#bookclub Feature – Alba in Bookland by SJV
The Picture House By The Sea by Holly Hepburn - ’Last year I read Holly Hepburn’s debut and fell in love with her fresh style, her fun characters and her cosy settings, so I was really looking forward to the paperbackwith her latest four novellas. As soon as I started with the first part, I instantly felt that same warm feeling inside. This time we follow Gina to a village in the Cornish coast, where her grand-parents live.
Polwhipple has this small village community feeling, where everyone knows about everything going on but also where everybody is ready to help. But the place itself has lost a bit of its sparkle, with tourists opting for bigger and fancier towns. The arrival of Gina, who used to spend her summers as a teen there, is exactly what the place needs though. I loved her enthusiasm to try to restore the cinema and all the ideas she came out with were so much fun. I certainly wished Polwhipple was real to be able to attend one of the screenings at the Palace.
Along the way Gina also connected with old friends and made new ones, which made the story a lot more interesting. I was really curious to know how Gina would combine her life in London with this new life she was creating in Cornwall.
Another thing that stole my heart completely were all the cinema references. Each part of the book is related to a classic and I’m definitely planning to rewatching these movies after reading about them. And it certainly gave me ideas to throw a little theme party myself with friends. And it was real fun to see how the story in each part mirrored a bit the classics.
All in all, I had a great time in Polwhipple and I was really sad when the story ended because I had really grown attached to this lovely place and its fantastic characters, although I have to say I loved how the story ended. I would highly recommend this read, perfect to escape reality for a while, and especially to movie lovers. I am already looking forward to Holly Hepburn’s next book.’
Pratice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes - ‘Out of Practice, Penny’s Parkes debut, was one of the cosiest and most delightful reads I read last year, so I was really looking forward to being back in Larkford and catching up with Holly and all the gang. This book is packed with drama and soon you find yourself immersed in the story and forgetting about your own reality. I really loved getting to know a new version of Taffy in this story, as he becomes more and more involved in Holly’s life and we can see there’s more to him than the easy-going guy we met in the first book. Also, every scene with Elsie is a joy to read. Her pearls of wisdom and advice for Holly and the girls are not only useful for them but for all of us.
Just as Out of Practice, Practice Makes Perfect is not a short book but once again, the pages flew by. There’s certainly no time for breathing with so many things happening at once. There are surprises for everyone and Penny Parkes’ fun and compelling style make for a very entertaining read. I really hope that she is planning on more Larkford stories as I can’t seem to get enough of these lovely characters.’
This Love by Dani Atkins - ‘This Love is an incredible story that had me hooked from the first page. I loved getting to know the characters, especially Sophie. She was definitely a very interesting character and I really cared for her. She might have seemed weak and like she needed saving but she was such a strong woman. I was really proud of her by the end of the story.
And then we had Ben. I could feel from the beginning that he was hiding something but I really enjoyed trying to figure him out. He did manage to surprise me several times and I might have fallen a bit in love with him. I loved how generous and ready to give he was, but also how much he cared about the people in his life. And I especially loved his positive attitude.
Ben also had quite a curious cast of friends. I found them a bit random at the beginning but I soon realized that they were a very special bunch of people. I think they all taught us something really important and I do encourage you to pick this book to find out what it is as I don’t want to give anything away. You just need to know that this is a very special book, up-lifting, positive and full of laughs and love but also heart-breaking.
I have read other Dani Atkins’ books and I think that this one is her best yet. So if you are a fan, you cannot miss This Love and if you haven’t discovered her writing, then this is the perfect book for you to do so. It’ll surprise you, it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry and it’ll stay with you for a long time.’
How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto – ‘First of all, let me say this: how funny is this book? Seriously, I had so much fun reading it! It’s original, fresh and a little bit crazy, everything I love in a book.
Not only that, this story also reminds us that sometimes we forget what’s important in life and how precious it is to love and be loved. Just like Emma fell quite accidentally in love without even realising, I had the same feeling with this novel. I fell accidentally in love with it too. When I reached the last page of the book, I had to stop myself from going to the first page and start reading it again. I was not ready to let these characters who had slowly crawled into my life go.
So if you are looking for a feel good, highly entertaining and original story, stop looking and pick a copy of How Not to Fall in Love, Actually! Full of heart and unique characters, it’s definitely the perfect cure for grey days. I’m already looking forward to whatever Catherine Bennetto has in store for us next.’