Monday, 20 June 2016

Learning to Love - Sheryl Browne

Learning to Love
by Sheryl Browne

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Publisher: Choc Lit

About the book...

Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places … 
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.
Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs … 

Previously released by the author.  Revised, edited and republished by Choc Lit in June 2016.

About the author...

My thoughts...
I was offered the chance to join the blog tour for Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne organised by Brook Cottage Books and jumped at the chance. I downloaded a copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, something which I'm more than happy to do.

Learning to Love is a story that weaves itself around family, everyday life and community spirit.  Andrea Kelly is no different to many women, she is living her life day to day, effortlessly, but not without drama; juggling the many balls needed as that of a wife, mother, daughter and carer as well as holding down a demanding job.

There are hairline cracks in the fabric of her life and it only takes one ball to drop and everything shatters.  The one person who should be stood, shoulder to shoulder with her as she tries to come to terms with everything that happens, turns out to be the person she can trust and rely on the least.

Sheryl has woven a story that won't fail to touch your heart, a story of endings and new beginnings, of family and friends both old and new who come together to help and support as Andrea tries to piece her families lives back together again.

Opposite Andrea's house lives David Adams.  He is the new doctor in town and it is fair to say he and his son Jake haven't exactly hit it off with their new neighbours - the tension between the two of them is palpable and Andrea having previously been caught in the crossfire vowed to give them a wide berth.  It comes as a shock to all concerned when she finds herself, her dotty mother and three children taking refuge and being on the receiving end of their hospitality when they are rendered homeless, losing everything in a house fire.

I love Sheryl Browne's style of writing, she's not scared to get under the skin of her characters, weaving real life into each and every one of them. They always leave an impression and I always get a gut feeling and a strong sense of who they are from almost the first moment they enter the story. Forming lasting impressions of the main characters is an important part of reading for me - I need to engage and feel something, although I don't have to like them all.  After all I don't like every person I come across in real life.  I find Sheryl doesn't pad out a story with useless characters, each one included in a story is necessary to the plot and is woven intricately into the story with their lives forming sub-plots.  

Time and again Sheryl's puts her characters and readers through the wringer and brings us back out the other side all the better for the experience - her stories are so vivid and true to life it's very easy to immerse yourself and lose track of time - it's like reading about people you know.

This was at times an emotional read, hard facts had to be faced and decisions that affected many peoples lives made.  But, at the same time there was so many moments that had me howling out loud. Humour and lighter moments provided by the younger characters and tongue in cheek banter of characters in their latter years was the antidote to the more serious topics covered. All in all an insightful read that demonstrates how communities can and do put aside their own lives to come together to help at times of need.  Sometimes the hardest experiences to endure in life make us stronger people, giving us the backbone to ride the next storm.

You've done it again Sheryl, an afternoon at sea, lost in your book was a journey worth taking - until the next time, thank you.

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