today is our stop on Fanny Blake’s blog tour for her latest, ‘House of Dreams’. We’d like to thank wonderful Elaine Egan and the team of Orion Publishing for the chance to read this lovely family drama and be part of the blog tour. It’s the last day of the tour, but here’s the poster with all the hosts so do check their blogs for more thoughts on this book.
Only a weekend in Spain – what could possibly go wrong?
At their family hilltop villa, Lucy awaits the arrival of her brother and sister for their mother’s annual birthday party. Although this time, their mother won’t be there.
Struggling at Malaga airport with her fractious four year old, Jo has already lost her case and is dreading arriving without its precious contents.
For Tom, returning to Casa de Sueños stirs up all sorts of memories – then a beautiful face from his past appears . . .
Over one long, hot weekend, past secrets will spill out as three siblings discover more about their family and each other in this gorgeous, warm and witty new novel from Fanny Blake.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
‘House of Dreams’ is the first book by Fanny Blake I’ve read, however it definitely won’t be the last one. While being light hearted and easy to read, it still had a serious note to it and portrayed the complex relationship between siblings after the loss of their mother. I honestly thought it would be more of a fluffy book (which by no means is an insult) however I was pretty surprised once I found out it’s more of a layered and complex women’s fiction.
The story happens over a time span of five days (brought in different parts of the book) during which time Lucy, Jo and Tom have come to sunny Spain and their old house to pay their last respect to Hope, their mother who recently passed away. Her last wish was for her ashes to be scattered away in this beautiful country house she spent most of her life and then for the kids to sell the house and divide the money. It’s through the siblings’ memory that we find out more about Hope, who seemed like a wonderful, sassy lady who really enjoyed life. However, we also find out that Hope was indeed a lady of mystery with some secrets her kids are yet to find out.
Tom arrives in the country house together with his wife Bella and two teenage kids. Bella is really something, she’s so demanding and such an up tight person I really wanted to slap on more that few occasions. Being long in the family doesn’t give her the right to interfere with how they siblings will divide the things their mother owned and she seemed so greedy. However, Tom is allowing it and because of this I really didn’t warm up to his character.
Jo is the total opposite of her brother, she’s a single mother and arrives at their old house with her little daughter she conceived with at a rather mature age and by accident. But she’s bold and cares deeply about her daughter and her siblings, despite the fact she causes a little drama at the airport, which as a book scene had me laughing out loud.
But most likable of them all was Lucy, the youngest of them all and the daughter Hope spent her last days with. Lucy is kind of at a crossroad now, having some serious problems in her marriage which doesn’t seem to work for the last couple of years. Being the one who lived with her mum when she passed away, I had a feeling she’s the one who mourns the most and who’s doing everything to make Hope’s last wishes come true.
During their stay in Spain, the siblings will learn a lot about their mother, things they didn’t know and that were kept a secret for so many years. However, as these secrets reveal, they also learn a lot about their own selves and their mutual relationship. As they unravel the mysterious veal of Hope’s life, they all go through a transformation and kind of grow. I absolutely loved this!
The setting couldn’t be more perfect and I loved reading about sunny Spain. I loved that there were many characters and yet I wasn’t confused and the story flowed. However, I found the book slightly slow for my taste. The story happens over just five days, and while there’s a decent dose of mystery and family drama I expected more of a shocking outcome or twists. I’m totally convinced I would enjoy the story more if the pace was faster. I was very pleased with the ending though, and think it’s a wonderful way to end this story.
Overall, ‘House of Dreams’ was an interesting and enjoyable tale which contains just the right dose of humor and seriousness. They are perfectly balanced and make this story so easy to read. Ms Blake has a knack for creating layered characters and I loved how she pealed a layer by layer of their personality, portraying the complexity of their relationship and how they influence each other. I’ll definitely be reading more of Ms Blake’s books in the future.
My rating: 7/10
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fanny Blake was a publisher for many years, editing fiction and general non-fiction before becoming a freelance journalist and writer. She has written several bestsellers and acted as ghost writer for a number of celebrities. She is also Books Editor of womanandhome magazine. Her novels include The Secrets Women Keep (Orion) and With a Friend Like You (Orion). ‘House of Dreams’ is her latest novel published by Orion.