Monday, 12 January 2015

Book Review - The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond

The Year of Taking Chances
The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond
Published: 1st January 2015
Publisher: Pan
Pages: 454
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
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 following 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?
Having discovered and enjoyed Lucy Diamond’s books last year I was eager to read something else by her and The Year of Taking Chances seemed the perfect book being as we’re starting a new year. The Year of Taking Chances is based on the lives of Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron who all meet at Gemma’s New Year’s Eve party. The three instantly bond and agree to make the following year the best they’ve ever had, little do they know it’s a year that’s really going to test each of them.
I instantly warmed to all three of these women and was drawn into their story so much that the rest of the world just passed me by until I was finished. These are real women who have to deal with real issues and I loved how much I could relate to them and longed to be part of their little group.
Gemma is a stay at home mum and is beginning to question what to do with the rest of her live now her kids are both at school and see her as “just a mum”, she’s wanting to be more but not sure how to fit it in around her family. I can totally relate to Gemma in this situation as I’m sure many mothers do, we long to be home for our children but also long to belong back in the adult world of work and it’s not easy to find a balance. When Gemma’s world is turned upside down she takes a chance and follows a lifelong dream, but can she manage to keep her family together as well.
Caitlin is returning to her childhood home to pack up the house after the death of her beloved  mother, stuck in a rut with her career and single again after finding her boyfriend with her best friend she’s feeling alone and vulnerable and craving the life she lost. As she begins to pack up the house she begins to uncover a secret which has been hidden for years and her which turns her even more upside down.
Saffron has escaped her London flat to think about her future, escape from PR nightmare Bunty and work out exactly what she’s going to do about her big secret which will more than likely tear her sisters heart to shreds.
Although I loved all three of these women I think my favourite character was Bunty, I just loved the way that she changed from being an over bearing nightmare to an actually quite kind hearted and likable woman. I think her confrontation with Saffron was probably one of my favourite parts of the books as I felt it was a huge turning point for both of these characters, Saffron became stronger willed and more determined and Bunty softened and became less irritating.
The Year of Taking Chances is a book with many themes including friendship, marriage, heartbreak, hidden secrets, pregnancy, careers, lack of money, it’s about the real life dramas we all face, about releasing how lucky you are and that only you can really go out there and get the life you want, all you have to do is take a chance.
I adored this book and was gutted when I’d finished, which wasn’t long as I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of the few books I’ve read where I loved all the characters, even Gemma’s horrible mother! It’s the perfect book to start off the New Year and fans of Lucy Diamond will adore it, I know I did.

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