Review: The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Title: The Year of Taking Chances
Author: Lucy Diamond
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 1st January 2015
Pages: 324
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
The bestselling author of The Beach Cafe is back with another warm and witty novel, all about New Year's Eve and brand new starts...

Because love is always worth the risk...

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

New Year's Eve is a funny time of year, and my least favourite. I spend each one reflecting on the year just gone, and on the one ahead and each year my thoughts become more negative and I vow to do something to change that. I hate the fakeness of it, whether that be making resolutions you'll have forgotten about by February or having to wish family members you can't stand the rest of the year 'All the best'. I've never liked it, that said Lucy Diamond is one of my favourite Women's Fiction writers (The Beach Café being one of my favourites), and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read this book. It being New Year and the characters making resolutions is just the basis of the story though, and there's so much more to the story. I was only a couple of chapters in when I realised I was in for the long haul. Don't start this book unless you have a very clear schedule!

What I love about Lucy's books is her ability to create realistic characters, strong women not without their flaws but real characters that female readers can really get behind, and relate to. Here we have three very different women and even in the opening chapters I found myself understanding the fears that Gemma was expressing about her life. Overhearing her daughter describing her as 'just a Mum' has thrown her a little bit, does she want to be 'just a Mum' when her friends are juggling motherhood and successful careers? I don't have children but still at just 24 am not fulfilling any dreams I might have had growing up, children say it like it is and so how would one that knows me describe me? It was certainly a wake-up call for Gemma and the start of her journey in the book. Caitlin has returned to the village to pack up her Mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life while Saffron, a PR executive is hiding a secret that even her talents can't make any better. These three women bond at Gemma's New Year's Eve party, making a promise that the upcoming year will be their best one yet. Little do they know that it's not going to be easy.

Despite my dislike of the New Year and what it signifies I found myself completely enthralled reading about the lives of these three women, Gemma especially, each almost having to find themselves again as they attempt to better their lives and themselves. Lucy handles some sensitive subjects expertly but rather than the book becoming dull or morbid it is infused with humour throughout, bringing some real laugh out loud moments and leaving you with a smile on your face. There are some emotional parts in the book as well, I found myself really caring for these characters from very early on and felt as if I knew them so really felt an emotional connection towards them. If I'm honest I was a little sad when the book was over! I loved spending a few days in the company of these characters, and I think Lucy Diamond fans are going to completely love this book too. It's shown me that perhaps the resolutions we make are possible, it just requires real effort. Seeing these characters better themselves, and finding happiness has left me wanting to do the same thing. It is a life-affirming read, and a book I think is perfect for kicking off your reading year. How long until the next book Lucy?

But don't just take my word for it, check out these reviews from some of my fellow bloggers: Sophie (Reviewed the Book), Anne (Random Things Through My Letterbox) and Rea (Rea Book Reviews)

4/5

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