All The Books I Can Read

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Blog Tour Review: The House Of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond

on February 21, 2017

house-of-new-beginningsThe House Of New Beginnings
Lucy Diamond
Pan Macmillan AUS
2017, 471p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher}:

Number eleven, Dukes Square is a white-painted Regency house near the seafront, with elegant bow windows and a winding staircase. Behind the front door, it’s also a place of new beginnings for the tenants who call it home.

A shocking revelation sent Rosa running from London to start over as a sous chef. The work is grueling but it’s a distraction at least…until she comes up against the stroppy teenager next door who challenges her on her lifestyle choices. What if Rosa’s passion for food could lead her to more interesting places?

Having followed her childhood sweetheart to Brighton, Georgie is busily carving out a new career in journalism. Throwing herself into the city’s delights is fun and exciting, but before she knows it she’s sliding headlong into all kinds of trouble….

Nursing a devastating loss, Charlotte just wants to keep her head down and get through the days. But Margot, the glamorous older lady on the top floor, has other ideas. Like it or not, Charlotte must confront the outside world, and the possibilities it still holds.

As the three tenants find each other, hope surfaces, friendships blossom and a whole new chapter unfolds for them all. The House of New Beginnings is a moving and uplifting novel from bestselling author Lucy Diamond.

This is the first Lucy Diamond novel I’ve ever read and I was told to expect good things so I had some pretty high expectations going in. It didn’t take me long at all to be completely hooked on the story and all of the characters living in the house.

All three of the main characters, Georgie, Rosa and Charlotte have found themselves in Brighton either due to escape (Rosa and Charlotte) or moving because of someone else (Georgie). Rosa discovered a horrible secret about her partner and fled, jacking in her job and devoting herself to cooking. Only there’s more chopping of vegetables than there is cooking and it’s clear that Rosa is not living up to her potential. Her job is merely that, another job and not something that fulfills her or that she loves. Charlotte suffered a heartbreaking, terrible loss and now her main goal is just to get through each day without delving into the secret box she hides. She fills her days with work and her nights with a strict rota of housework, keeping her busy. And Georgie, the youngest, followed her boyfriend Simon, not wanting to be separated from him for six months. However, her decision could possibly lead to the end of their relationship, not its saving.

The women are all very different but through a variety of incidents and interactions, end up building a really incredible friendship, both with each other and also with others in the building. Charlotte befriends Margot, the French lady in her 80s that lives on the top floor and is surprised when Margot takes it upon herself to “gift” Charlotte the most extraordinary things. Of all the characters, Charlotte’s story is by far the most heartbreaking. She’s really suffering and it’s possible that she didn’t even realise how much she needed people to help her break out of that routine of just “existing” and to start “living” until it began to happen. Slowly she lets go of her strict cleaning routine that keeps her busy because she has more things to fill her nights. She begins to heal. It’s not something that she’ll ever get over, but the wound is no longer so raw.

Rosa is a lot of fun and the relationship that she builds with Bea, the sulky teenage daughter of a woman in the building ended up being one of the novel’s highlights for me. Friendships between adults and teenagers are difficult to write without the teenager seeming unrealistically benevolent or the adult seeming really desperate. But Lucy Diamond does manage this with Rosa and Bea – it’s not all smooth sailing but slowly, they get there. Bea also challenges Rosa as well, making her think about her career and her future and whether or not what she’s really doing is what she should be doing. Rosa also helps Bea feel more secure, like there’s some stability when her mother is in hospital. Bea feels that her father doesn’t want her and in turn, he doesn’t know how to deal with her hostility. Rosa is a calming influence on both.

I really loved both Rosa and Charlotte’s stories – both underwent a lot of character development and really gained strength and confidence and a lot of that was due to the friendships they made and the interactions with other people living in the same house. I enjoyed Georgie’s story less but not because of Georgie herself. I loved Georgie and I found her to be the sort of person that you wished you were friends with – who pops around with a drink or calls you up to do fun things like roller skating. But I felt like more could’ve been done to develop the character of Simon, her boyfriend. He’s absent for quite a lot of the book and when he’s present, he acts like a bit of a dill at times. I understand that he was presented with a large opportunity and was really determined it happen but at times he seemed to treat Georgie quite shabbily and looked down on her and some of her choices. She took a low paying job in order to follow him to Brighton, to be with him and he’s kind of judgemental about it. Georgie really makes it work however and I feel like he was a bit horrible to her and should’ve done more in person to apologise for being a mostly terrible boyfriend during their time there.

But that’s a small quibble really because I adored this book. It was just so easy to sink into these people’s lives and become invested and I really enjoyed the way almost everything played out. I’m definitely going to be reading more of Lucy Diamond.

9/10

Book #31 of 2017

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One response to “Blog Tour Review: The House Of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond

  1. Deborah says:

    I felt the same about Simon… he seemed like a bit of a prick for most of the book! Loved all of the other characters though!

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