Thursday 25 April 2024

Guest Review: Finding Hope in Starshine Cove by Debbie Johnson

Lucy Brown has spent years hiding from the world, as far away as she could get from her old life – and her ex-husband – back in London. But when she reluctantly agrees to leave her safe haven to attend her old friend Ella’s wedding in Starshine Cove, little does she know what’s in store for her down in Dorset…

When a chance airport encounter with a handsome stranger unexpectedly leads to a deeper connection, Lucy finds her trip becoming much more than just a last-minute holiday. But then her dark past comes knocking, just as she always feared it would. Will the magic of Starshine Cove be enough to heal the hurts that Lucy has carried with her all these years, or has this one-of-a-kind village by the sea finally met its match?

Review: This is the third book in a series from Debbie Johnson set in the magical and mysterious Dorset village of Starshine Cove, which is apparently difficult to find unless it wants you to do so. Once someone does find the village, its magic pulls them in and they never want to leave, but not in a creepy way. Each of the books can be read as a standalone, but reading them in order builds up a nice picture of the village and its growing number of inhabitants.

This story centres on single mother Lucy Brown, who now lives in Ireland with teenage daughter Rose, having left behind her life and marriage to a controlling and cheating husband in London. Lucy and Rose arrive in Starshine Cove for the wedding of one of Lucy’s oldest friends. They are both taken with the village and the people there right away. Lucy gets a shock when she encounters best man Josh, a man she has met once before in an airport lounge when there seemed to be an attraction between them. The wonderfully peaceful atmosphere of the village and growing relationship with Josh are disturbed for Lucy by an arrival who awakens in her feelings from the past. It remains to be seen whether this most magical of all villages can help Lucy conquer her fears and allow her to love and have hope for the future again.

I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone looking for a few hours of real escapism. The village of Starshine Cove has drawn me in yet again; if only it were real, but then it would be full to overflowing by now with people looking for a bit of magic in their lives. As I have come to expect as an avid reader of Debbie Johnson’s books, this one has quite a lot of humour mixed in with the drama of the story - altogether very enjoyable. A very real problem faced by all too many people trapped in a marriage by a coercive partner is dealt with sensitively by the author. I hope that there may be more tales from Starshine Cove to come. I am enjoying getting to know all the characters who reside there and finding out how newer arrivals from previous books are faring.

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