My enormous thanks to Millie Seaward at Little Brown for sending me a surprise copy of Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews. I cannot believe it has taken me so long to get round to reading one of Carole’s books, but I’m so glad I’ve now got going.
Published by Sphere on 25th June 2020, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes is available for purchase through these links.
Sunny Days and Sea Breezes
Jodie Jackson is all at sea, in every sense.
On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, she’s leaving her London life, her career, and her husband behind. She’d like a chance to turn back the clocks, but she’ll settle for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill’s beautifully renovated houseboat, Sunny Days.
But from the moment Jodie steps aboard her new home, it’s clear she’ll struggle to keep herself to herself. If it isn’t Marilyn, who cleans for Bill and is under strict instructions to look after Jodie, then it’s Ned, the noisy sculptor on the next-door houseboat. Ned’s wood carving is hard on the ears, but it’s made up for by the fact that he’s rather easy on the eyes.
Bustled out of the boat by Marilyn and encouraged to explore with Ned, Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom. But out of mind isn’t out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days and Sea Breezes?
My Review of Sunny Days and Sea Breezes
Jodie is running away from her problems.
A confession. Although I’ve heard excellent things about Carole Matthews’ writing I have always slightly shied away from her books thinking they might be a bit too lightweight and formulaic for my taste. I have to be completely honest and say I couldn’t have been more wrong. I absolutely adored Sunny Days and Sea Breezes and it is one of my favourite books this year because it is such a lovely book.
Carole Matthews has a wonderfully accessible style, coupled with a fast pace of storytelling that makes Sunny Days and Sea Breezes eminently readable because of her effortless ability to bring complete joy to her reader. Jodie’s problems are by no means trivial and the depth of emotion she is experiencing will resonate with even the hardest hearted reader. Sunny Days and Sea Breezes made me laugh, shed a cheer and actually cheer aloud and raise a triumphant fist into the air. I genuinely could not set this book aside. I ensnared me completely and transported me to the Isle of Wight and Bill’s boat so that I felt a loss when I had finished reading. I’ve always fancied a trip to the Isle of Wight and Carole Matthews has given me a lovely glimpse of what a visit might be like. I also think it’s a sign of a captivating book when I keep wondering what the characters are doing now I’m no longer reading about them.
And what characters they are. Even the most minor character was a real, rounded, individual. I loved the occasional direct approach to the reader by Jodie so that she quickly became a friend I cared about rather than a character in a book. Her first person story is very affecting and I desperately wanted her to have literal and metaphorical colour back in her life. Speaking of colour, in Marilyn Carole Matthews has created a totally relatable, vibrant individual whose vivid depiction leaps from the page. I adored Marilyn’s attitude, her dress sense and her quirky malapropisms because her very presence in Sunny Days and Sea Breezes lifts the heart and soul of the reader. She’s utterly glorious and I rather think I want to be her.
There is, as might be expected, a love story underpinning the narrative which I found maturely written and utterly believable. But Sunny Days and Sea Breezes has so much more to offer too. There are themes of love in many forms, loss and betrayal, friendship and identity that give a human, and indeed humane, depth to the story that I found captivating. Carole Matthews somehow made me feel she had written Sunny Days and Sea Breezes just for me personally.
I honestly cannot stress enough how wrong I was to think Carole Matthews’ writing would not be for me. I truly loved every minute of reading Sunny Days and Sea Breezes because both my heart and mind were fully invested in the story to the extent that I think I may have found a new to me favourite writer. Don’t miss this glorious book. It’s just wonderful.
About Carole Matthews
Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the top ten bestsellers The Cake Shop in the Garden, A Cottage by the Sea, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights, Million Love Songs and Happiness for Beginners. In 2015, Carole was awarded the RNA Outstanding Achievement Award. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world and she is published in more than thirty countries.