Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and gorgeous crush). It couldn’t be a more perfect setting to fall in love…
If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…
Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?
For just once in her life, can’t Hannah have one perfect summer, free of any drama?
What does TWG think?
I need to start this review with a little apology! I was lucky enough to receive Isabelle Broom’s new book ahead of publication date, (I did read it then too) so I am ever so sorry that I am just getting round to reviewing the book on my blog now!
Having devoured and absolutely ADORED Isabelle Broom’s previous novel, ‘A Year and a Day’, my excitement for her latest book reached its maximum level ten times over. Yes, I was THAT excited. There is just something so majestic about picking up an Isabelle Broom novel, allowing yourself to surrender to the beautiful words which have the depth, and power to be able to take you on a journey where the only guarantee is its beauty.
In the little Spanish village of Mojocar, Hannah and her colleagues are busy filming a documentary. Well, unless Hannah’s definition of ‘filming’ equals ‘oggling’ the boss, then yes, she is oh so busy filming! It was made clear from the onset that Hannah had a special connection to Mojocar; to be able to re-visit village years later, brought a lot of memories to the surface. Luckily for Hannah, she was able to use her work trip to her advantage and delve deeper into Mojocar’s heritage, finding out exactly why her connection with the village ran as deep as it did.
It took me a little while to be able to really gel with this storyline, as I struggled to find that vital piece of information to sink my teeth into. The ‘connection’ if you will. At times there seemed to be a lot of information gathering, scenery descriptions, character discussions, and a lot of me wondering where all of the above was heading. To be honest, the description of Mojocar was what kept my attention for the first part of the book. I am ashamed to admit that I never even knew that village existed; I thoroughly enjoyed being able to find out more about such a beautiful sounding village.
When Hannah’s half-sister, Nancy, appeared on the scene, that was when the storyline changed direction. I remember rubbing my hands together thinking, ‘drama, drama, drama’!! Up until then, the only side of the story I had heard was Hannah’s. Let’s just say that her opinions of her half-sister were not exactly glowing! Seriously, I thought that I was going to be introduced to a demon (slightly over dramatic, but y’know, my point is there!). As more of the storyline began to unfold, I got to know more about Nancy; I didn’t think that she was as bad as Hannah had made out. However, certain situations began to unravel and Hannah & Nancy’s relationship became more black and white, as opposed to rainbow.
Overall, ‘Then. Now. Always.’ is such a carefree, beautiful, and unique tale which highlights the importance of being true to yourself. I loved ‘watching’ Hannah’s personality evolve throughout the course of the book; it was incredible to see her start off as a duckling and grow into a beautiful swan. Yes, there were times where I couldn’t relate to the book as much as I would have liked to, but it didn’t ruin the storyline for me. Isabelle Broom’s stories and her outstanding descriptions of different countries, has turned her into my unofficial tour guide. I have never been abroad before, yet after reading this novel (as well as her others), I felt as though I had travelled to Spain and seen the sights for myself. Honestly. Every rock face, every lingering smell of the Spanish food and the surroundings, just every little detail of the country and the characters were described absolutely beautifully. I am still in awe at how one author can make her words jump off the page and turn into an image in my mind.
Another beautiful, and mesmerising read from the incredibly talented, Isabelle Broom.
Thank you Michael Joseph Books/Penguin.