Synopsis: The best things in life . . . can be just around the corner
Rachel and Becca aren't real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.
The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn't come home one night, Becca is called in to help. Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister's life is not so perfect after all: Rachel's handsome husband has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all, nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.
As Becca begins to untangle Rachel's secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about her own life, and the future seems uncertain.
But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .
Synopsis: It’s a beautiful day in Manchester and four friends are meeting for a birthday lunch. But then they witness a shocking accident just metres away which acts as a catalyst for each of them.
For Laura, it’s a wake-up call to heed the ticking of her biological clock. Sensible Jo finds herself throwing caution to the wind in a new relationship. Eve, who has been trying to ignore the worrying lump in her breast, feels helpless and out of control. And happy-go-lucky India is drawn to one of the victims of the accident, causing long-buried secrets to rise to the surface.
This is a novel about the startling and unexpected turns life can take. It’s about luck – good and bad – and about finding bravery and resilience when your world is in turmoil. Above all, it’s about friendship, togetherness and hope.
Kat's Rating: 5/5
Kat's Review: I have been reading Lucy Diamond for a few years and her books have always been books I remember, however this particular little beauty will stay with me for a while. Based around 4 friends Laura, India, Jo and Eve all of which we see their stories. It's an innocent introduction where the 4 friends meet for lunch. You get a decent background on each woman and where they are in their lives. However, they then witness a shocking accident which will affect all of the women differently.
There wasn't on standout character fr me, I loved them all. Each woman had their own set of problems and issues they were working through and the whole book just had that edge of realism which made you want the best for all the women involved. Although I didn't have a favourite the storyline featuring Eve was done so well and I am sure make many women realise that you cannot bury your head in the sand. Usually I would break down storylines a little more but with this book I really don't feel the need.
There are no patronisingly young and skinny women that are NOTHING like people I would know as a late 30's woman. The characters were so real they could be my own friends. I was thoroughly absorbed with this from start to finish and absolutely loved every page. One of the best Lucy Diamond books I have read, and certainly one I would highly recommend!
Synopsis: Because love is always worth the risk . . .
It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.
Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.
But as the months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking newdevelopments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?
A Baby at the Beach Cafe is an engaging short story follow-up to Lucy Diamond's bestselling novel The Beach Cafe.
Evie loves running her beach cafe in Cornwall but with a baby on the way, she's been told to put her feet up. Let someone else take over? Not likely.
Helen's come to Cornwall to escape the stress of city living. She hopes a seaside life will be the answer to all her dreams. When she sees a job advertised at the cafe it sounds perfect.
But the two women clash and sparks fly. . . and then events take a dramatic turn. Can the pair of them put aside their differences in a crisis?
Kat's Rating: 5/5
Kat's Review: I adore Lucy Diamond's books and was shocked when I realised I had missed this little nugget. I thoroughly enjoyed the Beach Cafe books and was excited to read a little more about Evie and her husband Ed. At only 145 pages it's certainly a short story and I read it in one sitting but it was so nice to be back with the characters. Evie is now heavily pregnant and her husband Ed decides they have to employ a new Cafe Manager for when Evie goes on Maternity leave.
With the Beach Cafe being Evie's baby she is reluctant to allow anyone else to run her perfect little business. When Helen escapes city life by moving down to Cornwall she hadn't planned on working but the opportunity presented itself and both her and Evie are not keen on each other for various reasons. Although Helen could be abrasive as a reader you knew why and actually it was such a lovely story I almost thought it was a shame when it ended as I would have loved to have known more about Helen.
If you haven't read any of Lucy Diamonds books you are missing out. The books of hers I have read to date have been nothing but delightful and the Beach Cafe books are amazing. Definitely a recommended author.
Synopsis: With her Cornish Beach Café closed for the winter, Evie Flynn should be looking forward to lazy days and a happy Christmas, with nothing more pressing to think about than when to have her next mince pie.
But her sister Ruth is coming to stay, in a cloud of heartbreak and bitterness following her marriage breakdown, along with her three unhappy children, and Evie knows she'll have her work cut out, trying to spread some festive cheer. Then her boyfriend Ed breaks the news that he's going to spend Christmas in London, for family reasons, and her heart sinks even further.
Add in to the mix a lost dog plus the hotly contested village Christmas bake-off and before long, Evie is feeling the strain. But there are still a few surprises in store for her, that look set to make this Beach Café Christmas the most memorable one yet...
*Note: If you plan to read The Beach Café first followed by Christmas at The Beach Café, please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*
Synopsis: A Christmas short story from bestselling author Lucy Diamond, revisiting her Beach Café characters.
After a hectic summer running her beach café in Cornwall, Evie Flynn is looking forward to her first Christmas with new boyfriend Ed – she’s determined that it’s going to be the most perfectly romantic one ever. Cosy nights in front of the fire, spicy mulled wine, mince pies . . . what’s not to love?
But the peace is shattered when Ed’s ex suddenly gets in touch again, and then some unexpected guests arrive: Ed’s surly brother Jake and Evie’s heartbroken best friend Amber. Add in the stress of trying to finish her very own recipe book, snow blizzards and family dramas and Evie’s Christmas starts to look as if it’ll be a total turkey. Will any of her festive wishes come true . . . or is this Christmas just a recipe for disaster?
*Note: If you plan to read The Beach Café first please do not continue to read my review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*
Synopsis: Is Italian really the language of love? A new class of students hopes to find out. Anna's recently been told the father she's never met is Italian. Now she's baking focaccia, whipping up tiramisu and swotting up on her vocabulary, determined to make it to Italy so she can find him in person. Catherine's husband has walked out on her, and she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life. But she'll need courage as well as friends when she discovers his deception runs even deeper than infidelity. Sophie's the teacher of the class, who'd much rather be back in sunny Sorrento. She can't wait to escape the tensions at home and go travelling again. But sometimes life - and love - can surprise you when you least expect it. As the evening class gets underway, friendships form and secrets from Italy begin to emerge. With love affairs blossoming in the most unlikely places, and hard decisions to face, it's going to be a year that Anna, Catherine and Sophie will never forget.
I have read a lot of great books this last year, but I sifted through and picked my favourite ten. They aren't in any order (that's just TOO hard a job), but if you haven't read them then I would highly recommend them.
Don't Want To Miss A Thing - Jill Mansell
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Swetshop of Dreams - Jenny Colgan