The Wedding Promise is a lovely story which follows Shelly and her family as she renovates a villa in Spain, a place she and her husband Gerry have always loved. Shelly moves to Spain at a time when there is so much going on in her family: her daughter Leila has just had a baby, her son Jake is having problems in his work and personal life and Shelly herself is dealing with a huge shock. Will the move to Spain be a new beginning for them all?
Although this book is set over the course of a year it has a really summery feel to it with its Spanish setting. Rondilla, where Casa Maria is, is based on Ronda in the hills high above Marbella. It’s a place I’ve visited a couple of times myself and I felt that the author really captured the beauty of the town. Her descriptions of the town and the villa combined with the heat certainly put me in the mood to visit this beautiful area again.
Emma Hannigan has also created characters who are easy to identify with and to like. I particularly liked Leila who was struggling to cope with her new baby and feeling like such a failure. I think that any mum will recognise her worries and insecurities that she couldn’t cope and it will take them back to that scary time when you are coping with a new baby for the first time. The confusion felt by Jake as he faced a career crisis was well depicted. Shelly’s coping with a unexpected crisis in her family was sensitively covered and felt like a very realistic portrayal of the range of emotions she would feel. Her love and concern for her close-knit family came across really clearly throughout the book.
I’m not sure that I’ve read many of Emma Hannigan’s novels before (apart from Driving Home for Christmas) but I really enjoyed this and will definitely be reading more in future. It was a lovely, feel-good read about second chances, exploring all kinds of emotional events in the life of this family, both happy and sad. The author has a talent for creating really enjoyable storylines which don’t shy away from dealing with the emotional traumas but which are also uplifting.
My thanks to Frances Gough at Headline for my review copy of the book. It is currently available as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 29th June. You can order the ebook online here: The Wedding Promise
From the back of the book
Restoring a Spanish villa brings Shelly back to the place she and her husband once loved, fulfilling the promise he made that they would return. But as plans to transform the villa into a romantic wedding venue take shape, Shelly discovers her children may need the move more than she does.
Her son Jake has begun to question the things he values most: his career as a pilot, his relationship with his girlfriend. Could Spain offer him the change he’s seeking? Shelly’s daughter Leila arrives with a new-born baby in tow, but then hears some startling news she wasn’t expecting. As Casa Maria takes its first booking, will it turn out to be more than a romantic promise made all those years ago? Perhaps a second chance at new beginnings?