House of Dreams by Fanny Blake

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Publisher: Orion

Publication Date: 5 November 2015

“Only a weekend in Spain – what could possibly go wrong?

At their family hilltop villa, Lucy awaits the arrival of her brother and sister for their mother’s annual birthday party. Although this time, their mother won’t be there.

Struggling at Malaga airport with her fractious four year old, Jo has already lost her case and is dreading arriving without its precious contents.

For Tom, returning to Casa de Sueños stirs up all sorts of memories – then a beautiful face from his past appears . . .

Over one long, hot weekend, past secrets will spill out as three siblings discover more about their family and each other”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I previously read, reviewed and enjoyed Women of a Dangerous Age by this author so I was looking forward to reading more from her.

It took me a little while to get into the storyline but once I did, I was hooked! I found myself thinking of the House of Dreams even when I wasn’t reading.

The story follows siblings Jo, Tom and Lucy as they prepare for their mother’s annual birthday party at her house in Spain but this time there’s quite a dramatic difference to the proceedings.

Each character dealt with events in their own way and, as with all families, occasionally there was conflict between them. Who knew coloured stickers could be so controversial!

I particularly enjoyed reading about all the memories each character had from growing up in the house, they were vividly described so I felt like they were taking me with them as they reminisced.

Finding answers was a major theme of the storyline so if you enjoy reading about complicated family relationships and secrets, this is definitely a book for you. It also touched on some sensitive subjects, all of which I thought were beautifully written.

This was an interesting and thought-provoking read that leads you on a journey of discovery and truth.

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Women of a Dangerous Age – Fanny Blake

“Lou and Ali are at that dangerous age when a woman considers what she already has, and decides what she really wants.

Lou has realised that she is married to a man who no longer loves her.  Now that their children are grown, is it too late for her to make a fresh start and set up the business she has always wanted?

Ali is a serial mistress.  But when her latest lover suggests that they move in together, she realises she wants more.  But can she trust him to make that permanent commitment?

When Lou and Ali become friends on a life-changing holiday in India they begin to learn just how much they have in common.  But when a revelation shakes the growing bond between them, their courage and friendship is tested to the limit.”

Firstly I’d like to thank HarperCollins (@fictionpubteam on Twitter) for sending me this paperback to read and review.

It took me a while to really get into this story but once I did it was difficult to put down.  From the synopsis I had expected more of the book to be based in India but there was only a small section at the beginning.  This small section was written beautifully though and the descriptions made me feel like I was there with them.

There were some funny moments in the book that had me laughing out loud, in particular the scene at the airport when Lou and Ali were on their way home from India, and an evening out for Lou that involved an authentic curry in London, make sure you watch out for those if you read this book!

I loved the characters, they were all very real and I found myself relating them to people in my own life (although I wont say who).  I really liked Lou’s courage in following her dream and learning to live for herself after so many years, this was really empowering to read.  I had mixed feelings towards Ali at the start because of her life as a serial mistress, I think as a married woman it’s always difficult to read about characters like that, but as I read through the book I really warmed to her which surprised me. She seemed to have lots of things from her past that she hadn’t managed to resolve and I enjoyed following her story as she tried to finally settle everything.

It was great to see Lou and Ali’s friendship blossom from the moment they met and I was really worried when a huge bombshell threatened this.  They were both at the start of their new lives and there were many ups and downs for them to overcome, this was interesting to read and a couple of the revelations that came along literally made me gasp in shock!

Something that I really liked about this story was following Lou and Ali as they embarked on a new business venture, I’ve always wanted a shop of my own so I found it really fascinating to follow their progress.

The end of this book was perfect in my opinion, I had tears in my eyes as I read the last few pages.

This is an enjoyable book, a perfect curl up on the sofa read.

Women of a Dangerous Age can be purchased here or from most good book retailers.

Fanny Blake is the author of What Women Want, and is currently Books Editor for Woman and Home Magazine.  She worked in publishing for over twenty years and held a number of senior editorial positions.  More recently she has written bestselling non-fiction titles to accompany Channel 4 television series including A Place in the Sun, Location, Location, Location and Grand Designs. Women of a Dangerous Age is her second novel.