Wednesday, 22 June 2016

House of Dreams - Fanny. Blake

House of Dreams
By Fanny Blake

About the book...
It's only a long weekend - what could possibly go wrong?

'House of Dreams is a heart-warming tale of secrets slowly revealed and family tensions in a beautiful Spanish setting. A compelling and delightful read' - Santa Montefiore

In the hilltop villa with its spectacular views across rolling countryside to the straits of Gibraltar, Lucy anxiously awaits the arrival of her brother and sister.

They’re spending the weekend together to say farewell to Casa de SueƱos, the house in the mountains of southern Spain where they grew up.

Her sister, Jo, landing at the airport with her fractious four year old, dreads the prospect of this time with her family which will fulfil their mother’s last instructions that they celebrate her birthday together. Only this time their mother won’t be there.

Tom, their brother, remembers the chaos of his bohemian upbringing and wants nothing more than for their stay to go off without a hitch. Then a beautiful face from his past appears at the villa . . .

Over one long, hot week weekend, past secrets will spill out, making the siblings question themselves, the choices they’ve made and where their future lies in this gorgeous new novel from Fanny Blake.

About the author...
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing fiction and general non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written several bestsellers and acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities. She is also Books Editor of Woman and Home magazine. Her novels include The Secrets Women Keep (Orion) and With a Friend Like You (Orion).

My thoughts...
I was sent a copy of House of Dreams by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Something that I,m more than happy to do. Jo, Tom and Lucy, siblings, are heading to their family villa -  a place of happy memories for one last holiday in remembrance and at the express wish of their recently deceased mother.

This is such a lovely book, a story that explores the dynamics of family life. The stereotypical dynamics of sibling rivalry - it never ends but is taken mostly as banter and not personal.  Three children, now adults - three very different characters who don't realise that deep down they actually beat from the same heart and share the same values.  

This was a beautiful story, woven around a setting that from the cover of the book alone just oozed warmth, lazy days, sunshine and smiles - a happy book despite the reason for the visit.  Jo, Tom and Lucy come together to have one last holiday in a house that holds so many happy memories - they are to scatter their mother's ashes, party one last time in her memory - unsure exactly who will turn up and then divide the contents and move on. Something that each of them was dreading.

I loved how Fanny created so many stories within the story and managed to tie them all up nicely over the course of just one long week-end. Each of the siblings at stages in their lives where decisions needed to be made, three very different characters who don't always share the same opinion nor strength of character.  Tom who seems to let his wife and family ride rough shod over him.  Jo, madcap and funny but devoted in her role as single mother to daughter Ivy and lastly, Lucy, the swan - gliding gracefully on the surface taking everything in her stride and paddling like mad underneath.  I simply loved how each thought they couldn't cope or move on without their mother to guide them - little realising that the quality time spent together would unearth some secrets and change opinions not just about each other but themselves too and from this gain the strength to help each other.

I was so looking forward to this book and Fanny Blake delivered ten fold - if you like reading about the intricacies and dynamics of family life and everyday real life situations then you'll love House of Dreams.  It's not all candy floss and gloss, it delves into real life situations and I can guarantee you'll form opinions on each and every one of the characters and for most you'll change that opinion.  First impressions are not always what they seem because the family, very much like most of us, puts on an outward face. Using it like armour to portray a positive image and to protect.  Fanny taps away at the chinks until the real characters with their vulnerabilities are uncovered.  Each of them giving and receiving the love and support of each other, strengthening them individually and as a trio.  Ultimately the memories of their mother, the secrets they uncover brings questions and answers that give them the strength to carry on - the passion to look to the future instead of dwelling on the past. It really was such a good read. I highly recommend this book to everyone as a light read that delves quite a bit deeper than you'd probably expect.

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