Top positive review
30 of 31 people found this helpful
Hurray - more Longhampton!
on 3 November 2011
It was a real treat reading this book, and revisiting Longhampton (and spotting some of the characters we've met before). I read it while off work sick and it was great place to escape to - comforting and enticing but not too escapist and fluffy, and much better than daytime telly. I love the other Longhampton books and the way they tackle some tricky issues, not just the usual romance - but I have to say this one has got even more depth and honesty and complexity. It covers ageing, step families, the whole 'does motherhood really make you a superior/worse person' debate. NONE of the relationships are pat or straight forward, the heroines are both sympathetically flawed, the kids are fantastically believable. I cried at least three times, which is rare for me, but the situations were so poignant at times - it's the little defeats or successes in life which affect us most, more than the great tragedies or triumphs, and Lucy Dillon gets these across perfectly. I am not part of a step family, so I can't judge, but I think the depiction of the endless difficulties (big and small) of a step family are really thoughtfully and believably put across. I found my heart going out to the stepmother and her constant attempts to connect with the kids and make things right, while the actual parents were oblivious to her efforts and how much more difficult their unthinking actions make things for her. It is heart warming in showing women in the full diversity of who they are - not just young heroines who somehow afford funky flats in London and have a useful array of zany friends for plot purposes. But women who run businesses, run families, make tough choices, care for others, stand at the centre of their communities in one way or another. Yes, there's romance too, but actually I thought the book was an ode to the amazing strength and creativity and fellowship of women. In case that makes it all sound a bit heavy, be reassured it's not - and it's got a happy ending so it's a good one for Christmas! And of course always the dogs!
I think it is my favourite Lucy Dillon so far. And everyone's getting it for Christmas!