Philippa Taylor (Pepper to her friends) has big dreams. When she closes her eyes, she can picture exactly who she ought to be. The problem is, it’s about as far away from her real life in a small coastal town in Suffolk as she can imagine.
So when her elderly friend Josephine persuades Pepper to accompany her on a trip to Europe, she jumps at the chance to change her routine. And when Pepper bumps (literally) into the handsome Finn in Lisbon, it seems as though she might have finally found what she’s been looking for.
But Pepper know all too well things are rarely as they seem. Her own quiet life hides a dark secret from the past. And even though she and Finn may have been destined to find each other, Pepper suspects life may have other plans as to how the story should end.
A romantic and sweeping story about friendship, love and realising that sometimes it’s about the journey, not the destination.
This is a light summer read focusing on love, friendships and family relationships. Pepper befriends an older woman called Josephine and they embark on a trip to Lisbon to try to find Josephine’s long lost love. Pepper finds romance along the way, does some soul searching and tries to move forwards after the death of her sister.
To be truthful this book didn’t completely bowl me over and whilst I really enjoyed reading about the beautiful settings in Aldeburgh, Lisbon and Barcelona, it felt as if there was something missing from the story. The ingredients were all there for a really brilliant read but it sadly all felt a little flat. There was nothing particularly exciting going on to entice me into the story or tempt me to keep turning the pages. The romance felt a little superficial, it was all extremely quick and predictable with no build up to the relationship. I didn’t warm to Finn, there is something about his characterisation that made me feel as if he had a hidden agenda, I constantly felt as if he was leading Pepper on and that something unpleasant could happen at any minute. The rest of the characters are well-rounded and likeable and I adored Samuel’s character. Josephine has a wonderful zest for life and is a really a positive influence on Pepper, encouraging her to do things she wouldn’t normally do. I really would have loved it if the author had gone into more depth with the Josephine and Jorge relationship, this would have made a really interesting side story, but unfortunately it seems to fizzle away towards the end….
What stood out for me were the gorgeous descriptions of the countries visited, the scenery and the culture, the author has obviously done a lot of research. I holiday in Aldeburgh once a year and the descriptions are absolutely spot on. The relationships are sensitively explored, particularly with Pepper and her mother. The epilogue is also very good, it is a great ending with a little twist you may or may not see coming.
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 09.07.20
Thank you for reading this review, I hope you enjoyed it. Happy reading.