Spring at Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett Book Review

lavenGoodReads/Amazon Rating: ★★☆☆☆

So during my quest to win a Mini from the McDonalds Monopoly, I ended up winning a NowTV 3-month subscription (perfect for Game of Thrones season), a 3-month Kindle unlimited subscription as well as 3 free Kindle e-books through their online codes. This happened to be one of the ones I selected as I’d been having a rough week and had fallen into a mini-depressed slump. I wanted something light, happy and predictable. This was exactly that. It had characters in it that maintained very predictable storylines and stuck to a seemingly anticlimactic plot-line. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing negative about that. Sometimes it’s really nice to select a book that has a pretty straightforward idea and switch your mind off for a couple of hours. Currently I have been reaching to read a lot of murder-mystery/psychological thrillers etc. so it was nice to go for a different genre.

Though this review is not completely positive, I’d like the preface that the reason I ended up feeling quite unimpressed by this book is mainly due to the fact there was an extensive amount of typos throughout the book. I never get bothered by one or two, due to the fact that editors are humans too, but I kept finding one after the other. It felt extremely rushed and I found myself feeling like I had been reading a first draft instead of a completed novel.

GoodReads Summary:

A season for change…?
Beth Reynolds loved growing up close to Eleanor’s Emporium – a bric-a-brac shop full of wonders on Lavender Bay. Devastated to learn that Eleanor has died, she returns home from London immediately and is shocked to discover that the elderly lady has left the shop to her!
Vowing to restore it to its former glory, she only intends to stay until the end of the season. Although the longer she spends in the colourful seaside town, the more she falls back in love with everything she left behind…and quite possibly, with her best friend Eliza’s older brother, local chef Sam Barnes!
Why didn’t she notice he was quite this gorgeous before? And will their spring fling be enough to convince her to stay?

The blurb pretty much covers the whole plot-line. It reminded me a little bit of a few trailers for new releases I have been seeing recently where everything is told to you throughout those 2-and-a-half minutes. Just by reading that blurb, and now the book, I feel like it has already told me everything. Coincidentally enough, this leads into how I felt about the writing style. It felt cinematic…and not in the way that the term is normally used for. I felt in some paragraphs that the writing was almost portraying the plot as a film, fading away from specific scenes and making all of the romantic scenes very unrealistic and perfect. Again, not necessarily a negative thing, but just something I found interesting while reading. I felt like the author could almost envision the book becoming a movie and that’s how the dialogue and descriptions ended up sounding like.

I love the cover. In general, I love the collection of covers that Sarah Bennett has for most of her series. The colours are very bright and sweet and portray the spirit of the small village very well. I love English villages to be completely honest. There is something so wholesome and free about travelling to smaller villages and breathing the fresh air in, visiting all the town shops and restaurants/cafes. It’s completely different from big cities like Leeds and London.

There were problematic parts of the book for me in regards to how they were handled. Some of Sam’s descriptions of Beth weren’t extremely…elegantly-worded in comparison to some of the other parts where he talks about his feelings for her. The narrative switched so much between Beth and Sam and stayed predominantly with Sam most of the time that I struggled with realising who the protagonist. While we are introduced to Beth’s mother and previous partner they only appear twice in the actually story. Sam’s background and life is more developed and fleshed out, making him a more enjoyable character to read from.

(This isn’t exactly a spoiler, but there is a reference to a homeless character at some point that extremely irked me. Sam referred to him as a “poor, pathetic creature” and I had to put my kindle down for a day before returning to it.)

In conclusion, if you want something light, go for it. But overall, for me, it felt extremely rushed and I wish there had been a bit more time spent on working on a few of the chapters and scenes to rework them. I do feel a bit inclined to read the next one in the series because I enjoyed the writer’s ideas and characters and maybe it would be better.

Language & Style: 4 points
Story: 5 points
Characters: 5
Plot: 5

Total: 19 points out of 40

Favourite Quote: Lusting over the boy next door was not a sensible life plan, and that was what she needed.

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