Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Counting Chimneys by Sandy Taylor

Counting Chimneys: A novel of love, heartbreak and romance in 1960s Brighton (Brighton Girls Trilogy Book 2)

Counting Chimneys by Sandy Taylor
Published: 10th June 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Available in paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Brighton 1969: Dottie Perks steps off the train and breathes in the sea air, the smell of fish and chips, and the precious childhood memories of a friend and place she’ll never forget.

Dottie Perks has forged a new life for herself in London, a new job and sweet boyfriend Joe to keep her warm at night. She’s safe, happy and loved. What more could she ask for?

But when Dottie returns home to Brighton for a family celebration, the last person she expects to see is her first love; the boy who stole her heart… and broke it. Ralph Bennett.

As old familiar feelings come rushing to the surface, Dottie struggles to deny the strong chemistry that still exists between them. She can’t throw away everything to be with Ralph…can she? And if she does, how can they ever overcome the pain and tragedy of their shared past?

Counting Chimneys is the second novel in the Brighton Girls Trilogy by Sandy Taylor. If you haven’t read the first book The Girls from See-Saw Lane, then I really suggest you do as it gives you Dottie’s history, plus it’s a fantastic read.
Counting Chimneys starts four years after the first book ended and Dottie has moved to London to try and forget about all the heart-break she left behind in Brighton. She’s made a new life for herself, sharing a flat with a girl called Polly and has a job on a music magazine called Trend, she even has a lovely new boyfriend called Joe. Everything is going alright for Dottie until she has to return to Brighton for a family christening and who should also be there, but Ralph Bennett, the love of her life and the reason for all her heart-break. As soon as she sees Ralph Dottie’s life is thrown upside down once more as she realises she still loves him and probably always will. Can Dottie throw away her life in London for a second chance with Ralph and will it be happy ever after if she does?
Once again I was easily drawn into Dottie’s story. Sandy Taylor has a way of writing which mixes perfectly emotions, drama and wonderful descriptions making Counting Chimneys, like her previous book a joy to read. 
I loved all the new characters which have been introduced in this book, Polly, Rose, Matthew, Tristan and Stephen all give Dottie some support when once again heartbreak strikes and become like a second family to her. They also added some light-hearted moments such as Stephen and Tristan taking their cat Colin for a walk, that just made me laugh. Even snotty-nosed sister Rita has some moments of being bearable for Dottie.
Sandy Taylor seems to have captured 1960s life perfectly.  Along with it still frowned upon to have unmarried couples staying over with each other, there are hostilities towards those who are different. I loved that Dottie wasn’t fazed by any of this and made her own mind about people, becoming close to Stephen, Tristan and Matthew despite the looks and comments she received.  I felt this showed how much Dottie had changed and grown up from The Girls in See-Saw Lane when she was a teenager and always concerned about her weight and how she looked and what other people thought of her. I can’t wait for the third book to see how Dottie changes as she hits her thirties.
I found Counting Chimneys to be just as enjoyable as Sandy’s first book and hope we don’t have to wait too long before we find out if Dottie can have a happy ever after that lasts.
Thank you so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinions.

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