Wednesday, 17 June 2020

New Book Release Spotlight & Review: The Summer of Taking Chances by Lynne Shelby

The Summer of Taking Chances by Lynne Shelby

Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?

It’s been ten years since Emma Stevens last laid eyes on Jake Murray. When he left the small seaside village of South Quay to chase the limelight, Emma’s dreams left with him.

Now Emma is content living a quiet and uneventful life in South Quay. It’s far from the life she imagined, but at least her job at the local hotel has helped heal her broken heart.

But when Jake returns home for the summer to escape the spotlight, Emma’s feelings quickly come flooding back. There’s clearly a connection between them, but Jake has damaged her heart once already – will she ever be able to give him a second chance?

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 Every now and again I find a novel which helps to awake a memory from my past. The Summer Of Taking Chances took me back over thirty-five years to a time in my youth when I, like Emma Stevens dreamed of going to drama school Unlike Emma, I never pursued my dream, however, reading this novel triggered so many memories for me and reminded me of a special time in my life. It was an unexpected reaction, but one which will, thanks to this book will stay for me a while. 

When Jake Murray walks into the Armada Inn, his presence sends a ripple of curiosity around the small community of South Quay. It's been ten years since he'd left the small seaside town to go to drama school and now he was a household name and subject of many tabloid articles. For Emma Stevens, it ignites the heartache she felt ten years ago when he broke her heart. 

The chemistry between Jake Murray and Emma Stevens is palpable as the reunited pair quickly fall back into a compatible friendship despite the tainted history between them. It soon becomes clear, old feelings are resurfacing, only Jake's leaving at the end of summer and Emma has spent the last ten years feeling settled and content, after giving up her theatrical ambitions. Besides, she doesn't want to risk heartbreak again. 

Emma has built a comfortable life for herself, working as an event planner at a local hotel. However, the reasons for giving up her dream are not what they seem. Interestingly, Jake calls her out after she blames him for what happened ten years ago when her ambitions were ruined. He makes her take responsibility for her actions. It's a catalyst for her to change the course of her future by deciding whom and what are important in her life.

Similarly, Emma cuts through Jake's arrogant remarks, calling him out when he oversteps his mark. Her influence also helps to reignite his passion for theatre work, after, becoming jaded with the tedium of working on a T.V. film set. Equally, Jake's blunt honesty, even when it shocks is refreshing and highlights he's far from perfect. For me, he's the perfect leading man because who doesn't love a flawed character? 

A beautifully written second chance romance. The focus is Emma and Jake, but there's also love in the air for other members of the South Quay Players too. Additionally, there's plenty of theatrical drama within the small knit community resulting in a heart-warming display of unity. The ending is heartfelt and leaves a fuzzy feel-good warmth against the picturesque seaside backdrop. 

Overall, a lovely combination of theatre-land, small-town drama and satisfying romances between people meant to be together. 

***arc generously received courtesy of Headline Accent via NetGalley***

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, was published when it won a national writing competition. She has worked at a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actors’ chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre watching a musical, or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Athens – writer's notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Twitter: @LynneB1
Instagram: lynneshelbywriter