Monday, 8 August 2016
#SummerImpulse Review: One Last Summer at Hideaway Bay by Zoe Cook
First of all, thanks very much to Charlotte at Harper Impulse for posting me a paperback review copy in return for an honest review.
I'm going to put it straight out there- I really, really enjoyed this book. Lets start with our protagonist, Lucy. Hurrah for a seriously flawed and feisty female lead. Lucy is undergoing an epic meltdown as her London media job, her partying and her less-than-savoury coke habit begin to get the better of her. Then she receives an email from someone from her past- her ex-boyfriend Tom - and this threatens to tip Lucy over the edge as it opens the door to everything she has worked for 5 years to forget.
Lucy isn't always a likeable character, but she goes on a fantastic journey throughout the book, and I very quickly found myself firmly on her side, wishing the best for her... waiting for her to figure out what that was!
The way the story is set up, with current day chapters and flashback chapters throughout the first half worked beautifully as it allowed for the important elements of Lucy's back story with Tom, her family and also with Nina and Kristian to be told in a way that was gripping- it kept the suspense high, the pace of the story flowing and prevented too much exposition.
I loved the meeting of the four old friends, and the joys and sorrows this throws up as they all know each other so well, and yet have the successes and struggles of the five years since they last saw each other to deal with. Kristian and Nina are a great couple, and the details we learn about their relationship in the flashback chapters make their current day love even more special.
Zoe Cook has managed to create a plot which brilliantly captures the magic and the beauty of the Cornish coast - and how much it means to those who live there. This is heightened further with its juxtaposition against the seedier side of the media industry.
You will have probably seen other reviewers mention that this is a tearjerker- and I have to agree. By the end, I had soaked my pillow in tears and had the ever-attractive pink bug-eye-from-reading-beautiful-romance thing going on. Thank goodness I had a pack of Kleenex at hand (thanks Charlotte- you're a life-saver!) This was a tricky subject to tackle and could have easily gone either way- but boy, Zoe Cook got it spot on. Heartbreaking but, strangely, life-affirming.
A stunning debut by an author who could very easily become one of my favourites if she carries on like this!
Secrets lie waiting beneath the Cornish waves in this moving and unforgettable love story. Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Kelly Rimmer and Jojo Moyes.
Lucy, hi. It’s Tom. How are you? It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to get in touch but it’s hard to know how to after so much time. I hear you’re doing really well up there. I knew you would be.
You should come here, you know, back to Hideaway bay. Come and see everyone, see how little it’s all changed. Feel the sand between your toes, the Cornish sea breeze on your face. When the sun hits the surf in that way it does, it’s as magical as ever.
That’s why I’m writing to you, actually. I want to get the gang back together again, one last time before…well…just one last time. You should come too. The four of us, a summer on the beach, like old times. We all want you here for it. I want you here for it. It’s been so long since I saw you.
I still think about you.