So my first blog tour of 2018 (and first book review blog actually!) is dedicated to Jane Lambert’s novel The Start of Something Wonderful!
It’s never too late to follow your dreams…
Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…
Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!
Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars? (Thanks Netgalley)
Emily is a glamorous 40 year old air stewardess who has everything – a beautiful home, an amazing lifestyle, a wardrobe any woman would be jealous of and a rather lovely pilot boyfriend. What more could she possibly want? Unfortunately she is forced to seriously consider this when that lovely pilot boyfriend blindsides her and dumps her.
At 40 years old she expected to be married with children. Instead, she finds herself single and at a crossroads in her life. What does she really want? Whilst dealing with her heartbreak Emily thinks back over the dreams she has had that have passed her by as she has got on with her life. She realises that what she has in front of her is a world of opportunity, and the possibility of reclaiming those dreams for herself. So she quits her job, joins an acting class and seeks to become the actress that she never thought she would be.
Firstly I loved that this novel wasn’t about some twenty-something beautiful young woman who has life handed to her on a plate. Emily is relatable because she is a normal woman who has dreams, just like the rest of us, that often get pushed to one side due to the bills we have to pay as well as the influence of our friends and family. Finding herself at a crossroads in her life, I found myself rooting for her as she decided to completely change her life in pursuit of a dream she thought was long forgotten.
I liked the fact that acting wasn’t easy for her, and that she didn’t just walk into major acting roles. She has to work at it (sometimes whilst scrubbing toilets in her spare time!) in order to gain her next role, not even knowing if that acting role would enable her to pay her bills. The portrayal of this is important in this novel, and makes it all the more relatable because life and dreams are not easy, there are always obstacles thrown in our way.
The interactions between Emily, Luigi and everyone at Il Mulino are really lovely and were a highlight for me. It really is a family run restaurant, a family that wholeheartedly embraces and supports Emily as she pushes forward to forge a career in an incredibly difficult business. My only disappointment surrounding Il Mulino was the relationship between Emily and Francesco. I do love a bit of romance in my novels, and whilst I wanted to see Emily grab some romantic happiness I also did not want to see her acting dreams oppressed by the addition of a relationship. I am pleased to confirm that this did not happen, however I never really felt invested in the relationship between Emily and Francesco. Instead, I found myself anticipating things going wrong between them. Maybe it was the regular distance between them, or maybe it was the fact that I just wanted to see Emily succeed in her acting career without any distractions, but this was one relationship that I just struggled to relate to.
Do not let my analysis of this one relationship put you off though. Beyond this, I really enjoyed following Emily’s story as she dealt with the ups and downs of such a significant life change. It really does leave you feeing that anything is possible if you really are willing to work for it. If you are looking for an inspiring novel about female determination, this is a novel for you!
Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖
Thank you to Netgalley, Jane Lambert and HQ Digital for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Check out Jane’s lovely book trailer here and if you look carefully you may spot a cheeky mention of Chapter and Cake in the end credits!