The Great Summer Street Party (part 1) – Georgia Hill

It was with fond memories of our street party held to commemorate the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977, that I delved into this book. I remember that as a child, it was such a momentous event and so I looked forward to the author capturing some of that 1970s magic and bringing back memories for me.

I liked the characters in the book immensely, and will admit to chuckling out loud at the thought of gentle Noah being ‘terrified’ by the fearsome Biddy. I empathised with Ashley, and having grown up by the seaside, I related to her never tiring of the sea. I also loved the sense of community in the book, epitomised by Biddy, who seemed to have taken control of arranging the street party to commemorate D-Day with a slightly ironic military precision.

I grew up in Dorset and so I loved the familiarity of the fictitious town of Berecombe, with its echoes of Lime Regis.

Despite not having read any of the author’s previous books set in Berecombe, I felt that this book stood its ground as a standalone read and if anything, it encouraged me to look out for the other books based in the town .

I felt for Ashley, as she continued on her path to recovery, but couldn’t think of a nicer spot in which to stay, in order to facilitate that recovery. We didn’t get a huge amount of information about Ashley’s accident initially, but judging by her reaction to hearing two cars prang, it must have been traumatic – although that seems like a bit of an understatement, when you are recovering from having been in a serious car crash.

I enjoyed Ashley’s encounters with Eddie, the social history expert, and found myself hoping that some kind of relationship might start to germinate between the pair.

As the book progressed, it felt to me as though Berecombe and its inhabitants were playing a huge role in Ashley’s healing process, and that felt good. I felt positively overwhelmed by the tight-knit sense of community that was so apparent within the small town.

I don’t know about sunshine and cider cake, but I can say unequivocally that this book made me feel good – warm and gooey inside, a bit like when you drink hot chocolate, accompanied by a tasty, excessively creamy and sugary slice of cake on a cold morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and my interest in the outcomes of these wondrous, realistic characters grew exponentially, the more that I read, and I found myself frantically reaching out for the next instalments in this great series.

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