Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Guest Review: The Summerhouse by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

Nestled on the Spanish coast, bustling café Estrella features in every one of Ava Brown’s happiest memories. It’s where she tasted her first delectably-chocolatey churros, fell head-over-heels for her first crush – where she has been her happiest. So the chance to spend one last summer in her grandmother’s house, is one Ava can’t refuse.
Once the heart of the sleepy seaside village, the café now feels more ramshackle than rustic. It’s time to bring back the lethally strong sangria and mouth-wateringly delicious tapas – and before Ava knows it, she’s thrown herself into bringing the café back to life – a summer project her grandmother would be proud of!
But once summer is over, can Ava really say goodbye to Spanish seaside life? Or could this be the new beginning Ava didn’t realise she needed…
Review: I have not read any of Jenny Oliver's books thus far, but I was drawn to this one by its delightful cover promising summer, sea and sand, and, of course, by the synopsis. The story really got my attention from page one due a dramatic event, and I was hooked. 

The central female character in this story is Ava Brown. When her Spanish grandmother, Valentina, dies suddenly, Ava and her brother, Rory, return once again to the village where Valentina lived for the latter part of her life, and where they spent many happy summer holidays. In need of a break, Ava decides to spend one last summer in her grandmother's seaside house. However, she notices that neighbouring Cafe Estrella, once a lively and bustling establishment serving mouthwatering tapas, has become somewhat rundown, and sets out to help the owner, Flora, resurrect the business. She also makes some interesting discoveries about her late mother from things she finds in her grandmother's house, making her wonder if she knew her mother as well as she thought. Eventually, brother Rory, needing to escape the rat race and consider his future, joins Ava with his son, adding another dimension to the story. Of course, we all like the possibility of romance, and this is provided by the presence in the village of one time TV star Tom, a former heartthrob of Ava's. 

This is a really enjoyable story dealing with discoveries about the past and hopes for the future. It is so much more than a heartwarming summer read. I really enjoyed watching Ava's, and, even more so, Rory's story develop. In addition to the main characters, the pages of the book were filled with colourful local people who I could easily picture sitting in the cafe with their knitting or in front of their board games. The whole story had a real Mediterranean feel, not to mention flavour once the cooking began. I can heartily recommend it, especially to those who are thinking of additions to their holiday reading. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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