A beautiful book of memories in my handbag

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A Summer of Surprises and an Unexpected Affair

Jan Ellis

I will buy a beautiful book of memories from Eleanor’s ‘crumbly bookshop’ and place it in my handbag because I am also ‘addicted to books’.



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Imagine a delicious dream of a bookshop, tucked away in a British seaside town, bursting with friends, family and loved ones. Order some tea and warm scones as you listen to Eleanor chat about life, former lovers and romance.

Alternatively, join Eleanor and her sister as they raise a glass ‘to the people we love and the people we don’t know we love because we haven’t met them yet.’

If you haven’t guessed, this is a very satisfying, cosy book about love.
However, it examines the way in which love develops at a more mature age.  It makes you reflect on how we are shaped by previous relationships.  As I meandered through Eleanor’s life, I was constantly wondering if she would be tempted.  Jan Ellis captures the raw infectious fever of the first love and explores this from the mature character’s perspective; this was refreshing and insightful.  I listened to the inner voices of the characters and considered their questions, doubts and secrets.  Above all, I adored the message that love shapes, moulds and makes the person, but you must open your heart at any time of life.  Love has the power to transform us, and Ellis writes:

‘She had gone into the water as a rather staid middle-aged woman and came out feeling invigorated and daring.’

The book explores the landscape of emotions and memories that imprint on our experience.  I enjoyed the anticipation, the excitement, the guilt and the realisation of the characters. The book is also fun and the characters are great company.  Who doesn’t want a best friend like Erika who can keep you grounded, or a sister like Jenna to help you to consider the options?  Perhaps you too could also tolerate a mother who loves life and wants to prompt you to do the same.

I enjoyed this book as it breezed through the events. The author’s style is controlled, succinct and teases the reader into the sequence of events.  The characters feel like friends, and the natural dialogue places the reader in the heart of the events.  I love the way that Jan Ellis threads nuggets of wisdom and observations into a light-hearted, entertaining read.

If you stay at home then put the kettle on and grab some cake, or get your passport and find a suitable bistro with tempting treats.


Please read this and all my other reviews on My Reading.