ARC Review: The Surprising Days of Isla Pembroke by Tamsin Kelly


Some days you remember forever. But what if you could live them again? 

If Isla Pembroke could turn back time, she knows exactly which days of her life she would change. 

The day she started working in the local aquarium, not knowing that she’d still be stuck there seven years later. The day her sister Morgan ran away from home. And, most of all, the day that changed everything, when her mother’s death cracked her family in two. 

So when she’s given an impossible gift – a chance to go back and relive those life-changing moments – Isla realises that she might be able to save the people she loves.

But sometimes the most surprising days aren’t the ones that change everything, but the ones that come after…

Fresh, funny, and heart-wrenching, this is a story for anyone who’s ever wanted to turn back time… 


The Surprising Days of Isla Pemberton is a beautifully written story, combining real life with fantasy elements.  The whole premise of the story is refreshing and unique, with a well constructed plot.  As a fantasy fan I really like those magical and time travel elements of the story and the concept of Karrekoth monolith and the Cornish legend tied into this.  The setting in Cornwall is a perfect backdrop for the novel and described so well by the author, you could really feel its ruggedness, the cold penetrating and the wildness of the sea.

The story focuses mainly on Isla who is a wonderful character full of depth and emotion.  Since the death of her mother her life has become complicated and as well as trying to hold herself and her family together she is stuck in a job she hates, her sister unexpectedly runs away and her father has had a major breakdown after the death of his wife. The story highlights how grief and loss affects people and how differently they react to it. This is a emotional story of how this family are dealing with their loss but also uplifting and heartwarming in that by the end of the book times begin to change and are looking so much more hopeful for everyone.  

This is a compelling read with a easy plot to follow, likeable characters and a fabulous setting.  The story is  relatable exploring the complexities of familial relationships, loss and grief without being too arduous or intense.  It’s emotional and magical and one you definitely need to add to your reading list. 

Publisher:  Orion
Publication Date (UK):  30 September 2021
Format:  Paperback
Page Count:  384
Genre:  Contemporary Fantasy
Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  For my current reads, recommendations and anything else book related, please follow me on Instagram , Goodreads or Twitter

Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊 

Happy reading!


Twisted in Pages Blog

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