#Review – The Summer of New Beginnings by Helen Rolfe (@HJRolfe) @RNATweets #tuesnews

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They say trouble comes in threes…

Headstrong and organised, Mia is a single mum who wants to fix the world – but the one thing she can’t fix is her family. Responsible older brother Will has fled Primrose Bay, unable to forgive and forget after the ultimate betrayal. And Jasmine, no longer the wayward baby sister, is determined to prove to her brother and sister that she’s just as capable as they are.

Together in the bay after years apart and a separation spanning three continents, it doesn’t take long for the siblings to clash when Mia calls everyone together in a family crisis. And with jealousy and resentment simmering between them, as well as faces from the past and new loves, the family ties could end up being severed forever.

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in order to find each other again…

What does TWG think?

I would like to start by saying a MASSIVE congratulations to Helen Rolfe as today is the publication day for her seventh novel, The Summer of New Beginnings! It feels like yesterday that I was helping Helen reveal the cover of her new book, and now it’s available for all of you to buy! Luckily for me, I got to read this a week or so ago, although I now wish I could read it for the first time again..

If anyone can turn around and say that they get on with EVERY single member of their family, then my name is Snow White. Seriously though, we all have skeletons in our closets when it comes to the relationships we have with members of our families, but no matter what, there are just some family members that we would always bend over backwards to help. Regardless of how much they have annoyed us. Am I right? Obviously a lot of circumstances are excluded! If you’ve cut ties with a family member due to something more serious than them pinching a bag of your cheese and onion crisps, then what I just said is completely irrelevant, you catch my drift though, right?

Will, Mia and Jasmine are what I call ‘typical siblings’, however their feuds and frosty relationships seemed to have lasted a lot longer than anticipated. Especially seeing as they can’t be in the same room together without re-creating their own version of Jeremy Kyle. Yes, their rows are THAT bad according to each other. The thing is, one sibling thinks one thing, another one thinks something completely different, and the third one is a mini Tasmanian devil. Lets just say that Will, Mia and Jasmine have led completely different lives over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the lack of communication. By communication I mean talking at a level that doesn’t require protective ear equipment.

Mia is the worrier of the family; as a single mum who had her daughter at a young age, Mia has spent so many years putting other people’s needs before her own and that has left her feeling lost. How can Mia calm down and be a bit selfish for once?

Will is the manly man. Having moved away when unsightly things hit the fan, Will has been living in his own bubble for more years than he cares to remember. What he doesn’t seem to realise though, is how his actions and bubble are hurting those around him. After all, he wouldn’t know that would he? Seeing as he refuses to acknowledge anything else but THAT….

Ahhhh Jasmine. No, not Princess Jasmine (although if she had half the chance, a flying carpet would be top of her ‘to buy’ list). Often as the youngest of the family, it is incredibly easy to get side lined and for family members to assume that, seeing as you’re young, you need siblings (well, one in particular), as a bodyguard. Assumptions…hmmm. I’ve always been told that if you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me. Who’d have thought it?

I think I pay WAYYY more attention to the individual characters than I should. It’s as though I dissect their personalities as the storyline unfolds. It’s a habit I’ll admit, but it’s one that won’t be changing any time soon! All three siblings had traits that annoyed the muffins out of me, I just wanted to shake them and help them see sense. Easy for an outsider to say that though, isn’t it? When Mia called her family back to the bay due to an out of character family crisis, I wasn’t prepared for the family war that had appeared. So many years had passed with each of them holding onto pent-up anger, misunderstandings and sheer stubbornness, that when they were all together in a confined space, everything came spilling out at lightening speed. Will and Jasmine were able to up sticks and move away from the Bay, but not Mia. Could she have gone if she really wanted to? I did wonder that, but as a single mum myself, waking up one morning and deciding that you’re going to start a life somewhere else, is severely outlandish.

I absolutely adored ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ as it was incredibly realistic and relatable. Many of us will read the storyline and nod our heads to circumstances that unfold within the book, due to the similarity of our own lives. I have read many of Helen Rolfe’s novels and whilst she always manages to leave me pleasantly satisfied upon completion of every novel, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ hit home in a way that none of her previous novels have done before. Tackling a storyline which involves copious amounts of secrets, overlapping situations and bucketful’s of emotion, requires a lot of talent to be able to pull the storyline off, without losing any of the poignancy and overall concept. Helen Rolfe has that talent and she has pulled the storyline off with such ease and power; I truly am amazed at what she has managed to achieve with her new novel.

‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ is an outstanding portrayal of family life, as well as laying bare the secretive truths which often remain unknown behind close doors. This book is by far Helen Rolfe’s best book to date due to her refreshing, powerful and fantastically written storyline. It wasn’t all ‘he said, she said’ and arguments don’t get me wrong! No, it was also a book full of hope, trust and being aware of your own true feelings. When things get too much we often lash out at those who know us best, and that often includes us lashing out at ourselves. Thanks to the authors black and white tale of an imperfect lifestyle, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ highlights the importance of taking a step back and….breathing.

A truly outstanding novel, ‘The Summer of New Beginnings’ is my favourite book of Helen Rolfe’s so far. Fantastic! A well deserved 5*; if I could give it more stars I would!

Thanks so much Helen.

You too can get your hands on a copy of Helen Rolfe’s new novel right now from Amazon UK

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