Blog Tour - The Summer House by the Sea by Jenny Oliver
I'm delighted to be the next stop on this blog tour, coming up is a guest post from the author containing fabulous tips for holidaying with a family and that will be followed by my thoughts on the book. So grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy...
A brand new summery story about returning to your past and finding a new beginning from bestselling author Jenny Oliver!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 18 May 2017
"Every Summer has its own story…
For Ava Fisher, the backdrop to all her sun-drenched memories – from her first taste of chocolate-dipped churros to her very first kiss – is her grandmother’s Summerhouse in the sleepy Spanish seaside town of Mariposa.
Returning for one last summer, Ava throws herself into a project her grandmother would be proud of. Café Estrella - once the heart of the sleepy seaside village - now feels more ramshackle than rustic. Just like Ava, it seems it has lost its sparkle.
Away from the exhausting juggle of London life, Ava realises somehow her life has stopped being…happy. But being back at the Summerhouse by the sea could be the new beginning she didn’t even realise she needed…"
Holidaying tips with a family - Jenny Oliver
My top tip is to expect some kind of meltdown everyday! If you’re prepared for it, you can move on from it. But if you set your expectations for idyllic, frolicking bliss then the tantrums and telling-offs cause much more disappointment and have far greater impact on what should be a really fun time. Or a sort-of-fun time…depending on the age of the child, how many toys you’ve brought with you, the flight delay, the weather, the food, the accommodation, the child-care, the proximity of ice cream, the temperature of the sea etc etc.
I’m writing this imagining loads of mums frowning, bemused, as they remember their calm, idyllic family holidays. But I think that’s the tendency with parenting – to believe that everyone else has it down pat. So perhaps the best top tip is to remember that no one has it down pat (unless you do and you’re one of the bemused, frowning mothers).
I nearly always digital detox when I’m on holiday. I find myself so easily distracted by my phone screen that I know turning it off puts me more firmly in the present. Without Twitter and Instagram etc, I am more likely to sit for an hour on the beach pretending a rock is a bus and the limpets my fellow passengers (as demanded by my three year-old – this is not some whimsical result of digital detoxing). I do still whip the iPad out for the odd half an hour respite of Peppa Pig though (again for the three year-old).
I also always book somewhere to stay that has a kitchen or a barbecue and some outside space so that when my son is asleep we have somewhere to cook dinner and relax of an evening/ drink wine/ play cards. For the last three years we’ve stayed on a campsite in France, right next to the beach. It’s full of a real mix of people from the hard-core campers to the campervan enthusiasts who sit under their awnings, drinking coffee at their fold-out tables and always wave hello. We’re the fair-weather campers because we don’t camp at all but stay in a little wooden lodge, with a bathroom and a kitchen and even a Nespresso machine, but we get involved with the morning waving and pretend we’re as die-hard as the rest of them. With the digital detox, the view of the pine trees and the sound of the waves it’s as if we’re living on the edge of the world and there’s nothing more important to do in the day than cycle to get a baguette in the morning. It actually is idyllic (if you ignore the tantrums, the tell-offs and the Peppa Pig theme song!).
Fab tips Jenny, I completely agree about lowering your expectations and I love digital detoxing on holiday too!
What a first chapter, I finished the page thinking "OMG what just happened"! Don't you just love a striking start to a book, I know I do.
The writing was fun and fast-paced with characters who were easy to visualise. The descriptions of Ava's Spanish retreat were wonderful, I could almost smell the orange trees and feel the warmth of the sunshine on my skin.
Ava and her brother Rory were very different characters indeed. Rory, a workaholic who was so engrossed in his own little world that he forgot about those nearest to him. Ava seemed unsettled, she wasn't sure which direction her life should take. When their lives became too complicated, a spot of role-reversal took place - an entertaining twist I must say.
The summer house itself held secrets that inevitably would be uncovered but I felt like the house and its secrets were the key to the siblings being able to find their path in life. The house contained what they needed to heal.
I had a few favourite amusing moments: a conversation about FOMO, a flying iPhone, a digital detox and hip wiggling in the kitchen!
Memories of days gone by mingled beautifully with the possibilities of a new future in this sparkly, summery read.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR
Jenny Oliver wrote her first book - an epic, sweeping love story - on holiday when she was ten years old, which she illustrated with cut-out supermodels from Vogue. Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree and a job in publishing that's taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of supermodels). Author of the bestselling ebook series Cherry Pie Island, her latest novel, The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, has recently been nominated for Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year at the RoNYs. She lives in London with her husband, the children's author Jim Smith, and their young son Woody. She now has more than 500 FIVE STAR reviews to her name.
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Don't forget to check out the other blogs on this tour...
Thank you to Midas PR for sending me this book in exchange for my honest opinion.