Book Review: A Summer of Surprises by Jan Ellis

Title: A Summer of Surprises
Author: Jan Ellis
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: 8 April 2015

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
It is two years since Eleanor Mace said farewell to her lover Christophe and returned to Devon.

Her bookshop in the sleepy seaside town of Combemouth has become the hub of the community and with the new love of her life, Daniel, everything seems to be blissfully plain sailing.

That is until Freya, Daniel’s ex-wife appears on the scene.

Hired as an architect for a major celebrity who plans to build an enormous new complex in Combemouth, Freya seeks Daniel’s help to get her ambitious scheme approved.

Outraged, Eleanor mounts a protest against the scheme – helped by some endangered local wildlife – that gets her noticed by the world’s media, but puts her at risk of losing Daniel.

As the campaign gains momentum, Eleanor is asked to speak at a conference in Spain, where she unexpectedly bumps into the handsome Christophe – a blast from her past.

Surely this must be fate?

Will Eleanor fall for the charms of her French ex-boyfriend, or can she find it in her heart to forgive Daniel and return to Combemouth?

Or is she set for ‘A Summer of Surprises’?  

Thank you to Jan Ellis for providing me with a review copy of A Summer of Surprises.
The book is a follow-up to An Unexpected Affair and features independent bookshop owner, Eleanor. Eleanor is happily settled in a relationship with Daniel. However, their relationship is put to the test when Daniel’s ex-wife, Freya, reappears in his life with a new architectural project that will have a significant impact on the village. Eleanor is strongly opposed to the project and Daniel is caught between the two women. 
As the rift between Eleanor and Daniel increases, Eleanor finds herself thinking more and more about her former lover, Christophe. This makes her wonder whether she really has found true love with Daniel? 
Matters are further complicated by some comic relief in the form of the discovery of rare newts in the area.
The characters are well written and realistic. I particularly like the way the author talks about Eleanor’s work in the bookshop and her love of books. Daniel, handsome, loving, fun and intelligent, appears to be the perfect match for Eleanor, however it was not his idea to end his previous marriage and he seems to be having some difficulties in letting go of his feelings towards Freya. The supporting characters are an eclectic mix of people, including Connie (Eleanor’s mother) and her partner Harold, Eleanor’s children, Joe and Phoebe, her sister Jenna and her transsexual colleague and friend, Erika. The cast of characters are a lively bunch and great fun to read about. They really add an extra dimension to the story.
The pace of the story is quite fast and there seems to be quite a lot packed into the book, which avoids any lulls in the tale. I found the book to be well-written, with an easy writing style that helps with the flow of the story. 

A Summer of Surprisestells of relationships, marriage, divorce, romance, parenthood and families. It is a good choice if you’re looking for a easy and entertaining read.

About The Author 

Hello readers! What can I tell you about myself? Well, my background is in non-fiction publishing and ‘An Unexpected Affair’ was the first fiction that I had written since primary school. Fortunately people enjoyed it, so I wrote a second story, called ‘French Kisses’.

NOTE: These two are NOVELLAS, ie. about the length of one of Virginia Woolf’s stories, though that is where the comparison ends!

My latest book, ‘A Summer of Surprises’, revolves around Eleanor Mace, the heroine of ‘An Unexpected Affair’. All the stories feature grown-up women dealing with kids and ex-husbands, getting into tricky situations with chaps, drinking too much wine and generally having fun in gorgeous locations.

To discover more, please visit my website: or follow me on Twitter @JanEllis_writer and Facebook. I look forward to sharing gossip with you there!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you enjoy the books, please tell your friends and consider adding a short review. I really appreciate your feedback.

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