Wow! Summer in the City, the new novel from Fiona Collin completely captured my heart. The beautiful story had me so immersed that it made me really resent having to get on with normal life – you know, like working, sleeping etc. – as all I wanted to do was hide away in the sun and read this evocative novel. I absolutely adored it as it made me fall in love with Prue, the central character (even though I was shouting at her at times as she was so frustrating). It also made me fall in love with London – sorry, but that is a feeling I have never experienced towards London before.
Summer in the City is a love story, but not in the traditional sense – it is a story about falling in love with London, about reconnecting and learning to love family again, and ultimately about learning to love yourself. Yet there is also the exciting ripple of the traditional love story that runs throughout the narrative, creating in my view, the ideal summer read.
Just writing this review is making me fall in love with this wry, bittersweet book all over again.
Forty-eight year old Prue just wants to hide away from life, and she is doing a good job of it too. Born with a birthmark on her left cheek, Prue believes she is so ‘ugly inside and out‘, she is ‘not good enough,’ and she is unlovable. It is fair to say that Prue has her defences up. With no friends she spends her life cooped up in an unusual London flat that she shares with Vince, her blind father. Trained architect Vince also lives with his own demons, and together father and daughter practically live in silence, ignoring the vibrant city right on their doorstep.
That is until something horrible happens, yet sets in motion a series of London adventures for Prue and Vince, giving them the chance to connect with their home city and also each other. Yet these adventures could lead to so much more, especially for Prue, if only she will let her defences down and really see the truth right before her.
I love this book for so many reasons. It is full of dry humour as Prue takes her dad ‘Grumpy Bollocks on Tour,’ with brilliantly shaped characters full of depth, flaws and compassion; and the sense of setting is so beautiful and powerful. The amount of architectural and historical detail that Fiona Collins uses to portray the London landmarks is so rich and evocative. I swear I just wanted to jump on a train to London and visit all the places for myself that Prue and Vince visit.
Another thing I loved about this book is that it made me remember just how much I loved Blondie. Reading Summer in the City had me dancing around the kitchen to Blondie, and because of this book I’ve now treated myself to a Parallel Lines t-shirt.
Thank you Fiona Collins for one of my favourite reads of the year. I just hope that my review has done this beautiful, tender book justice. Thank you also to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour of this great novel – it has been an absolute privilege. Thank you also for my advance copy in return for my honest review.
Summer in the City is released in paperback on 8th July, but is already available as an Ebook . To follow the blog tour and read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers, see below.
Happy reading everyone! 🙂