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Review of 'A Summer of Second Chances' - Carol Thomas

Does first love deserve a second chance?

Ava Flynn sometimes feels like the clothes donated to her charity shop have seen more life than her, but ‘maximum dedication for a minimal wage’ is what it takes to keep her mother’s beloved wildlife charity, All Critters Great and Small, running – especially in the village of Dapplebury, where business is certainly not booming.

But when Ava’s first love, Henry Bramlington, returns to the village, suddenly life becomes a little too eventful. Henry escaped Dapplebury many years before, but now he has the power to make or break the village he left behind – All Critters Great and Small included. Can Ava trust the boy who ran away to give both her and her charity a second chance?

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This is the perfect book to read on a lazy summer's day. The leads are likeable characters who are ably supported by the other people in their lives. The scene with the confusion over the charity shop's window display for Mother's Day had me crying with laughter. It reminded me of the time my dad bought a weight loss machine with a vibrating belt. He kept telling everyone he'd bought a vibrator and couldn't understand why we were all laughing so much.

Henry and Ava have a shared past but they also have the weight of family history and expectations on their shoulders. Throughout the book they feel their way through that history, which adds to the 'will they-won't they' of the genre, but ultimately everyone ends up with the right person. This book is the perfect accompaniment for a glass of something cold in the garden and captures the spirit of the English village at its best. The village fair Ava organises could be one of hundreds I've been to in the English countryside and Carol Thomas captures that air of magic summoned up at such events. Henry's surprise event is simply the icing on the cake.

There was a plot twist halfway through that I didn't see coming and at first it felt a bit like I'd been thrown a curve ball, but as I looked back over the first half of the story, it made perfect sense in the context of the plot and it actually served to make a very important point about being yourself. This idea of being who you are rather than who you think you should be is a central concept of the book. Both Henry and Ava are struggling with parental expectations against the people they want to be. Ultimately, the message is very clear: just be yourself and everything else will fall into place.

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a primary school teacher for over twenty years and has a passion for reading, writing and people watching. When she is not in school, chasing after her children, or stopping her dog from eating things he shouldn’t, she can be found loitering in cafes drinking too much tea and working on her next book.

Aside from her school and local cafes, Carol can also be tracked down in the following places:

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Don't forget to check out the rest of Carol's Blog Tour - full details are below.

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Jun 06, 2021

Thank you for being part of my blog tour and for the great review. I am so pleased you enjoyed A Summer of Second Chances. xx

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