Monday, 3 April 2017

Book Review: Then, Now Always by Isabelle Broom

Having enjoyed Isabelle Broom's previous novel which was set in Prague, I had very high hopes about this offering set in Andalusia. I was not disappointed, Ms Bloom is extremely skilled in evoking the sensual delights of the settings of her novels and here the flavours and scents of Spain provide a wonderfully sensual experience to the reading of the novel.

The relationships explored whilst on a location shoot in the Spain of the holidays of her teenage years are as tangy and complex as the Sangria served in the quaint bars of heroine Hannah's Memory. We have plenty to get involved in here, we have the crush (unrequited ) on the older more sophisticated boss, a glamourous French ingenue, the stalwart best friend who has been around so long that perhaps she is taking him for granted?

Into this mix comes the mysterious British woman who has made the area home for forty years and the step -Sister whose presence in her life has caused Hannah much consternation and resentment at home, so this invasion of her perfect idyll and her interest in best pal Tom are the ultimate betrayals.

This is a glorious story, rather more than a sun, sea aand romance novel. It is  brilliantly nuanced and beautiful whilst still treading familiar  romantic waters so that  it is the book that will  happily grace any lounger next the pool this Summer, and I suspect, brighten a dull day in autumn just as beautifully. With an ending that travels rather differently that I first suspected it might, the story becomes more about Hannah discovering truths about herself rather than a pure romance fantasy, giving the book much more breadth.

I cannot reccomend this any higher than to  simply say I found myself missing Spain the moment I finished and yet I have never myself set foot on it's shores.

Then.Now.Always. Is Published on 20th of April by Penguin U.K. -Michael Joseph

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