with help of each other, they begin to enjoy life, they find their place in the world and day-by-day they learn to not only accept their respective pasts but also learn to live with the past without letting it affect their present and their futures.

It wouldn't be a chick-lit without at least one love interest, and Diamond doesn't disappoint. We are treated to three new relationships and one friendship (aside from the friendship the girls forge), one of which was totally obvious, one of which you totally knew would happen but which took aaaaaages to actually happen, and the third one which completely took me by surprise, but in a rrrrrreally nice way - the sort of way that makes you smile all goofily at the book because you're so happy for the couple.

It wouldn’t be a chick-lit without some sort of upset happening and rather surprisingly for a chick-lit these three girls have a death to deal with. It's a poignant death and written well and the book wouldn't be half as good without it.

I tend to turn to chick-lits as an escape from some of the more intense books I read, for a bit of light relief because I know that, generally speaking the plot goes something like this:

Girl meets boy
They get together
They have a row
By the end of the book they've made up and everything is fine

It’s a template that works well for this sort of genre but I can’t handle too many of these books one after the other as I’d go a bit stir-crazy with the predictable nature of the books and I’d likely find myself raising my eyebrows more than once and probably end up getting a bit annoyed with how everything always seems to work out “just-so”.

But having said that, I loved this book and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants something easy-going which will leave you with a stupid smile on your face because in the end, everything's OK.

If you’re after something that will challenge you and your imagination, something that will give you a sense of suspense and anticipation then I’d avoid this book for sure.

Have you read this book, or any other of Diamond's books? What did you think? Let me know in the comment section; I'd love to hear from you.


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