Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Book review: The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond


My edition: paperback, published on 1 January 2015 by Pan Macmillan, 454 pages.

Description: It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the following months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted - are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

Rating:



Lucy Diamond has been on my radar for quite a while now as the covers of her women's fiction novels are designed to be beautifully eye-catching and the blurbs sound right up my alley as well. However, as often is the case for bloggers, if I don't receive a book for review – and so with a deadline attached to it – I tend to not have time to read it, and because of that it took me until now to finally pick up one of Lucy's books. Thankfully it was more than worth the wait as The Year of Taking Chances is a beautiful tale of friendship and finding your own happiness, and an inspiration to women from all walks of life. 

At the start of the story, Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron don't know each other yet but thrown together by chance at the New Year's Eve party Gemma throws with her husband Spencer, the three connect over (virgin) cocktails and the promise that the year ahead will mean exciting career moves and romantic encounters. As so often is the case with resolutions, they're forgotten before January has even truly started – yet for these three women, the vows they made keep coming back and as their individual stories bring them together time and time again, so do positive changes related to the promises they made themselves.

Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron are three very different women – a mother whose marriage is on the rocks, a young woman who has just lost her own mother, and a workaholic whose life is about to be turned upside down – yet each one of them was hugely relatable. Lucy writes the stories of her leading ladies with a lot of warmth and heart, ensuring that the reader will quickly form a feeling of friendship with the characters and will want nothing more than for all of Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin's wishes to come true. This is not at all a novel about impossible fairytale dreams, but rather one of real women facing real problems and the courage and strength they find within themselves to face these issues and find happiness in what they do and who they are – it's an at times emotional story but also an uplifting and inspiring one to start the new year with.

2014 has been a tumultuous year for me and while I normally don't make resolutions, as I believe you should take chances and make changes all throughout the year and not wait to be forced by the passing of a symbolic number, for once I fully understand the need for people to make a whole new start. I could very much relate to the three women within the story; work stress, family problems and a non-existent love life were prominent features in my year too. So seeing the positive changes these three friends made in their own lives – and each others' – gave me hope that despite everything that has happened in the past 365 days, a new year means a fresh start and, indeed, a year of taking chances.

My resolution for 2015 is to find professional and romantic happiness. It may sound like a lot to accomplish in just 365 days, but Lucy Diamond's heartwarming and wonderfully optimistic The Year of Taking Chances has given me hope that this is not at all an impossible goal to reach.

You can get your copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.lucydiamond.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LucyDiamondAuthor

Twitter: @LDiamondAuthor


Many thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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