Book Reviews: Lucy Dillon, Holly Martin and Jane Stoller.

 

All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon, ISBN 9781444796049, Published on 1st December 2016

Patrick and Caitlin have decided to separate. Or rather, Patrick has instigated the separation, and Caitlin now finds herself in charge of providing the normality to their two children Joel and Nancy. Yet, by trying so hard to pretend that everything is okay and that Daddy is merely working away during the week, Joel and Nancy have both picked up on the underlying tension and are forming their own conclusions as to why their Mum and Dad are so unhappy.

Nancy, nearly five years old, goes from a content and chatty little girl, to a withdrawn child who will not speak. Joel becomes her voice and it takes both Patrick and Caitlin a little time to see that their wonderful daughter has created her own shell and buried herself firmly inside it.

Eva is Patrick’s sister who is having to contend with problems of her own. Having lost her beloved husband Michael two years ago, she is still struggling to come to terms with a husband who almost everyone knew from his fame. Then, old wounds are re-opened as Michael’s lawyer informs Eva that Michael kept very detailed diaries throughout his career and made a last wish to have them published after his death. Considering that Eva never partook in the spotlight when he was alive, the mere thought of airing their laundry for all to see sickens her. Then her brother calls her from out of the blue to ask Eva if she will play hostess at weekends so he can see his children. Eva feels as if she is being stripped of all of her boundaries and is helpless.

But through this new arrangement,  Eva, Patrick and Caitlin are forced to face up to the truths of a life that they themselves have each created and as they all confront reality, they soon realise that life isn’t always what you imagine it to be or would even like it to be, but regardless of its path we should be thankful for what we do have. It just so happens that sometimes you have to face the bad times to appreciate the good.

All I Ever Wanted is an absolutely stunning book, so much so that I cannot fault it! This has to be amongst one of the best books I’ve read this year.

I fell in love with every character in the book, even Eva’s dogs Bumble and Bee, and was regularly moved to tears throughout the often harrowing events that took place as Patrick and Caitlin’s relationship soured. Every aspect is so carefully dealt with, from Eva’s growing resentment at being left childless, alongside Caitlin’s bewilderment at what her life has become to Patrick’s need to retain control over his circumstances. Then there’s Nancy, the star of the book. My heart ached for this beautiful little girl as she slowly become unable to tell people how she was feeling watching her parent’s relationship fall apart.

Warm and with an instantly likeable bunch of characters, this is how books should be written and it was a delight to be able to review it.

 

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin, ISBN 9781785762703, Out now to buy.

Yep, it’s that time of year again, when all the Christmas books do the rounds, meaning you just have to read one or two at least! Christmas at Lilac Cottage concentrates on a winter romance as Penny rents out part of her beautiful home to who she believes are a couple, confined to the fact that she herself  will never find romance again living in such a small village. Penny is hoping that her new renting scheme will also bring with it new friendship. However, when the handsome Henry moves in, Penny knows her original intentions of just being friends are going to be hard to stick to.
This book was a little too sugary for my taste, whether it was Penny’s flat out falling head over heels which made it a little bit predictable, I’m not too sure. Nevertheless, it is definitely a book to try, preferably whilst wrapped up in a warm blanket with a mug of steaming coffee next to you. If anything, it will certainly get you in the mood for the Christmas festivities that are set to come.

 

Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases by Jane Stoller, ISBN 9781483570952, out now to buy.

Jane Stoller is the master at organisation! With a passion for helping out anybody who is need of advice as to how to help organise their own homes more efficiently, Jane gains great pleasure from passing on the tips that she has accumulated over many years and as a result has brought all her knowledge together into this one book to help each and every one of us!

This is a wonderful and easy read with a writing style that is informative but in no way preachy. Jane’s manner is very friendly throughout and you really can see that she is simply parting with advice which has stood her in good stead. The book itself is laid out in simple sections, which is perfect if you have a specific area you would prefer to concentre on. The tips and suggestions are non-nonsense and practical, but above all inspiring.

What I love most is how Jane emphasises how organising your lifestyle is not a one-day exercise, which is then left to revert back to the old ways, rather it is a sustainable task which needs an input of just 10 minutes a day in order to keep it working for you. It’s all about changing your mentality and attitude toward your possessions and their place in your life.

This is a great addition to any bookshelf and has something for everyone.

 

All books were kindly received for review from the wonderful people at NetGalley.

 

 

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