All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Hold On To Me by Victoria Purman

on January 14, 2016

Hold On To MeHold On To Me
Victoria Purman
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2016, 300p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Can she learn to trust him and love again?

Stella wasn’t looking for love – and especially not from a younger man..

When Stella Ryan’s successful life in Sydney crumbled, she returned flat broke – and broken hearted – to the beachside town she’d once called home. Five years on, she’s opened a boutique and rebuilt her life in the tourist haven of Port Elliot.

Luca Morelli has been working flat out to establish his own building company in the city and doesn’t have time to be driving back and forth to the beach to do a small job in a shop that was almost destroyed in a fire. But he soon changes his mind when he meets the glamorous owner.

Before long, Stella and Luca find that a working relationship isn’t the only thing developing between them. But the closer they get, the ghosts of Stella’s past come to haunt her once more. Can she ever believe a man again? And if she can, is the much younger Luca Morelli the man she can trust with her heart?

Hold On To Me is another novel in Victoria Purman’s Boys of Summer series. I’ve read the previous novels and really enjoyed them. Stella was introduced briefly before and Luca is Anna Morelli’s brother so I was pleased to get the opportunity to head back to this world and catch up with what is happening.

This one is a little slow to get moving – the cafe next to Stella’s shop catches fire and although her shop doesn’t burn it does take quite a bit of water damage from the fire brigade putting out the fire. She hires Anna Morelli’s brother Luca to repair the shop as well as make some improvements – Luca has ‘ideas’ and together the two of them begin to plan a much better space whilst a simmering attraction starts between them.

Luca is 29 to Stella’s 35 and this is something that does preoccupy her. I’m almost the same age as Stella and I have to admit, I didn’t find it to be such a big deal? Perhaps because my husband is older than me, I don’t tend to view age gaps the same as many others might. But 6 years when both characters are around 30ish didn’t seem much at all. If Stella had been 45 and Luca 25, it might’ve been something I felt more easy for her to panic over. After all, when you stretch that far, people can be in very different life places….especially if the older character is female. By the time the guy gets to 30 and might think about wanting children, the woman is most likely going to find that difficult. When the situation is reversed, men can keep fathering children well into their senior years. I think in some ways it was trying to portray that being younger, Luca was often the one more settled, more ready for what was happening but this was occasionally spoiled by him storming off in a huff, getting angry over being jealous or becoming moody in a way that was just vaguely explained as being because he’s Italian. Also Anna refers to her brother as bella several times throughout this book which made me giggle. I’m assuming it’s supposed to be bello.

What I did really love about this book is the strong friendship between all of the women (well couples) that have each been previously featured in a book. They catch up frequently and share their lives and have girls nights (and guys nights, I’m assuming!) and in some cases, match make the not-yet-paired-up members. I also really liked the little side plot of Stella’s friend Summer and her finding of romance. Actually I think I would’ve liked to have read more about that! The women are all so closely-knit and their friendship is written in such a natural and genuine way. It makes this seem like a really lovely place to live, the sort of place you’d love to move to, even if just to be included in that sort of friendship group.

Stella had a pretty rough childhood and it’s definitely affected her into her adulthood, as well as the failed relationship that sent her fleeing back to Middle Point. She’s had to overcome quite a few knocks and she’s very determined and strong, but at the same time she does tend to have a streak of the vulnerable in her and she finds it very hard to trust. I felt as though Stella had quite a bit of justification to be as emotionally stunted as she was, even though it did make her at times, a little frustrating! She was stubborn, clinging onto this stuff from her childhood and allowing it to continue affecting her every day life but thankfully she did manage to take some steps towards letting it all go, as well as what happened with the relationship in her past, once she got over the idea that she might somehow be publicly humiliated in some way and that it would change people’s perceptions of her.

Despite a few niggles with this one (mostly personal – not seeing what the big deal was with the age and Stella needing to constantly tell herself to leave the young man alone etc) I did enjoy this story and I loved being back in this part of the world, catching up with the other couples and seeing what was going on in their lives. Victoria Purman has created a really nice community here and populated it with lovely people, the sort that you just enjoy being connected to.

7/10

Book #3 of 2016

AWWC2016

Hold On To Me is the first book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

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2 responses to “Review: Hold On To Me by Victoria Purman

  1. Deborah says:

    Great review! I enjoyed this as well!

  2. […] I did enjoy this story and I loved being back in this part of the world, catching up with the other couples and seeing what was going on in their lives. Victoria Purman has created a really nice community here and populated it with lovely people, the sort that you just enjoy being connected to. (Full review here). […]

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