Book Review: Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

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Title - Summer at the Star and the Sixpence
Author - Holly Hepburn
Publication Date - April 25th 2016
Publisher - Simon and Schuster UK
Format - Paperback (Proof provided by publisher)
Pages - 80

A romantic summer novella, the second in The Star and Sixpence series. 

I was lucky enough to win an exclusive proof copy of Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn over on Twitter, in a competition run by the publisher. I was absolutely over the moon when I was contacted, and spent a good few minutes admiring it once it arrived. This is the second novella in Hepburn's The Star and Sixpence series, although it's the first that I've read myself.

Despite having missed the first in this gorgeous series, that didn't stop me from receiving the full experience. As I read, Holly Hepburn built up a wonderful back-story to sisters Nessie and Sam, ensuring I knew everything there was to know about them, including events that had happened previously and in the lead-up to summer. I was able to grasp that the girls had been left the pub, the utterly charming Star and Sixpence, by their late father, and when the novella begins renovations are under-way, in preparation for the glorious wedding of JoJo (high-flying journalist) and Jamie. As you can imagine, things are pretty hectic in The Star and Sixpence as the girls attempt to get everything under control before the big day arrives, but it's not just the wedding that's on the girls' minds.

There's blossoming romance and the past, as it always seems to, rears its ugly head, making everything more chaotic than it already was. For Nessie and Sam, they both know that the wedding needs to go off without a hitch. Each juggling their own balls, I was enticed by this novella, and thoroughly enjoyed watching as the sisters both dealt with their own problems, but then came back together when it came to the wedding of the year!

There was a real sense of community and friendship within Summer at the Star and Sixpence, so much so that I immediately felt that I belonged in the village of Little Monkham. From pub quizzes to games of cricket on the village green, it was idyllic and appealing in every way possible. Holly Hepburn's descriptions of the pub itself, and of the gorgeous wedding that takes place within this novella, whisked me away completely and I could almost feel the warm, summer air on my skin as I stood beside Nessie and looked out over the activity taking place. It was vivid and busy and completely atmospheric, drawing me in further as I continued to turn those pages.

The characters of Nessie and Sam were fantastic. I absolutely adore a story that involves sisters, and despite their obvious differences in how they approached a number of things in life, it was very clear to me that Nessie and Sam loved one another. The dynamics between the two were familiar to me, reminding me of my own sisters, so it was warm and comforting to read about Nessie and Sam on the page. Alongside Holly Hepburn's leading ladies were a colourful, fun collection of characters. From Joss and Owen, to Ruby and Martha, each were wonderfully crafted and truly brought the story to life and reignited the community feel of it.

Little did I know that Holly Hepburn had set The Star and Sixpence pub in the wonderful county of Shropshire, which was a delight to discover. The plot moved along gorgeously, and when the ups and downs arrived, I couldn't race through the remainder quick enough. Both Nessie and Sam's personal troubles led the way towards a fantastic ending that left me wanting more, more, more, and I can't wait to be reunited with these ladies in Autumn!

All in all, a deliciously short but sweet summer must-have! (Or an any-time-of-the-year must-have) The Star and Sixpence is a treasure of a find and I was completely enveloped within this world from the very first page. Five bookish stars from me!

*Special thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for a proof copy of Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn.*


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