Book Review: Evie's Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow.

It's Evie's birthday and the start of a year she'll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.

Evie's job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it's far easier to read about other people's problems than set about solving her own.Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It's the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she's inspired to try and find her real mother.

Evie's search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn't realise is that he is hiding something - a key to Evie's past.As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?

Evie's Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow is a sparkling and humorous tale of what happens when you're brave enough to let life lead you in the direction you were always meant to walk in. It's a story of being brave and bold, of doing things that terrify you but actually make you a stronger person in the end and, as the title suggests, it's about taking chances, taking control of your life, and having faith in yourself.

In Christie Barlow's first release of 2017 with Bookouture, readers are introduced to twenty-two-year old Evie, who works in the lovely town of Becton, and finds solace in the pages of the books stacked upon the shelves in the library she works in. Having moved from one family to the next as a young girl, Evie spent her life trying to figure out where she belonged. Having never met her biological Mum or Dad, Evie looks upon her foster mother Irene as being the real deal. Irene took Evie beneath her wing and Evie has remained contentedly there ever since. But on her twenty-third birthday, Evie plucks up every ounce of courage she can find and begins the search for her biological mother who has always been in the back of her mind as the years have worn on. It's time to take that chance and see where it leads...

From the moment I began reading Evie's Year of Taking Chances, I was transported straight into Evie's world. Barlow brings the characters within this story to life in the most wonderful and vivid of ways. From Evie and Irene, to Evie's best friend Clara and the library's newest colleague, Aiden. So colourful and full of life, Evie's friendships and relationships with the people she held closest were delved into beautifully by Christie Barlow, allowing me to feel part of these circles too. It was warm and cosy, but not without the ups and downs that real life often hands out, which made it all the more enjoyable and interesting. I think the characters were just one of the many things I adored about this story. These characters added a splash of magic to the plot and made it all the more delightful to disappear into.

Barlow really heightens the emotions in Evie's Year of Taking Chances. Evie's search for her birth mother adds a whole new dynamic to the plot and it really touched me. Having been in a similar position myself (although not to the same extent), I really 'got' the emotions that Evie experienced throughout her journey. It was a tricky subject to discuss but Barlow did so in the most tender and sensitive of ways which I loved. I think it's very important for authors to treat these topics with a lot of respect and care, and Christie Barlow did just that. I was just as nervous as Evie when the ball really got rolling with the search for her mother, and couldn't get through the pages quick enough to see where it would all lead, and if anything would come of it for dear Evie.

The plot itself was one of full of surprises, laughter and love. It was such an enjoyable and exciting read with the realness of life right at its very centre. I was completely enveloped within Evie's world and felt bereft each time it came to switching off for the night and trying to get some sleep. Throw in a whole lot of banter, some twists and turns, and a bunch of characters who completely steal your heart away, this was yet another wonderfully warm story from Christie that I thoroughly enjoyed. If this isn't enough to convince you to pick this story up, then I'd like to also mention that books play a massive role in Evie's story, so if you're a book lover, then you've already got something in common with the leading lady in Barlow's latest release.

Overall, Evie's Year of Taking Chances was a fantastic story that had my head spinning with all of the emotions the author evoked. From beginning to end, Barlow had me invested in the characters and their lives, and had me crossing my fingers for things to work out right for them all. A splendid, splendid story.

You can find Christie Barlow on Twitter.
You can purchase your copy of Evie's Year of Taking Chances here.

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