Review: The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon

Friday 15 May 2015
Title: The Sun in Her Eyes
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 21st May 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781471138416
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Amber was three when a car crash stole her mother's life. She doesn't remember the accident, but a stranger at the scene has been unable to forget. Now, almost thirty years later, she's trying to track Amber down.

Amber, meanwhile, is married to Ned and living on the other side of the world in London. When her father has a stroke, she flies straight home to Australia to be with him. Away from her husband, Amber finds comfort in her oldest friends, but her feelings for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, have never been platonic.

As Ethan and Amber grow closer, married life in London feels far away. Then Amber receives a letter that changes everything.

'Before your mother died, she asked me to tell you something…'

I started reading The Sun in Her Eyes one lazy afternoon and read almost half of the book in one sitting. Our main character is Amber and not long after being made redundant, she receives a phone call from Australia telling her that her father has had a stroke. She heads Down Under pretty much straightaway, leaving behind husband Ned and heading straight for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, but who never loved her back... Australia is a country that I really want to visit, and I was pleased to discover that the majority of the book is set there. I loved the descriptions of Adelaide which really helped me to visualise this place where Amber grew up, and despite it being May as I read, and the weather outside being cold and miserable, this book was just the summery little pick me up that I needed.

Unusually, Amber isn't an instantly likeable character. Her relationship with Ned isn't that typical relationship that starts off 90% of Chick Lit novels where the girl is treated terribly by her boyfriend, only to leave him for the insanely gorgeous stud who just so happens to be waiting in the wings. Instead what we have is a realistic portrayal of a marriage, a couple who are experiencing doubts and insecurities that many a married couple before them have probably experienced. Throw in the first man she ever fell in love with and as Amber herself says, she's in trouble.

The attraction Amber felt towards Ethan was understandable, and readers will probably end up wanting to throw themselves at him also. The way the story was written in the beginning meant that he was my favourite out of the two, forbidden love always being the most exciting kind of romance to read about. None of the characters in this book are perfect, but I think that was the great thing about it, because all of them felt real and believable. As the story progresses I think most people will firmly be on Team Ned! I especially loved reading about how their relationship formed, in the beginning it was almost like Ned was just second best, somebody Amber had settled for because her love for Ethan was one-sided.

I had a couple of ideas of where the story would go, and I was completely wrong most of the time. I think it's because I was expecting some brilliant twists, especially as the blurb hints at hidden secrets or some kind of mystery. That never really materialised but - without being able to discuss it too much - I think the story is about so much more than that, but you'll have to read it for yourself to see what I mean and in the end I really loved what the 'secret' turned out to be, and the real meaning behind it. Very early on I had a completely 'out there' thought at what I thought a twist could be, but as the book progressed, let's just say I was glad I was wrong! Ultimately The Sun in Her Eyes is a really enjoyable story, the beauty of it perhaps being a little bit understated and there are some rather emotional moments as story nears its conclusion. I really hope we might meet these characters again one day, which given that Paige Toon does like to let us know what her previous characters are up to, I think there's a fair chance that we will.


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