"Summer Daydreams" by Carole Matthews

Nell McNamara has settled comfortably in her life, living with her boyfriend Olly and four-year-old daughter Petal while working at the local chip shop.  She loves her family, friends, and where she lives.  But times are tough and she and Olly are working opposite shifts trying to make ends meet.  

When it becomes evident the chip shop is in desperate need of a makeover, Nell takes on the task herself, unleashing the creativity inside her.  With her boss and co-workers cheering her on, she wonders if maybe she was meant for more than dishing up chips.  And so she follows her dream and designs a line of unique, must-have handbags.

Almost instantly, the line takes off and Nell finds herself thrust in the fashion world.  But it soon becomes evident that she doesn't know very much about running her business.  And with Olly wanting their old life back, Nell may be in over her head.  

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews is a delightful novel about chasing your dreams and finding out that they're not always what they're made out to be.

I found this at the bookstore and was instantly drawn to the cover.  And I found the book to be as sweet and darling as the cover.  As Nell gets swept up in her own daydreams, the reader gets swept up in the book.  Books like these are great for just what the title says, summer daydreams.

I always love reading books about creative types who change their lives doing what they love - maybe it's because I'm not very artistic so I get to live through them?  This book hit the spot for that.  I also loved the small town setting with the local purse, market, and chip shop.  I'm a big city girl who loves reading about small towns.  As well, the relationship between Nell and Olly made the characters so endearing, just like their little daughter Petal.

However, there were a few things story-wise that didn't make this a runaway smash for me.  I felt as though Nell's business all took off a little too fast.  I'm not saying the length of the book needed to be longer to draw out the process, but it all seemed a little too good and too quick to be believable.  It felt as the author was trying to put too much into the story.  Thankfully for me, just when I was starting to get annoyed by this as well as some of Nell's behaviour, the part of the story that takes place in the US came along to keep me reading and had me laughing and loving what I was reading.

This is the first book I have read by Carole Matthews.  I have come across her books many times before but for some reason I have passed them over.  I'm glad that I picked this one up.  Though I found it to be a little far-fetched, it's a great novel to escape with in the warm weather.  I won't be passing over her books anymore.


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