Book review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

18 Jul

summer of serendipityOne summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.

‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there’s always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor.

While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she’s remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel.

But will she ever discover the real truth behind the mysterious ‘Welcome House’? Or will the house cast its magical spell over Ren and help her to find true happiness?

The escapist, magical stories that Ali McNamara creates are always lovely reads and I look forward to her next book each year. This year, Ali takes us back to Ireland (her previous novel, Breakfast at Darcy’s was also set there) and amidst the beautiful scenery of The Ring of Kerry, Ali conjures up mystery, magic and romance for an excellent summer read.

I love the word ‘serendipity’ but I’ve never come across a character named it until now. Serendipity Parker prefers to be known as Ren and is a successful business woman, having found her talent for seeking out and finding special houses for her clients. The Summer of Serendipity sees Ren and her assistant Kiki heading to Ireland to look for a dream home for one of Ren’s clients.

Ren and Kiki are a great pair and they made me laugh throughout the book. Ren is the more serious and considered of the pair with Kiki frequently getting her words mixed up and taking the wrong meaning with often hilarious results. Kiki is also the romantic of the pair and I felt like I knew her well straight away. Ren is more mysterious and I enjoyed how Ali fed in little thoughts and comments that made me wonder about Ren’s past.

The mystery doesn’t stop there though as Ren and Kiki explore they begin to learn about the legends and stories that tell of the land surrounding them. With beautiful lakes, historical places and larger than life locals, I loved reading about Ballykiltara and the surrounds and being swept up into the story as Ren tries to find the owner of the mysterious Welcome House. Ali’s love of Ireland is apparent throughout the book and the descriptions are lush!

Fans of Ali’s previous books will enjoy a little update on some of her previous characters. This books is a standalone story but if you like it I’d highly recommend checking out Breakfast at Darcy’s (and all of Ali’s other books of course!)

I love stories with magic in them and The Summer of Serendipity has plenty of that. Ali draws upon real legends and stories to create her own special blend of Celtic magic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading as both Ren and Kiki went on their adventures and were drawn into trying to unravel the secrets that surround them.

The Summer of Serendipity is another warm and funny love story from Ali and I highly recommend escaping with it this summer.

4/5

The Summer of Serendipity is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Ali and her writing at: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk/

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