My grateful thanks to Clara Diaz at Little Brown for an advanced reader copy of The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara in return for an honest review. I enjoyed reading The Summer of Serendipity so much that I’m thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations.
The Summer of Serendipity was published by Sphere, an imprint of Little Brown, on 13th July 2017 and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
The Summer of Serendipity
One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.
‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there’s always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor.
While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she’s remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel.
But will she ever discover the real truth behind the mysterious ‘Welcome House’? Or will the house cast its magical spell over Ren and help her to find true happiness?
My Review of The Summer of Serendipity
When Serendipity (Ren) Parker and her assistant Kiki head to the west coast of Ireland house hunting for a client, they find more than just the perfect house.
I loved The Summer of Serendipity. It is unashamedly women’s fiction with the kind of warmth and romance that makes it such a pleasure to read. I’m not usually one for any element of magical realism, but the mythology, superstition and omens of ravens and stags worked highly effectively and convincingly to enhance the story without dominating it, so that they were broad brush strokes that could be accessed on many levels from spirituality to coincidence to suit the reader’s taste.
I thought the sense of place was excellent. I’ve never been to Ireland, but Ballykiltara had all the elements I imagine, from Guinness serving pubs to misty lakes and changeable weather, making for an area I could picture vividly in my mind’s eye.
However, what made The Summer of Serendipity such a lovely read was the characterisation. From Ren to Finn and Fergal the dog I found each person distinct and realistic so that I could easily imagine chatting to them in the town of Ballykiltara. The gradually uncovered back stories to Ren and Finn gave them added depth and appeal too.
I thought the quality of Ali McNamara’s writing was so good. The prose flowed so that there was never any awkwardness, making for a highly pleasurable reading experience and the dialogue felt absolutely perfect. But aside from the quality of writing, a great sense of place and warm human characters, it was the attention to detail in the plot I most enjoyed. Ali McNamara knows her mythology and there is a smashing mystery to be uncovered here too surrounding Welcome House.
The Summer of Serendipity is a lovely summer read. My only regret is that I haven’t read Ali McNamara before. I shall be putting that right immediately.
About Ali McNamara
Ali McNamara attributes her over-active and very vivid imagination to one thing – being an only child. Time spent dreaming up adventures when she was young has left her with a head bursting with stories waiting to be told.
When stories she wrote for fun on Ronan Keating’s website became so popular they were sold as a fundraising project for his cancer awareness charity, Ali realised that not only was writing something she enjoyed doing, but something others enjoyed reading too.
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