The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond


Books like these are the equivalent of a great big hug from a favourite aunty. It’s comfortable, easy, slightly mindless and warming. The perfect book for curling up on the sofa with when you’ve only got half an hour or so and you just want to shut off for a while.

We meet the 3 main characters quickly and succinctly, with the plot centered in a village in Suffolk, which we know will mirror the seasons marvelously (cold, grey, desolate in the winter, daffodils and bumble bees in the spring and summer etc etc). There’s the married one with the seemingly perfect husband; the single, aloof, isolated one; the sociable, always in a relationship, always having a disaster one. All being entwined together by clever writing, confident storytelling and a clear knowledge of your audience.

I devoured this book, enjoyed every minute and consider it instantly forgettable. But that does not diminish the importance of these kinds of novels (do I dare call it chick lit? I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to any man I know).  It manages to address quite a few issues in a thoroughly non-combative way, highlighting the plight of the stay at home mum who’s got that nagging feeling that just being a mother isn’t quite enough for full validation from society. And then the difficulty of trying to do everything at once and being superwomen, and the way that can impact on life.  I loved the way certain things just came together in the story line, in a way that just doesn’t happen in real life, but which has been laid out in a thoroughly believable way.

There’s wisdom in the words that Lucy Diamonds writes, a real clarity of knowledge – of people, of situations, of life. It’s easy to read because the characters are very normal, very familiar. We (the readers) can almost certainly identify with one or more of the characteristics displayed by them, and as they all have solid and believable back stories we can also understand and sometimes empathise.

Without giving anything away, it ends well, has a great beginning, a clear middle and all in all was a very enjoyable read.

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