I’m delighted to be sharing my review today for Sophie Jenkins’ A Random Act of Kindness as part of the blogtour. This is a book I absolutely loved.
Fern works as a personal shopper in an upmarket department, a job she really enjoys, but when a random act of kindness towards an elderly gentleman results in her losing her position, she takes on a small market small in Camden selling vintage clothes. Although she loves the thrill of discovering a vintage piece and helping her customers find the perfect piece for them, this is just one more reason for her rather snobbish mother to be disappointed in her. The stallholder next to Fern is David, whose girlfriend, Gigi, Fern was at school with. David sells light boxes which are custom made with star sign constellations in them. Other characters include the wonderful Dinah who has the most amazing collection of vintage designer clothes, her husband Moss, a tailor who worked for the big fashion houses in his earlier years and Kim, recently widowed and coming to terms with his new life which also includes an interest in clothes.
Now, I am one of those women who really has very little interest in clothes. I’ve never been into fashion (some of the prices and styles both horrify and amuse me!) and clothes to me are just something practical. But even I was touched by the way that clothes seemed able to transform people in this book. They could make someone look entirely different and raise their confidence. As Fern says at one point though, it’s not about how the clothes make you look but how they make you feel. Dinah’s attitude to some of her precious clothes was really interesting especially when she found out something rather unexpected about them.
Random acts of kindness are peppered throughout the book. Although Fern losing her job near the beginning of the book doesn’t seem like her kind act earned its just reward, we see through many other characters the ripple effect of random acts of kindness. Fern’s kind acts and the acts of others really did have life-changing consequences for so many of the characters. It was sometimes quite emotional reading about what had happened in their lives, especially Dinah and Moss’s story, and the way Kim felt able to come of his shell and be his true self, encouraged by people you might not have expected to be so understanding.
This is such a gorgeous and uplifting tale about friendship, following your dreams and finding your true fit. And can I just say that I would love one of David’s chopping boards. Trust me when I tell you that it would be a most romantic gift to get. For some people anyway! A Random Act of Kindness is a warm-hearted story, beautifully told and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a feel-good read.
My thanks to Sabah at Avon UK for inviting me to take part in the tour and sending me a copy of the book for review. A Random Act of Kindness is available now in all formats. You should be able to buy or order a copy at you usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: A Random Act of Kindness
From the back of the book
It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever…
Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give much thought to her own happiness. But somehow, without her noticing, life has run away from her.
Suddenly, Fern realises her vintage clothes business is struggling, and the casual relationship she’d always thought she was happy in doesn’t look so appealing.
But sometimes, karma really does come through. And when Fern goes out of her way to help 85-year-old Dinah, little does she realise their new friendship will change her life.
Dinah may have troubles in her past, but she’s lived and loved to the full. Can Dinah show Fern that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world a better place?
About the author
Sophie Jenkins’s debut novel The Forgotten Guide to Happiness is published by Avon. After studying creative writing at City University, Sophie took an MA in Prose Fiction at Middlesex University and finds that the creative stimulation of belonging to writing groups wonderfully balances the solitude of writing. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives in lively north London. In The Forgotten Guide to Happiness, Sophie explores the enduring happiness of love that persists even when memories are fading, and its life-changing effect on those who witness it.