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26 January 2015

Review: 'The Year of Taking Chances' by Lucy Diamond (2015)

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the following months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted - are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

At the end of 2014 I was quite looking forward to the start of the new year and particularly the start of a new set of twelve months, filled with wonderful books to read. I knew the year would be off to a great start with the release of Lucy Diamond's latest novel 'The Year of Taking Chances' which was released on the 1st of January by Pan Macmillan. I love Lucy Diamond; she's a brilliant author whose books I always enjoy, no exceptions. Her novel 'Me and Mr. Jones' was actually one of the very first review copies I received when I started this blog and I remember loving it from start to finish (click here to read my review). So, needless to say, I was incredibly happy when I found a review copy of this new release on my doorstep and couldn't wait to read it!

Gemma Bailey leads a happy life with her husband Spencer and their two children Will and Darcey. They want to share their happiness with others by organising a big New Year's Eve party in their home, and Gemma knows it'll be a night to remember. At the party, she meets Caitlin Fraser who is back in Larkmead after her beloved mother's death. She needs to clean up her mother's house, but without someone by her side to help she is dreading the task. Saffron, a PR executive, needed some peace and quiet in her life to make some important decisions, so decided to rent a holiday cottage in Larkmead for a few days. However, when the electricity stops working, she also finds herself at Gemma's party instead of alone in the cottage. The three women ring in the new year together, hoping it will bring them good things, but all of them will be forced to rethink their lives and make some important decisions, in various ways.

In my opinion, Lucy Diamond is one of the best chick lit authors around at the moment, and definitely one of my personal favourites. While reading 'Me and Mr. Jones' in 2013 I fell in love with her comfortable writing style and warm feel-good stories and I had high hopes for 'The Year of Taking Chances.' Of course, there was no need to worry because this book is once again a simply wonderful read. One of Lucy Diamond's absolute strengths is her ability to portray a cast of incredibly realistic and loveable characters. There are three great main female characters at the core of the story: Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron are fascinating, down-to-earth, normal women and I am sure every reader will manage to relate to at least one of them. There is also a great collection of secondary characters in the novel such as lovely and handsome Harry and crazy and eccentric Bunty, to name just two of them. Combined with a captivating storyline, I just didn't want to stop reading the book for even a second.

I personally loved that there were three separate stories to focus on, all starring a different female character, and how these storylines were also brought together. The book deals with various topics, and especially at the start of the new year I was inspired by how the characters face their struggles and dare to take chances. This novel left me with a big smile on my face and it's just a fantastic read. I can't remember reading a book during the past few months that made me smile like this and filled me with hope. I hope Lucy Diamond will continue to write tons of books, because I can honestly say I don't think I will ever get enough of her stories. Overall, 'The Year of Taking Chances' is a brilliantly well-written, warm, feel-good read which I loved absolutely everything about; a fabulous read to start a new year with, but just as great to pick up any other day of the year!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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