Monday, 23 February 2015

Review: The Year of Taking Chances

The Year of Taking Chances
Lucy Diamond
January 2015 

'It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.
Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.
But as the months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?'

For those of you that are fans of Lucy Diamond, this post will be slightly behind the times as it's been out just over a month. When I read it I hadn't started blogging, but I enjoyed it so much I feel it justifies a backdated post.  For any of you that may have somehow missed this delight - GO! BUY IT NOW! 

The novel centers around three women in a small village, who form a friendship after meeting at Gemma's New Years Eve party. Written in dual-perspective from Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron's point of view, this book is engaging, witty and a fabulous chick-lit read. 

My three favourite things about it: 
  1. Fast paced
  2. Strong lead characters
  3. Self-belief

Point 1: Pace 

One of the things I love most about Lucy Diamond novels are the pace- I finished this book over the course of two days, as I had to know what happened and couldn't bring myself to leave the book alone! 

The changing of character for each new chapter keeps you interested and wanting to read on. I sometimes found myself hooked on a particular characters situation during a chapter though, so when I turned the page to a different characters view point part of me thought no! let me carry on! but, soon enough I'd be hooked on the next characters story, and so the cycle continued on and on.  Before I knew it, It'd be three chapters on and I'd be back to the first character I didn't want to leave in the first place. This isn't in anyway a negative point, more so it highlights to me how much you become emerged in the story being told and the character involved in that particular situation.

Point 2: The characters

Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron are engaging, funny and intriguing - from the very first page you want to find out more them- is Gemma's marriage really this perfect?  Why can Caitlin not bring herself to pack up her mum's things and leave the village? Why does Saffron stick with her difficult PR job in London if it drives her mad? 

Each character has their own strong personalty traits, allowing you to easily distinguish who's point of view you are in, even without the chapter heading of their name. I think my favourite character was Gemma as I love how she embraced the challenge she is faced with head-on and made it a positive. 

Point 3: Self-belief

I know this is a corny point and apologies for any vomit-inducing reactions this may cause! I felt this was a valid point though, as this book really is about believing in yourself and embracing your passions. Gemma (as mentioned, my fave character!) turns her hobby into a career, starting her own dress-making business and really following her dreams. 

On a personal (and another corny!) note, this book really inspired me. I read it a couple of days into the New Year and, having not made any New Year's Resolutions, it inspired me not to give anything up, but to start doing things I love. Which is why I'm typing this blog now! 

So thank you Lucy, not just for a fantastically addictive and funny read, but for kick-starting my 2015 and making me follow some of my dreams! 

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