Today it is my stop on the blog tour celebrating Erica James' 20th Book Birthday.
I have not one but two reviews to share with you, firstly my review for Song of Skylark which is Erica's latest release and also a review for one of her previous books Summer at the Lake.
To top it off I am also hosting a giveaway that is open to the UK only too.
Lizzie has always had an unfortunate knack of attracting bad luck, but this time she's hit the jackpot. Losing her heart to her boss leads to her losing her job, and with no money in the bank, Lizzie finds herself forced to move back home with her parents. When she reluctantly takes another job, she meets Mrs Dallimore, a seemingly ordinary elderly woman with an astonishing past . . . Now in her nineties, Mrs Dallimore is also coming to terms with her situation. Old age is finally catching up with her. As she and Lizzie form the bond of unexpected friendship, Mrs Dallimore tells the story of a young girl who left America before the outbreak of World War Two and, in crossing an ocean, found herself embarking on a new life she couldn't have imagined. As Lizzie listens to Mrs Dallimore, she begins to realise that she's not the only person to attract bad luck, and that sometimes life has a way of surprising you . .
Bestselling author Erica James is an author whose books I was introduced to last year and after reading my first ever book by her I remember thinking how I had been missing out on her fabulous books all these years and so I greedily began buying more of her books. This year Erica is releasing her 20th book titled Song of the Skylark and the striking cover will be calling out to readers from the shelves.
The storyline follows young Lizzie who has had to return home to her parents with her tail between her legs having lost her job due to very idiotic and embarrassing situation. Her mum Tess is determined that Lizzie isn’t going to just sit around wallowing in self-pity and so she arranges for her to work as a volunteer at Woodside a residential home for the elderly which Lizzie is not looking forward too.
Clarissa is one of the residents at Woodside and she strikes up an unlikely friendship in Lizzie and she tells Lizzie the story of her life in the hope that Lizzie will then finally realise that everyone has bad luck at some point in their lives but you have to dust yourself of and keep going.
The book starts of at a slow pace as we are introduced to Lizzie and find out about her background and the reason she is back home with her parents and I did find my attention wasn’t gripped at the start, I found myself picking the book up and popping it back down often as it just felt like it was being drawn out to long but as soon as we began to embark on the journey down memory lane with Clarissa the book soon had me gripped and I was snatching the odd page at every moment I got.
I found Clarissa’s story so captivating, she was such an admirable character who had faced so much devastation through her life but she never wallowed she always picked herself up and was ready for the next chapter of her life. Each time the storyline jumped backed to Lizzie I found myself eager to get back to Clarissa’s story to find out what happened next but I can see the relevance of having Lizzie’s storyline weaved in too as it gave a chance not only for Clarissa ( or Mrs Dallimore as Lizzie addressed her) to tell her story but also to teach Lizzie to not give in to her run of bad luck, it happens to us all and Clarissa had more than her fair share but you have a choice to get back up and try again because we only have one life and it isn’t going to stop and wait for you.
The author has created such an atmospheric read that will take you on a thought provoking and emotional journey along with our characters, not only Lizzie and Clarissa but all the supporting characters too from the charming Ellis and Artie, the wonderfully refreshing Effie and the adorable Nicholas, Thomas and Walter.
This is a book that I will stay with me because of the message it delivers. This is not a journey you will want to rush through, read and savour every chapter of this honorable characters life story that felt all too real. I think I would go as far as to say that this has been my favourite book by Erica James so far.
Lake Como - beautiful, enchanting, romantic... For Floriana, it is the place where the love of her life is getting married to another woman. And she's been invited to the wedding. For Esme, it is where, over sixty years ago, she fell in love for the first time. So often she's wondered what happened to the man who stole her heart - and changed the course of her life. Adam is in danger of burying himself entirely in his work after his girlfriend left him. Could a trip to Lake Como be the distraction he needs? Now it's time for each of them to understand that the past is not only another country, it can also cast haunting shadows over everyone's lives...
I have been working my way through Erica James’s novels after I read her book The Dandelion Years last year and was totally captivated by the storyline and her skilled writing style and now I cannot get enough of her books. Summer at the Lake sounded like the prefect read to bring a ray of light into this dull and wet day and it sure didn’t disappoint.
Tour guide Floriana has her mind on something else when she is involved in a hit and run, little did she know that this event would introduce her to two people Adam and Esme, who would become wonderful caring friends. Each of the characters have loved and lost and before long they are helping each other to mend their broken hearts.
The storyline is set in both Oxford and Lake Como but it is Lake Como that felt so inviting and whisked me away with the characters to a place I didn’t wish to return. We visit Lake Como both in the past and present as we hear Esme’s story of her younger years and then we revisit the same spots when an event leads our characters back to Lake Como together.
I loved each of our protagonists Floriana was a lively outgoing character, Esme was a wise, meddling woman and Adam was a pure gentleman with such a caring nature so they all brought something to their little friendship trio as well as to the storyline. Romance blossoms throughout the storyline and I was hoping for a perfect happy ending for all of these good natured characters.
The enchanting setting, the engaging characters and the heartbreak and romance all come together and make such a beautiful Summery read.
To be in with a chance of winning a copy of both Summer at the Lake and Song of Skylark
Open to the UK only ( publishers instructions)