Thursday 16 April 2020

Guest Review: Family for Beginners by Sarah Morgan

Who says you can’t choose your family?

When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…
The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.
And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Review:It was with great anticipation that I sat down to read this new book from Sarah Morgan, one of the authors I never miss. I will always pick up her books and know that I’m in for a treat. This one is particularly attractive for me as it is set partly in the English Lake District, an area that I love and visit as often as I can. I could easily visualise the places she was writing about from the time I have spent in the area, as well as from her vivid descriptions. This book was a quick read for me as it had me spellbound from the word go and I found it difficult to put down until it was finished.

Although the latter part of the book is set in the Lake District, the story starts in New York, where florist Flora meets Jack, a widower with two daughters, Izzy and Molly. Although Flora and Jack are drawn to each other, the hope of forming any relationship is hampered by the attitude of teenager Izzy, who is feeling threatened by anyone taking her beloved mother Becca’s place. When the family travel to the Lake District for their usual summer holiday, Jack insists that Flora should accompany them. There, in addition to Izzy’s hostility, she has to deal with long-time family friends who are also wary of anyone trying to replace Becca. Then there is also a secret that is hinted at from the beginning of the story that seems to have the power to ruin everything. Can people-pleaser Flora overcome all these obstacles and fit into this family who she has so easily fallen in love with?

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a powerful story with utterly believable characters who many woman, and also single dads, will be able to identify with. I very much liked the way in which the story was set out, individual chapters focusing on one of the three main female characters: Flora; Izzy; and Becca’s childhood friend, Clare. I really felt for Flora, whose own childhood was lonely having been orphaned at an early age and then brought up in a household lacking in love. She is desperate to become part of this loving family, but the spectre of the seemingly perfect Becca is constantly there - in the family’s New York home and then also in the Lake District where her best friend lives. Add to that a teenager who is feeling vulnerable and questioning her place in the family and a secret that may destroy everything; Flora definitely needs to use all her strength to realise her ambition. I wasn’t sure if she had it in her, but was glad to see her becoming more determined to succeed as time went on. This is a book I would definitely recommend; not just a simple romance, it deals with all manner of trials that we face in day to day life and has something for everyone.

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

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