Thursday 21 March 2013

When I Fall in Love - Miranda Dickinson

Elsie Maynard never expected to be starting again...

...but eighteen months on from the biggest challenge of her life, she is doing just that –because she made a promise to the person who believed in her the most.

Determined to step into her uncertain future, Elsie meets handsome Oliver Hogarth, who seems intent on winning her heart; she inadvertently founds a choir, and overcomes obstacles – most of which involve arrogant Torin Stewart.

Then a heartfelt request brings her to Paris – and the final item on ‘The List’ that she never dared complete.

Review: I was so excited about Miranda Dickinson’s latest novel, having been lucky enough to receive a sneak-preview chapter from her in the post; I was desperate to read the rest! I so pleased to find that book number four from this lovely author delivered her usual mix of optimism, cake and of course romance, the perfect recipe! Although the cover might suggest a Christmasey or even a wintery novel, don’t be fooled, none of this book is set in December! When I fall in Love follows Elsie eighteen months on from the death of her husband and her dealings with her best friend Cher, a new choir project and two possible new love interests. Elsie is such a lovely character. She seems too innocent and open for someone who has lost their husband at such a young age… ‘I was loved by the most amazing guy in the world for eight wonderful years. Most people don’t get to enjoy that kind of love their whole lives. I count myself as one of the lucky few’. She has the typical optimism of one of Dickinson’s characters, and you find yourself willing her to open her heart and find love again, all the way through the book.

The story centres around Elsie’s dealings with a new choir she has started with a local, aging rocker. This was unchartered territory for me but I found it to be a really nice hook into the storyline, and it leads to the introduction of several new characters, each of whom add depth to the storyline and come with their own brand of love and sweetness. The addition of Elsie’s family is also really lovely because it makes the whole novel feel like a comfortable cosy night in surrounded by friends and family. The two male characters vying for Elsie’s attention are equally well-developed and seemingly couldn’t be more different from one another, and I think that this was vital for the structure of the storyline. ‘I want to make you feel cared for all the time…and I know were taking it slowly and you’ve had things you wanted to deal with, but I just want you to know that you only have to say the word and…I’ll be there’.

The setting of the novel was really well described, having never been to Brighton, I really felt like I got to know the town and was wandering through its streets with Elsie and the other characters, and of course, Paris was also as elaborately described, and given the level of romance befitting of Miranda Dickinson’s writing. Obviously the book deals in some part with death, and so I did shed a few tears, but there were also parts of the book that made me laugh, especially when Elsie and her sister take a trip to a Swedish furniture store in Croydon, ‘Croydon? Who goes to Croydon for anything?’ A lovely thing is that at the end of the book, the reader is given a bonus, a list of the messages that Elsie’s late husband left for her. I defy even the coldest of hearts not to be warmed by this list, and indeed the whole of the book for that matter. Even if you haven’t read any of Miranda Dickinson’s previous novels, you will be certain to enjoy this one, and most probably want to acquire her others as soon as you finish it. A truly lovely novel!

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