Swallowtail Summer by Erica James Review

Well hello! Long time no see! Or should that be read? Anyway, Happy 2020 to everyone, and I hope the start of the year hasn’t been too bumpy for you all!

It’s a busy old year in our household! Number one sits his A-Levels, Number Two sits his GCSE’s and Number Three chooses his GCSE options.  Although according to him he’s already done it and we need to chill! So since just before Christmas, it’s been a bit of an endless round of parents and information evenings and revision workshops.  Add that into after school activities and life, it’s been pretty none stop!

That said, I have still been making time to write and of course read.  In January I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme and submitted my completed manuscript.  I now have a nail-biting wait for the critique to come back, and whether my suspicions of not quitting my day job were correct! That said, I’m looking forward to seeing where I might be going wrong with my writing and improving!

I also joined Goodreads, so if you’d like to see what it is I’m reading then please feel free to add me as a friend.  My username is, of course, Mish Mash.

One of the books I’ve completed this year is Swallowtail Summer by Erica James.  Now I’m not going to lie, this book has travelled around with me for months! I’d read the first couple of pages, put it down and sort of forgot it over and over again.  This week, and with finally some spare time I sat down with it and was determined to finish it.  My goodness as soon as it got me, that was it, I couldn’t put it down!  The story of Alistair, Orla, Sorrel, Simon, Danny and Frankie is absolutely gripping.  No longer a group of young friends and newlyweds, they are now coming to the end of middle age.  When death visits them, it forces each of them to look back and re-evaluate their lives and the journeys they’ve all been on.  Their children’s are now young adults, and just starting to face the complexities of adulthood.  Death has a way of shaking everything and everyone up, and you have to deal with whatever way the chips fall.

The way Erica James has expertly explored each of their individual lives, and in some cases, lies is a cacophony of feelings for the reader.  I loved how she took each of their stories apart and then gently wove them back together.  As a reader, you can totally understand and relate to just how much shared history this group of friends has.  So when later in the book, there are some big reveals the only feeling I as a reader experienced was understanding.  However, the villain of the book also elicits feelings of sympathy at times although I had her number pretty early on!

The book is set in and around the Norfolk Broads.  I’ve had never been myself, but thanks to the wonderfully explicit descriptions of life on the river I now really want to holiday there in the sunshine.  This is not what I would call a ‘light’ read, the book is packed with emotion and I found myself having to read the book in near silence as there is so much going on.  But a fantastic book all around! Her website is http://www.ericajames.co.uk


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