Published: 6th April 2017 (Paperback)
Publisher: Little Brown
Christie Chapman is a single mum who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It’s not an easy life but Christie finds comfort in her love of crafting, and spends her spare time working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed cards to personalised gifts, Christie’s flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it’s not long before opportunity comes knocking. Christie can see a future full of hope and possibility for her and Finn – and if the handsome Max is to be believed, one full of love too. It’s all there for the taking. And then, all of sudden, her world is turned upside down.
Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a review copy.
The narrative begins at five thirty in the morning with Christine, the main character instantly introducing readers into her life with her honest thoughts and casual wit about her life as a forty-something single Mum of a fifteen year old school boy. As she takes readers into her day-to-day commute from Wolverhampton into London, we’re given a heart warming insight into her life as she thinks about her love for crafts, her smooth sailing divorce and her constant thought about how set in stone her day-to-day business is. Carole makes sure that Christine’s relationship with her parents is shown a lot throughout the plot, which I personally really liked as it allowed readers to see the full works of her family life and how they all come together as a strong unit. In near enough every chapter, Christine talks about her passion for crafts – from making anniversary cards for her boss Robyn, to birthday cards for friends to entering a competition which may change her world for the better. I thoroughly enjoyed Christine’s voice from the opening chapter as Carole captivates her as such an independent woman and I was certainly looking forward to how her story would pan out in front of my eyes.
“You can rely on paper hearts much more than love struck ones.”
When it comes to love, Christine hasn’t had a relationship since her divorce from her high school sweetheart and yet within a matter of weeks, two different men come strolling into her life. Henry is a single parent, away from his daughter while he works in the South and yet, that doesn’t stop him from being a content person; with his early morning upbeat voice, his confidence to talk to a stranger on their commute into London and his kind personality of sharing healthy breakfast foods; he certainly ticked all the boxes for someone like Christine. When she is giving a wonderful opportunity to expand her love for crafts, she meets Max, a handsome Daniel Craig look-a-like who has a fancy CEO title ahead of an American business but with only Skype calls and the odd email, can Christine move across the globe to Washington for a new man?
“No one has ever looked at me like that. I don’t think I’ve ever truly loved or have been loved.”
Once Christine returns home from Washington, her life changes overnight and the plot erupts with some shocking news about her son. Despite the horribly emotional news, I liked the fact that Carole showed both Christine and her family unit pull together through such a traumatic time in the lives; it portrayed their strength and bond perfectly which was captivated beautifully with such easy flowing sentences. As the dark times passed, light was certainly found at the end of the tunnel as everything seemed to fall into place for Christine; her family were in a good place, her hobby was made into three wonderful, separate yet manageable jobs and her love life was taking a turn for the better (or so the readers all hoped, because lets face it – Max was the only man for her!).
“Very few people are lucky enough to get it right first time. You’ll love, you’ll lose, you’ll lick your wounds and you’ll love again.”
I picked up Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses when I was in a reading slump; no plots were capturing my imagination and I was struggling to read for a few weeks but when this book landed on my Kindle, I began reading it immediately and for two days, it was all I thought about. This is, by far, my favourite book of Carole’s; her characters were absolutely fantastic, they were realistic and their personalities were all so wonderful and life like. What I really liked was that nobody was portrayed as the bad guy – not her ex-husband or her boss/friend who delivered some unexpected news, nobody was cast away and for once, that was quite refreshing. The narrative itself flowed from one chapter to another and as the chapters weren’t particularly long, I found myself flying through the book, completely captivated by Christine and her world. In terms of the romance side of the plot, it was ever so slightly obvious as to what would happen with our leading lady and gentlemen but that didn’t stop me from cheering in the corner because they truly were perfect for one another. Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses was a complete dream to read and I truly loved every single page.