Since it’s paperback publication day, I thought I’d reshare my review of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer. I was on the blogtour when it came out earlier this year as an ebook and really enjoyed it. Read on to find out my thoughts.
The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is such a feel-good story! Lucy has always felt something of a disappointment to her mother compared to her high-flying sister Emily. Emily seems to have it all – fabulously successful career, two beautiful daughters, a gorgeous house and an equally successful and handsome husband. Lucy by contrast, is single, works in a small toy company, lives in a tiny flat and spends her time with her elderly neighbour Brenda or knitting life size celebrities. Talking of her knitting creations, who wouldn’t want a life size Poldark?
There are three main strands to this story, all equally enjoyable. First of all, is the friendship between Lucy and Brenda. This was so wonderfully drawn and very touching. Brenda is known for her home-made herbal remedies, giving relief to neighbours and friends. She is so perceptive and can see what people need often before they even know it themselves. She can see that Lucy is a young woman whose talents and personal qualities aren’t always recognised by others or indeed by Lucy herself. She wants Lucy to be as happy as she was in her marriage to her late husband Jim. To give Lucy a bit of a nudge in the right direction, she gives her a very special locket and this leads to the second strand of the story.
This locket has more than a touch of magic about it. Only certain people can open the locket, Lucy being one of them, and inside are engraved some words. By following these words, Lucy might just find her true love. Brenda is convinced that this will be her grumpy and handsome new neighbour George but Lucy isn’t so sure! However, something about the locket convinces her to at least give the magic a go.
The locket seems to give Lucy more confidence than she usually has and this is the third strand of the story and the one which I perhaps enjoyed the most. It was lovely to see Lucy finally begin to develop that confidence in herself, to have the courage to stand up to people and put her ideas forward. Whether this was the result of the locket’s magic or Lucy’s own self-belief, who can say, but as she begins to come out her shell, life certainly started to change round about her.
The three main themes of this book all knit together beautifully, as beautifully as one of Lucy’s celebrity creations. It is a poignant read at times, particularly as Brenda becomes more confused with dementia and the way Lucy looks after her was so touching. It is a very romantic read but also a terrific story of a young woman beginning to grow confident that she is important, valued and loved just the way she is. A wonderfully uplifting debut novel from an author I’m be watching out for in the future.
My thanks to publishers Avon for my copy of the book via Netgalley. The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is available now as a paperback or ebook. You should find the paperback at your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: Amazon UK or Amazon US.
From the back of the book
Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours and unlikely friends.
Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.
79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.
Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…
The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.
About the author
Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.
Social Media Links
Website – https://jennikeer.co.uk/