Book Review: My Summer of Magic Moments by Caroline Roberts
We meet Claire, our heroine, while on a holiday at a small Northumberland town. She’s just come through her battle of breast cancer, but not without some emotional baggage. Other than the usual emotional turmoil that goes with fighting cancer, her husband waited until she received the all clear health-wise before he broke the news that he wanted a divorce.
Anyway, Claire decides to spend three weeks in a cottage by the seaside to recover. The cottage proves to be quite rundown but it does a lovely outlook, and not only of the water. Claire’s neighbour, it turns out, has a tendency to swim naked and Claire is quite impressed with the view.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Claire and her neighbour, Ed, eventually go down a romantic path. Actually, I should probably remove the word ‘eventually’. Claire and Ed seem to go from saying hello in passing to kissing passionately quite abruptly. It wasn’t awful, but I wasn’t completely sold on the whole thing. It needed more a build up for me.
I would have liked to have read more plot conflict in the book other than Ed. I didn’t think the ex-husband or the cancer were used to their fullest in this respect.
The cancer too is not used enough. It’s mentioned with regards to raising money towards its cure, and the fear of its return, but I would have recommended a few flashbacks to the actual treatment and more of Ed’s reaction to the scars it left on her body.
Instead, there are large chunks of the book devoted to describing mundane activities such as Claire baking bread, moving house, and participating in a charity run. I didn’t mind this during the first few chapters but after a while I found myself skimming.
I also need to touch slightly on Claire’s age. She is supposedly thirty. Everything about her had me thinking she was quite a bit older. Now, I know young women get cancer too, but I just found that the way she was written seemed to point towards her being more in her mid- to late-forties. I do wonder if Roberts wrote the character older originally and an editor or publisher in their ‘wisdom’ made the change.
Overall, I liked the book, but didn’t love it. 3 out of 5