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Review of 'Summer at Sea Glass Cove' - Jenny Kane

I'm a big fan of Jenny's writing so when I saw she had another new book coming out, I was quite excited. I was also intrigued as it moves a little further away from her usual locations, so I knew it was going to be something a bit different. Having now read it, it is and it isn't. All the usual elements of Jenny's books are present - engaging and sympathetic lead characters, beautiful locations, an older couple who don't fulfil elderly stereotypes and a whole host of secondary characters with full lives and stories of their own to tell. What's different is that the book is set in Dorset, rather than Devon or Cornwall and that the main character's job is not one that is commonly found in books. Marine archaeology is quite a niche area, more commonly found in thrillers, but, as I discovered, it also works beautifully for a romcom series set on the Jurassic Coast.

Lauren is wary of getting involved in a relationship, while Ollie seems desperate for one, but for both of them, it is their work that is the root of the problem. Neither work in jobs that make relationships easy, so it was nice to see this being addressed and tackled, without either of them feeling the need to give up a career they clearly love. I think this is a really important message to send. I wrote a blog recently for International Women's Day about the need for positive literary role models for young women and they definitely have them in Lauren and Ollie. Yes, they both make mistakes, they are often clumsy in their attempts (or lack thereof) to communicate with each other, but neither expects the other to bend to their wishes and in the end, they come together to find a solution that works for them.

Similarly, Phil and Jules prioritise each other's happiness, but not at the expense of their own needs. Too often in books we see one person sacrificing themselves in order to make someone else happy and whilst this may work in fiction, in real life it is rarely the case. One of the beauties of Jenny's writing is that she takes these tropes and flips them on their head without ever losing the strong sense of genre. It's the main reason I come back to her books over and over again - the women are strong, even when they don't realise it and when the men are overbearing they are held to account, acknowledge their error (usually because it's been an action done with good intention) and change their behaviour. If only real life was like this!

Each time I get to the end of a series of Jenny's, I'm sorry to say goodbye to the characters and although I don't know if this is a standalone book, or the first in a new series (I hope it's the latter), I'm sure I will be equally sad to wave this set off when they go.

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