The House on Sunset Lake by Tasmina Perry
Published: 25th August 2016
Publisher: Headline Review
Available in Hardback and on Kindle
Today I'd like to welcome one on my favourite authors onto my blog as part of the tour for The House on Sunset Lake, so welcome Tasmina Perry. Today she is going to share with us her Life in Books, so over to you Tasmina:
My Life in Books
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
I had quite bad asthma when I was little and whenever I had an attack I always used to read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to help me take my mind off it. It wasn’t just my favourite novel – I thought it was the ultimate escapist read – after all, what can be more escapist that getting whisked off by a tornado to the land of Oz!
Lace – Shirley Conran
Lace was and still is one of my all-time favourite reads. I first read it when I was about sixteen and I couldn’t believe how delicious it was; the Swiss boarding school, Judy’s magazine career, Maxine’s life in the chateau. It was so glamorous and so scandalous – I thought I was very grown-up sneak-reading all the naughty bits! I ended up working in magazines myself and I don’t doubt it was part influenced by Lace!
A Woman of Substance - Barbara Taylor Bradford
Growing up in Manchester and yearning for a life in London, New York or other such places that only seem to exist in the pages of a novel or Cosmopolitan magazine, I loved the rags-to-riches story of Emma Hart.
My mum actually took me to see Barbara give a talk at Waterstone’s in Manchester, I remember her coming in in a cloud of perfume and saying how she was just an ordinary girl from Leeds who went on to be a bestselling author. She inspired me – and made me think ‘I can do that’.
It still gives me a little thrill every time I go on Lovereading.co.uk and it says ‘if you like Tasmina Perry you might also like Barbara Taylor Bradford and Shirley Conran’. The teenage me would find that absolutely unbelievable.
I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
Probably my all-time favourite novel and Cassandra Mortmain is just the best narrator ever. Eccentric, charming and wise, it’s the ultimate coming of age story and I re-read it at least once a year. (Valerie Groves’ biography of Dodie Smith is excellent too.)
Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan
I had a little spell from about the age of 17 to 19 when I was obsessed with anything French. I used to frequent my local art house cinema to watch whatever French movie was showing, and used to try and style my hair (unsuccessfully) like Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue. I liked reading translations of French books and discovered Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan. I still think it’s an amazing work of fiction. Dark, powerful and glamorous and it can’t be more than 40,000 words long.
The World According to Garp – John Irving
I was a huge reader in my late teens – I read anything and everything. Lots of good fiction, prize winning fiction probably to show off to sexy, arty boys. But my favourite ‘classic’ read was John Irving’s famous novel. I remember going to rent the movie from the video shop – I loved that too.
Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
Browsing a bookshop in Covent Garden one lunchtime, I discovered this in the new hardbacks section. I hadn’t heard any hype about it, or even read the columns in the Telegraph but I was in my mid-twenties, single, a girl about town in London, and it sounded like my kind of book. I bought it immediately, read it in one chunk and then told all my friends about it. It’s such a familiar and copied story now but at the time it was such fresh, funny, groundbreaking writing.
The Common Years – Jilly Cooper
Everyone loves Jilly Cooper’s novels, but her non-fiction is wonderful too. She is such a heroine of mine and when I got my first book deal my husband got in touch with her to tell her so. She sent me a copy of her book The Common Years with a lovely little congratulatory note, which only made me love her more!
BlurbCasa D'Or, the mysterious plantation house on Sunset Lake, has been in the Wyatt family for over fifty years. Jennifer Wyatt returns there from university full of hope, as summer by the lake stretches ahead of her. Yet by the time it is over her heart will be broken, her family in tatters, her dreams long gone.
Twenty years later, Casa D'Or stands neglected, a victim of tragic events. Jennifer has closed the door on her past. Then Jim, the man she met and fell in love with that magical summer, comes back into her life, with a plan to return Casa D'Or to its former glory. Their reunion will stir up old ghosts for both of them, and reveal the dark secrets the house still holds close...
Tasmina Perry is one of my favourite authors and I look forward to all her new books, this was no exception. The cover alone made me want to dive in and devour this book, it’s beautiful especially with the copper foiling. This book promised so much and although it’s not my favourite Tasmina novel I do feel it delivered a wonderful read.
It’s 1995 and Jim Johnson has been persuaded to spend the summer with his parents at a lake house in Savannah, Georgia. The lake house looks across at the magnificent house of Casa D’or where Jim meets Jennifer Wyatt and suddenly a summer in Georgia doesn’t seem so bad after all. After a long hot summer spent together a tragic turn of events means the pair are separated.
Fast forward twenty years and Jim is now a hotel developer to the Omari hotel group, owned by Simon Desai. When Simon expresses an interest in buying Casa D’or Jim is forced to return to the house to do the deal, which is turn brings him back into the life of Jennifer Wyatt the girl who has held his heart for twenty years. But as Jim begins to uncover hidden secrets from all those years ago can his feelings for Jennifer remain true and can love really ever have a second chance?
This does feel like a very clichéd romance between the spoilt rich girl and the wannabe rock star boy next door but it has been brought to life by Tasmina Perry’s wonderful writing style. Jennifer does seem to be a girl who knows exactly how to get what she wants and I had to question whether she really had true feelings for Jim or was just using him because she was bored over the summer and wanted a new admirer. Jim appeared to idolize Jennifer almost instantly, but maybe the reality of her wasn’t enough for him as he never seems to take their relationship out of the comfort zone.
When they finally did get it together I was expecting them to be inseparable and totally consumed with the passion that they been holding back all summer, instead they both acted a little flat and too easily let go of what they could have had using the tragic events as a kind of excuse. When the secrets are revealed later on you can understand why Jennifer acted the way she did, but I wanted more fight out of Jim.
Tasmina’s previous novel The Last Kiss Goodbye was my favourite of her previous novels simply because the romance in it was so beautifully prefect and ultimately heart-breaking. I was hoping that The House on Sunset Lake would be like this and at the beginning I felt it was going in that direction but the beautiful romance I was longing for was missing. I do feel that this book seems to me more like her earlier novels where the characters are shallower and more focused on getting what they want.
Despite not being everything I was hoping that it would be The House on Sunset Lake is still a brilliant read with some interesting characters, a little mystery and a truly beautiful setting. It’s a novel about being true to yourself, about learning to let go of the guilt and about whether it’s possible to give love a second chance.
Thank you so much to Headline for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and also for sending me a copy to review.