Wednesday 7 September 2016

Guest Review: Letters From Lighthouse Cottage by Ali McNamara

The sun is shining in the quiet little seaside town of Sandybridge
Sandybridge is the perfect English seaside town: home to gift shops, tea rooms and a fabulous fish and chip shop. And it's home to Grace - although right now, she's not too happy about it.
Grace grew up in Sandybridge, helping her parents sort junk from vintage treasures, but she always longed to escape to a bigger world. And she made it, travelling the world for her job, falling in love and starting a family. So why is she back in the tiny seaside town she'd long left behind, hanging out with Charlie, the boy who became her best friend when they were teenagers?
It turns out that travelling the world may not have been exactly what Grace needed to do. Perhaps everything she wanted has always been at home - after all, they do say that's where the heart is...

Review: I was delighted to see a new title from Ali McNamara on the shelves when I was out shopping. I had no idea that this was in the pipeline. I immediately bought the book and couldn't wait to get the opportunity to open its pages. 

It is a really charming story centred around three school friends and following the ups and downs of their lives over a period of thirty years. The story starts off with them all living in the little seaside town of Sandybridge. Grace lives there with her parents, helping them when she can with their antiques business. Danny is one of the sporty, cool set at school; although he is quite unlike Grace, she has developed a bit of a crush on him. Charlie is a newcomer to the town, where his parents have moved to take over one of the tea rooms. Part of Grace's parents' business involves them doing house clearances, and it is when she goes along with her mum to clear Lighthouse Cottage, once inhabited by the keeper of the town's now defunct lighthouse, that she discovers the source of the letters mentioned in the title of this book that will give her guidance over the years.

I found this story quite captivating. It is quite a saga of the happenings in the lives of these three very likeable young people as they follow their different paths, parting and coming together again at various points over the thirty years. The town of Sandybridge, and, in particular, the Manor House there, Sandybridge Hall, seem to call them back from wherever their activities take them.

Once started, I found it difficult to put the book down. I am sure that most people would enjoy it just as much as I have. It was so cleverly written that I was not at all sure how it would all end. I like that in a book - much better than knowing from the first few pages who would end up with whom. I would also like to mention the book's cover. It is a really attractive representation of a seaside town that could have you imagining yourself sitting on the stripy deckchair depicted on the beach, perhaps reading this very book!

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