Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Sue McDonagh #ArtCafe #bookreview @ChocLitUK @SueMcDonaghLit

Today is publication day for Summer of Hopes and Dreams the fourth in Sue McDonagh’s Art Café series, a series I absolutely love. That beautiful cover has been painted by the author who, as you can see, is also a talented artist.

When we first meet Rosie, she is at a very low ebb. She has spent much of her life looking after others, first her children then her mother. Her musician husband left her a few years ago and she has taken on a series of low paid jobs to make ends meet. At her mother’s funeral tea (held in the art café), she overhears someone saying she is boring – and worse. On impulse, she decides to book onto an outdoor pursuits weekend in Wales, a weekend which will literally change her life. It doesn’t get off to the best of starts for reasons I’ll leave you to discover for yourself (and based on the author’s own experience which made me smile) but Rosie is determined to make the most of all the opportunities that weekend and surprises herself and others.

Oh I so felt for Rosie. She has spent so long looking out for other people that she has forgotten to look after herself. She just needed time to work out what – and who – would make her happy and the people she met on that weekend, notably instructor Gareth and fellow attendee Leanne, really helped. Over the course of the book it was a joy to read about her beginning to rediscover herself and grow in self-belief. She is someone that I think many people will identify with as we often put others before ourselves and put our own hopes and dreams on hold.

This might just be my favourite in the Art Café series. It ticks all my boxes for an enjoyable and uplifting read. There’s a troubled heroine and a handsome hero who are clearly made for each other, difficulties to be overcome (some more unexpected than others), lots of comical moments and a heartwarming conclusion. It’s not every day you come across felting, a fire engine and a flood in a novel!

I enjoyed Summer of Hopes and Dreams from start to finish and really recommend it to anyone who likes funny, warm and romantic stories. It’s a hopeful and inspiring book and perfect summer reading.

Many thanks to Liz at ChocLit for sending me a copy of this book for review. Summer of Hopes and Dreams is out now in ebook and you’ll find buying options for various ebook retailers on the ChocLit website here: Summer of Hopes and Dreams

From the back of the book

Can “Dozy Rosie” spice up her life and prove she’s not boring?

Rosie Bunting has spent her life caring for others, often at the expense of her own hopes and dreams. But when she overhears somebody describing her as “boring”, she decides it’s time for a change.

Little does she realise that the outdoor pursuits weekend brochure handed to her at the local Art Café will kick start a summer that will see her abseiling down a Welsh cliff face in “eye watering” leggings, rediscovering her artistic side and unexpectedly inheriting an old fire engine. It also involves meeting hunky outdoor instructor, Gareth Merwyn-Jones – although of course he’d never be interested in Dozy Rosie Bunting … would he?

One thing’s for certain: Rosie’s path to achieving her hopes and dreams might not be smooth, but it’s definitely not boring.

About the Author

Sue McDonagh’s career as a policewoman for Essex Police was cut short when she was diagnosed at the age of twenty-four with ovarian cancer. After a successful recovery and a stint working as a Press Officer she moved to Wales.

In Wales her love of art evolved into a full-time occupation and she made a living teaching and sketching portraits at shows. In 2014 she was a regional finalist for the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. She now works exclusively to commissions from her art gallery.

In 2009 she learned to ride a motorbike, and now helps run Curvy Riders, a national, women only, motorbike club. Her joy of motorbikes and her love of writing inspired her to write the Art Café series. Sue, granny of two little girls and proud mum of two stepsons, lives a mile from the sea in Wales. She can often be found with her border terrier, Scribbles, at her art gallery. Scribble thinks the customers only come in to see him. Sometimes, Sue thinks that too.

When she’s not painting, she’s writing or on her motorbike.

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