Then Now Always by Isabelle Broom – 4*s @Isabelle_Broom

then-now-always

 

Hannah Hodges can’t believe her luck when she’s offered a trip to sunny Spain with her best friend and dreamy boss . . . but what’s the catch?

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?

 

My Review

Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous books I was keen to get my hands on this latest, especially when I discovered it had an Andalucian setting (I’m a big hispanophile) While I’ve not been to Mojacar  in Almeria, I have experienced some of the other typical white villages elsewhere in Andalusia and this book certainly transported back. Isabelle Bloom certainly has the knack of perfectly evoking a sense of place and reading her books is akin to taking a mini- break – always a good thing.

In this book we follow Hannah as she returns to the Spanish town she first visited as a gauche and innocent teenager. This time round, she’s 28, but in all honesty still has a lot of growing up to do, as she’s still in some ways stuck in the past, especially where her family are concerned.  This time round her sights are set not on the local bar owner but her boss Theo. With the added encumbrances of  her friend Tom and presenter Claudette, thrown into the mix, things don’t always go to plan, as life has a nasty habit of getting in the way and doing its own thing.

I liked this book, not just for its idyllic setting and descriptions, but because of the way it blends life truths and reality into what is, on the face it, a fun romantic read. This gives the book an added dimension that lifts it above the formulaic will they/won’t they read, though it didn’t quite have the depth and emotion of A Year and a Day which remains my favourite read by this author.

The themes explored within the book are universal covering unrequited love, sibling rivalry, friendship, loss and regret. These are subjects we can all relate to on some level. For me though, I felt this was also a coming of age novel as we followed Hannah on her journey. Despite her age, she was in may ways still the petulant and selfish teenager she had been years earlier.  However her experiences over the summer see her grow up as she comes to understand her self, her friends and her family better. The Hannah at the end of the book, is certainly a more rounded and sympathetic individual than the one we went to Mojacar with. This is also largely due to her meeting Elaine, one of the expat inhabitants that featured in the documentary, she is one of the few older and wiser characters (showing my own age here) that added an additional emotive strand to the story.

This is an ideal escapist or holiday read, and although it’s probably aimed at a target audience younger than me it was still enjoyable. I can still remember and cringe at some of my own youthful indiscretions, so it was quite fun to watch from a distance the foibles of youth.

I received an ecopy via NetGalley for the purpose of writing this review.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Then Now Always by Isabelle Broom – 4*s @Isabelle_Broom

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