A seaside holiday at Shell Cottage in Devon has always been the perfect escape for the Tarrant family. Beach fun, barbecues and warm summer evenings with a cocktail or two - who could ask for more?But this year, everything has changed. Following her husband's recent death, Olivia is struggling to pick up the pieces. Then she makes a shocking discovery that turns her world upside down.As a busy mum and GP, Freya's used to having her hands full, but a bad day at work has put her career in jeopardy and now she's really feeling the pressure.Harriet's looking forward to a break with her lovely husband Robert and teenage daughter Molly. But unknown to Harriet, Robert is hiding a secret - and so, for that matter, is Molly . . .
Summer at Shell Cottage was published by Pan MacMillan in paperback on 4 June 2015, and is Lucy Diamond's tenth novel. I am a huge fan of her writing and reviewed some of her earlier books here on Random Things; The Beach Cafe (July 2011); Me and Mr Jones (May 2013); One Night in Italy (March 2014); The Year of Taking Chances (December 2014).
The Tarrant family have always spent the summer at Shell Cottage. Many years ago, when Alec and Olivia were newly-weds, they discovered this wonderful little spot. They returned year after year, until eventually they bought it. They brought their children, who in turn, brought their own children. Shell Cottage is full of happy memories, a place to be together, to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life.
This year is different. Alec died suddenly and Olivia is bereft. She has lost her soul-mate, her best friend, the father of her children, her other half.
When Olivia arrives at the cottage, her already upside-down world is shaken once more. She discovers more about Alec than she could ever have imagined. Her memories and beliefs are shattered, she's not sure that she will ever be mended.
Lucy Diamond has, once again, created a cast of characters that the reader can relate to, can love and can empathise with. A family with huge characters and lots and lost of issues. Each family member is precisely drawn, with their own traits and huge personalities. The reader accompanies each one of them as they travel through the summer and deal with a holiday that none of them will forget.
The Devon setting is perfect, described with exquisite detail that made me want to book a week in a cottage on the coastline immediately - and that says so much, as I actually read this novel whilst lying on a sun bed in Corfu!
Lucy Diamond's writing is warm and witty, yet manages to deal with some serious issues intelligently and thoughtfully.
Summer at Shell Cottage is another sparkly, glowing read from Lucy Diamond. Her fans will adore this one, and new readers will be delighted to find her stories too.
My thanks to the publisher, Pan MacMillan, who sent my copy for review.
Check out Shaun's great review of Summer at Shell Cottage over at his blog Book Addict Shaun
Lucy Diamond lives in Bath with her husband and their three children. When she isn't slaving away on a new book (ahem) you can find her;
on Twitter @LDiamondAuthor
or on Facebook
and at her website www.lucydiamond.co.uk