After the tragic death of their only child, Lola and Duncan Drummond’s last chance to regain their lost happiness and rebuild their marriage lies in a trip to America. Day tripping in the heart of California’s wine region, the couple stumble across a derelict house in Napa Valley that’s crying out for love and attention.
It’s a far cry from their life in the Somerset village they call home, but Lola immediately falls for the house and shows the first spark of enthusiasm since the death of Clarissa. Unable to talk about Clarissa, Duncan reaches out to his wife in the only way he knows how, buying the house in the hope that the renovation project will bring both Lola and their relationship back to life.
As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go, helped along the way by her new Californian friends including easy going blond and blue-eyed project manager, Cain McCann. He may be 10 years younger than Lola, but his surfer good looks and easy charm work wonders, and soon Lola finds herself opening up for the first time in years.
Unbeknown to Lola, back at home her life with Duncan has begun to fall apart. Still emotionally scarred from his daughter’s death, Duncan starts to lose deal after deal in his high flying London job. Finding release in a series of one night stands, Duncan convinces himself he still loves Lola and promises himself that each infidelity will be the last…until he meets Saskia.
As Duncan and Lola get caught up in a series lies and indiscretions, drifting into the arms of others, will they be able to untangle their relationship or will the distance tear them apart?
Today I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for author Colette Dartford's debut novel 'Learning to Speak American'! The novel is released today, November 5th, as an e-book by Twenty7, and the paperback version will follow in 2016. The book was actually a quarter finalist in Amazon's First Novel Prize and as soon as I saw the cover it grabbed my attention. It reminds me of lovely sunny days and gorgeous landscape views, and I think all of us can use a bit of warming up now the days are getting both colder and shorter! As a part of the blog tour I also have a character study from Colette Dartford to share with all of you today, so be sure to not miss it by just scrolling down!
Lola and Duncan Drummond have been married for over twenty years, but ever since the tragic death of their daughter Clarissa things haven't been the same between them. In order to try and fix things, Duncan takes Lola on a trip to California, far away from their daily lives in England. Against expectations, Lola falls in love with an abandoned house in the woods of Napa Valley and Duncan decides to buy it in the hope it will bring both Lola and their marriage back to life. However, Lola's passion for the renovation of the house and her new Californian friends on the one hand and Duncan's troubles at work and with dealing with the past on the other, only cause the rift between them to become even bigger. Will they be able to save their marriage or is it time to admit defeat?
'Learning to Speak American' is Colette Dartford's debut novel and a book that is slightly based on her own experiences. I really liked the setting of the book; the differences between the Somerset village and the American life in Napa Valley really shone through in the writing and I loved the detailed descriptions that made it easy to imagine everything. Each chapter of the novel is told from one character's perspective, mainly the two protagonists Duncan and Lola, providing the reader with a chance to really see what the characters are thinking and feeling. There are quite a number of secrets being kept and it was interesting to see how specifically Lola and Duncan dealt with certain things and communicated with each other and the people around them.
It took a bit of time before I really got into this novel, because I wasn't quite sure where the storyline was going to go and I had a bit of difficulty reading and warming to the characters. Duncan and Lola have experienced something truly tragic and they are both trying to find their own way to move on. I did feel for Lola, but somehow I couldn't connect to Duncan, not even in the slightest way. I was, however, intrigued by their story and wondered how it would all eventually end. Overall, I did enjoy reading 'Learning to Speak American'; it was an engaging, well-written, and quite heavy women's fiction read; one that held my attention throughout and certainly a promising start to Colette Dartford's writing career!
Learning to Speak American by Colette Dartford is out now and is £3.99 on Amazon.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.