Learning to Love, Sheryl Browne
Genre: romance, women’s fiction
I hadn’t read any od Sheryl’s novels before but this sounded fun, and its published by ChocLit, and I’ve found from experience that they publish books I enjoy so “click Request”….
Its a great fun read, moments of almost slapstick humour, entwined with some incredibly subtle comedic interludes.
Drama abounds right from the start when poor Andrea gets stood up by Jonathan, and it widens out into a story filled with humour, drama, neighbours that are helpful one moment and snide the next, and kids that were just so wonderfully written.
I love so many things about this book, poor Andréa, doing what so many are, trying to run a home composed of teens and toddler, partner, elderly parent and keeping a full time job going too.
Its a small village, one of those where everyone soon knows everything that’s happening – and a few things that really aren’t!
I got really irritated with her fiancé to be, Jonathon, he was an odd sort, not really supportive, and at times I wanted to scream at Andréa “ask him what/where/why” when he was being evasive.
The kids were brilliant, toddler Charlotte, teens Sophie and Ryan, and David’s ten yr old Jake. They spoke and acted as kids do, bickering one moment but helpful the next, eye rolling, ever empty stomachs in the case of the lads – reminded me so much of my own kids at that age.
I loved the way Ryan took Jake under his wing, and didn’t let things pass from David, helping but guiding him too.
The way the locals rallied round after the fire was good too, even down to the clothes donated that some of which was just real jumble….yep, that happens.
I enjoyed the way they were always in and out of each others lives, the way Dee, Andrea’s slightly batty mum , and Eva, one of the more senior residents of the town were always bickering.
Good too to see a teen that’s in a wheelchair, who’s still a typical teen, not some sanely type, and living a normal as can teen life. She was a great addition and as a wheelchair user myself I love to see all types represented in books, not just the able bodied.
The way the story unfolds is perfect; it’s got romance but not Just romance, there’s
drama and mystery, lost dogs, modern day family life with all its chaotic stumblings, a snippet of small town life, all the dramas and incidents that make a story so real. Add in the mystery that’s fast gathering pace and I was wondering just how it would all work out. There’s a surprise too that I didn’t see coming, and I so felt for all involved.
The only criticism I have its that its all happening in a very short space of time, David goes from surly to perfect, from disliking everything to in love, Andrea goes from being – well maybe not “in love” but certainly still trying to keep up her fragile relationship with Jonathan, and then suddenly its all David, and he’s front stage in her thoughts. All that happens over just a few days….but there’s so much packed in that it’s a small thing and easy to ignore.
Stars: Five, a fun, engrossing read that made me laugh at times and tearful at others.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers