The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain is the fourth in her series set in Nightingale Square, although you can easily read this without having read any of the others. If you have read the previous books in the series though, you will enjoy meeting up with some familiar faces. This book focusses on Beth who moves into Nightingale Square having moved out of a flatshare with flatmates who certainly didn’t pull their weight!
About the book
Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance.
The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help too – but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.
Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more…?
Heidi Swain writes so well about communities and in this book we have two! There’s the community living at Nightingale Square with the Grow-Well garden, and the community at the care home where Beth works. I particularly liked residents Harold, Freddie and the irrepressible Greta who provided many entertaining moments. Working at the care centre is not just a job for Beth. It’s somewhere she loves working and she genuinely wants to make a difference in the lives of the resident.
Beth had a big problem with music. Music had been such a big part of her relationship with her late mother who died tragically young. Beth associates it so strongly with her mum that she can’t bear to hear music or to sing. I can’t imagine cutting myself off from music entirely. There’s always a radio on somewhere in my house. Everyone grieves in different ways of course but to me, music brings back happy memories of people and places, even if those people aren’t with us anymore. I was glad when music gradually started to filter into her world again.
There’s a strong focus on arts and crafts, cooking, gardening and of course music as pursuits which are good for ones mental health. It wasn’t just the residents of the care home who benefitted from more stimulating activities than they had been used to. Everyone in the community had their lives brightened to some extent when they focussed on creative activities.
Of course with this being a Heidi Swain book there’s romance in the air! Beth’s flatmate Eli is rather gorgeous and they soon develop strong feelings for each other. However, her friendship with Pete could threaten this as there is a past connection between the two men. I was quite anxious for Beth as she did her best to hold onto both her romantic relationship and her friendship and in the meantime bring some kind of resolution to the issues they had. I know that sounds rather cryptic but I don’t want to give anything away!
The Summer Fair is another feel-good read from Heidi Swain, a lovely story of community with likeable characters, plenty of secrets and lots of summer warmth!
My thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book for review.
The Summer Fair is published by Simon and Schuster and available now from your usual book retailer.
About the Author
Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her TBR pile is always out of control! To find out more, follow Heidi on twitter @Heidi_Swain or visit her website: heidiswain.co.uk.