Wednesday, 19 April 2017

#ThenNowAlways #IsabelleBroom #Review

Then. Now. Always.

For once in her life, can't Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

Oh dear, no, it doesn't look she can! But she can have a summer full of adventure, romance, excitement and sunshine - as can you if you slip this in your suitcase and treat yourself to a book which is a pleasing mixture of Bridget Jones, Miranda and Anne Hathaway! 

If you are looking for a book to pack in your suitcase this summer, then this is the book you want! Admittedly this is not a genre I read a lot of but I do like a story that offers escapism, great descriptions of beautiful, hot places and fun characters who find themselves facing tricky situations. This is the perfect holiday read.

Imagine, you are working away in a firm alongside your best friend from University, slowly building a career as a TV journalist, desperate to be acknowledged for your efforts by your boss -  who you also happen to be in love with. And then he invites you to join him (and two other colleagues but that's by the by!) on their next filming trip. And, the location is the very place you and your childhood best friend spent numerous summers. It is a very special place where you feel you belong and only good things happen. Well, things couldn't look better! The sea, the sun, the good food - and plenty of time to show your boss exactly what you have to offer ....professionally as well as romantically! For 28 year old Hannah, this is a dream come true!

The storyline, and all it's various different threads, is handled flawlessly by Broom. She weaves her story together effortlessly and carries the reader along in way that is as gentle as the lapping waves on the sea shore. Her description of the setting and location had me relaxing and unwinding as I could almost feel the heat of the Mediterranean sun beating down on me. I certainly wanted to reach for a cocktail or two! The depiction of the Spanish villages on the hillside is so beautifully evoked it was very easy to imagine and visualise. Broom is so talented at creating a very real sense of place.

Hannah, our protagonist, is also very well created. She is humorous, self deprecating, a little slapstick at times, flawed but also well meaning, kind and loving. Her reflections about her love life, friendships and family are amusing without being vacuous or too superficial. I enjoyed Hannah's frustration when her sister turned up and thought Broom captured the dynamics between the half sisters very well. There is nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to bring out the very worst in people and threaten the revelation of secrets from the past in front of the very people you are trying to impress.

The two men, Theo - Hannah's boss who she is in love with, and Tom, her friend who feels more like a sibling, are well depicted. Although we see everything from Hannah's point of view, the reader is able to infer much more about the men and their true feelings for Hannah. The reader is able to infer more about what is happening around her and although this can be a little cringe worthy or embarrassing at times, it makes for a good book! Ultimately, we're on Hannah's side and happy to stay there as she navigates her way through the short yet complicated time they are all away together.

Although the premise for the novel may seem quite lightweight, there is more emotional depth to it shown not just through the relationships with between Hannah, Theo and Tom but also through the sisters and the interviews Hannah sets up with Elaine. For Hannah, this is a significant holiday where she is able to grown as a person - as a journalist, a sister and a friend. On the odd occasion she struck me as a little petulant, but this slightly self involved attitude is one we all have but might just hide better. It also suits Hannah's age and social circle as well as reminding us of her naivety and the emotional growing she needs to do over the course of the trip. I also felt that Hannah was gently mocked by Broom for her flaws and bad temper; her telephone conversations with Rachel reflected this well. Broom is obviously very fond of her heroine and writes about her kindly. She uses Tom to tease Hannah when her displays of behaviour are perhaps not so flattering and this works really well, ensuring that we stay sympathetic towards Hannah.

In short, this book gives you exactly what it promises on the front cover. A beautiful setting, plenty of drama, adventure and romance. There is heart break, there is heartache but there is also plenty of heartwarming moments. This is a book to enjoy on the sun lounger, the picnic rug or the armchair. It's a good, reliable, light read. The colours from the cover capture the atmosphere and mood of the story and Broom has once again written a book that is a perfect read for anyone looking for something similar to that of Katie Fforde, Adele Parks, Jane Green or Lucy Diamond. Put it on your summer 'to read' pile and you will not be disappointed.

Then, Now, Always is published on the 20th April 2017 by Penguin.

I first discovered Isabelle Broom very recently when I read A Year And A Day  which is set in Prague         and since then I have decided to look out for her novels. I think she is fast becoming my go to for an easy, engaging and light read that is still satisfying and still raises a few interesting themes.

For more on Isabelle Broom you can follow her on Twitter Isabelle_Broom

For more recommendations and reviews you can follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk

For more recommendations and reviews you can follow me on Twitter

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