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4.4 out of 5 stars63
4.4 out of 5 stars
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2009
I have enjoyed reading the novels written by Erica James since her first one `A Breath of Fresh Air' was published in 1996. With the exception of a couple (Gardens of Delight and Hidden Talents) that are still sitting on my bookshelf, plus Love and Devotion which I still have not obtained a copy of, I have now read all her novels. I regard her work as a thoroughly good read where you can immerse yourself in the story, not great literature but so much better than some of the novels regarded as `chick lit' or `romantic women's fiction'.

It was interesting to read at the end of the novel Erica James notes as to why she had written this novel. Her starting point was the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 an event she herself witnessed and survived. She always felt that one day she would use this experience in one of her novels, not writing about the actual event but a story of how lives could be changed as the result of surviving such an ordeal.

I think she has succeeded and written a very readable novel around this theme.
In her words "We humans have an incredible ability for surviving the seemingly insurmountable, but it's always the little things - the daily irritations of every day life - that prove more challenging"
It is three years since four friends, Dan and Sally Oliver, Chloe Hennessey and her boyfriend Paul survived the Boxing Day Tsunami. We catch up with the lives they are now all living in the countryside not far from Manchester, Sally a successful Lawyer in Manchester, Dan a stay at home father and Chloe a local GP. Dan and Sally appear to have a happy marriage and a child, two major things Chloe lacks and desires in her life having broken up with her boyfriend Paul. Chloe thinks she may have found the ideal man when she meets Seth Hawthorne, but it is complicated!
As the story line is a realistic one it is easy to become immersed in the lives of the protagonists and find oneself feeling emotions regarding their behaviour. For example Sally Oliver is a most irritating and thoroughly unpleasant young woman, why did her husband Dan stupidly put up with her behaviour for so long. Even the other main protagonists Chloe Hennessey and Seth Hawthorne I felt I wanted to shake more than once!
I suspect that these were just the sort of reactions to these characters that Erica James wanted us to have.
Anyway in my opinion she has produced yet another delightful realistic novel of romance, duplicity and misconceptions in the 21st century.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2009
Again another enjoyable Erica James novel. A book that could be written as though it is part of your own life story given the goings on...

I couldn't put the book down and found it a good story. It didn't quite reach 5 stars for me as there was too much predictability with the outcomes and it was rushed in some places.

Still, if you want a good summer read - then you wouldn't go wrong with this.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The new Erica James book introduces us to Dan and Sally and Chloe and her ex Paul. After surviving the Tsunami, their lives are altered and they go back home to start afresh. Chloe splits up with Paul and is finding her job as GP in her village is not enough until she meets Seth Hawthorne, who she thinks can give her everyhting she wants. Sally and Dan have their son Marcus to consider and with Dan working from home and Sally being the breadwinner it doesnt take long for things to start going awry. Their lives become complicated and before long everything that can go wrong does go wrong. As usual it is written really well and makes for an enjoyable and realistic read. Erica James rarely dissapoints and although this book was good I felt the ending was too hurried.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2009
I haven't read an Erica James novel that I haven't enjoyed and this was no exception, but it's weak when compared with the wonderful "Tell it to the Skies" and "Paradise House".

It's essentially about 4 survivors of the Boxing Day Tsunami, and the paths their lives have taken, the focus being on their relationships with their partners.

All the usual ingredients are there - interesting characters who make the reader care, superb observation of human nature with a healthy dollop of humour. Yet it doesn't seem to gell as well as her other books. The novel has a "clunky" feel and is just a little contrived. She lays the usual false trails but in this book it's so obvious that she's doing so and too easy to predict the outcomes, so much so that it's almost laughable. Several times in the book she clumsily ties the title in with the book's content, and claims it's the little things that matter. Some subtlety there wouldn't have gone amiss.

Having said all that, I wouldn't like to put anyone off reading it. It's well worth a go. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2009
If,as I am,you are a big fan of Erica James,then you won't be disappointed.This story has heartbreaking and uplifting moments by the bucket load. You get involved with the characters very easily and once you start to read,you won't want to put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2010
I am a big fan of Erica James and have read all of her novels thus far. Am a bit behind in reading this one. I love her style of writing, as she always gets you so absorbed with all of her characters that you usually end up either loving or hating them for all the right reasons!!!

I could not put this book down and found myself reading into the small hours on many occasions, wanting more.

I will not spoil the plot in any way, but I all I will say is that in another life, I hope I have the pleasure in meeting the gorgeous Seth Hawthorne!!
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on 14 May 2010
Not having read an Erica James novel for a few years it was a pleasant surprise to pick this up just wanting a light, holiday read and that's exactly what I got. It starts off a bit slowly and the writing isn't great (ie don't read if you prefer more literary fare becasue this isn't) but it soon develops into something unputdownable. Not gripping but you are left wanting to know what's going to happen to the characters, some of whom are perfectly hideous and some who as another reviewer said, need a good shake.
The setting of a country village in Cheshire sounds lovely and idyllic, the story progresses at the pace necessary to keep you reading and although many of the 'twists' can quite honestly be seen for miles, they do not detract from what is essentially a good read and a better standard of 'chick lit' than is around lately.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2009
Erica James has excelled herself. This book grabs you from the first sentence and keeps you guessing till the last. Throughly recommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2009
I got the book in February, read it, put it away and read it again after a few days, mulling it over. Those two couples who have survived the Boxing Day tsunami have made great changes in their lives, but no 'little things'. I mean willingly get a baby, leaving your long time partner - these are no little things! And all the ensuing troubles that arise from these changes are no little things at all! And Sally betraying her husband so easily and Chloe terminating her pregnancy, although she craves a baby badly - these again are no little things! It looks to me that they did not realize by what grace they were allowed to live on. And Chloe's problems with a new friend, a curate, are no little things either, they are justified.
As usual, the book is well written by Erica James, there are a lot of problems talked about that stem from the time we live in, but nothing is little at all...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2009
Thououghly enjoyed the book, found it difficult to put down, wanted to find out how it ended. Some surprising twists and an end to the story not left up in the air.
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