Monday, 29 May 2017

5* review - Then, Now, Always by Isabelle Broom

Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it's a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and gorgeous crush). It couldn't be a more perfect setting to fall in love...
If only Tom (Hannah's best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way...
Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah's half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?
For just once in her life, can't Hannah have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

I have to start by saying how much I adore Isabelle Broom. She should work for the tourism industry as she sprinkles a beautiful magic over the destinations she writes about and leaves the reader (at the very least just me) with an overwhelming sense of wanderlust and desire to experience the locations.

Hannah has a special place in her heart for the town of Mojacar in southern Spain, she holidayed there as a teenager and holds it dearly as her coming of age, a holiday spent without her parents accompanying her best friend's family. She has a small tattoo of the Indalo man, a symbol adopted by the community of Mojacar to represent love and hope, which she treasures, so when the 'love of her life', crush and boss, Theo asks her to research somewhere to do a travel documentary on, she instantly knows the place.

While on their film-making-working-holiday, she wants to make Theo fall in love with her, difficult when she has little experience with relationships and it seems that Theo has plenty - but still she tries.
Until half sister Nancy, who she despises, turns up and seemingly ruins everything.

Hannah learns as much during her adult stay in Mojacar as she did as a teenager, and once again there is a shift in her life, one that teaches her what is important to her and where her future should lie.

I loved the characters in this story, I initially loved to hate Nancy, until we learned her true story, but my favourite had to be Elaine - a local woman who relocated in her own teens due to an incredibly traumatic experience in her life. I loved how the story ended for her, with all ends tied up beautifully.

This is a glorious, beautiful and heart felt read - with many laugh out loud moments, but all in all just a well written book that will take you deep into the heart of Almeria and leave you yearning for more.

A hugely well deserved five stars. 

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