On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.
Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?
Today, I am thrilled to be taking my turn on the blog tour for Coming Home To Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Simon and Schuster for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I’ll admit upfront that I am a massive fan of Holly Hepburn’s writing, I’ve read all of her previous books. Not sure whether that means I am pre-disposed to enjoy her books or have high expectations that are waiting to be dashed, either way, I loved this book just as much, if not more, than her previous novels.
Poor Merry. The opening scene of the book makes for agonising reading when you put yourself in her shoes, and meant I was firmly on her side from the very beginning, praying for things to work out for her. I was so glad she took the first, brave step to uproot herself from everything familiar and make the change that deep down she knows she needs to shake things loose. Because the main thing I love about this book is that, despite the fact this is a romance, Merry is someone who sorts out her own issues and doesn’t rely on a man or a relationship to do it for her. I really loved her as a character, she felt very relatable to me, which made it very easy for me to lose myself in her journey, both actual and emotional, in the pages of this book.
That’s not to say that men don’t play a part in the book, they obviously do. In fact, Merry has the choice of a Viking boatbuilder and a Clark-Kent-lookalike librarian to choose from, and I’m not sure which one I would pick if I were her. (Could I have one for weekdays and another for weekends perhaps?) And then of course, an old flame rears his ugly head for who knows what reason, so there is plenty of romantic tension to keep readers happy.
On top of all this, the book is alive with descriptions of the beautiful islands of Orkney and the close-knit community that Merry finds there. Holly brings all of the scenery and history and food of the islands to the pages of the book and allows us to discover them along with Merry, and fall in love with the place, just as she does. Like me, I am sure you will be wondering how soon you can jump on a tiny plane and fly off to explore them for yourselves (not soon enough is the answer.)
If you are looking for a wonderful piece of escapist reading, written with real warmth and charm and a keen eye for the detail that really brings a book to life, look no further, this is the book for you.
Coming Home to Brightwater Bay is out now in ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here.
Please be sure to check out the rest of the tour as detailed below:
About the Author