Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins. A big thank you to Sabah Khan of Avon Books for inviting me to join the tour and providing the advance copy for review. Here is what the book is all about:
About the Book
It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever…
Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give much thought to her own happiness. But somehow, without her noticing, life has run away from her.
Suddenly, Fern realises her vintage clothes business is struggling, and the casual relationship she’d always thought she was happy in doesn’t look so appealing.
But sometimes, karma really does come through. And when Fern goes out of her way to help 85-year-old Dinah, little does she realise their new friendship will change her life.
Dinah may have troubles in her past, but she’s lived and loved to the full. Can Dinah show Fern that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world a better place?Available from: Amazon | Waterstones | Kobo | Google Books | Apple Books
Fern is one of those people who really likes to help others. Not in the normal holding the door open kind of way, although she is that kind of person too, but in that she likes to help them find their inner happiness through the clothes that they wear. She has a gift for finding the perfect outfit to match her clients and for helping them to believe in themselves enough to give her recommendations a whirl. Her keenness to help others often comes at the expense of her own livelihood – giving out advice for free doesn’t help pay the bills after all – but it also comes with a whole dose of warmth and good feeling that lifts those around her.
This book isn’t just about fashion and a young women who runs a vintage clothes stall in Camden Market though. This is a book all about friendship and hope and having the belief to follow your dreams. Fired from her dream job (sort of dream job), Fern finds her life changed when she meets the stylish, effortlessly elegant and slightly quirky Dinah, not once but twice. It seems fated as on their second meeting she also gets an unexpected introduction to David, the man who is soon to become her next door neighbour, on the market pitch at least. It appears that Fern’s one good deed could be about to cost her almost everything, but a misunderstanding soon turns to friendship and more.
I loved the mixture of characters in this book. First up there is Fern, our heroine of the hour and someone it is very easy to grow to like. I’ll admit I know nothing about fashion and am as interested in vintage dresses and designers as I am Premiership football, which is to say not at all. To me clothes are the things you have to wear to prevent some very unfortunate scenes in public. Not that that always works anyway … That said, what I did like and identify with in Fern was her big heart. The way in which she was so sure of others, so able to lift their spirits while all the time her own were being trampled by a doomed relationship, an overbearing and high achieving former fashion model mother, and a rather unfortunate incident involving her neighbours indoor sauna. Despite everything, she seldom gave up, giving more to others than she ever seemed to herself. Yes, you could label her a pushover, but she had a faultless generosity which really warmed the heart.
Dinah. Where to even begin. A larger than life character, one who challenges Fern in all the best ways and who brings a real life and spirit to the story. Eight five years young, and as obsessed with fashion and Fern, they make an unlikely and yet perfect pairing and there are so many moments which will make you chuckle when Dinah is around. She has a tragic history but is not defined by it and her seventy year relationship with her husband, Moss, is beautiful to see, if steeped with challenge at one point. Then there is Kim, an old man who comes to Fern for help to find his wife a dress and inadvertently costs her a job. Kim is hiding a secret of his own, one that both Fern and Dinah, and a couple of his wife’s friends, help him to come to terms with and accept. His story is touching and believable and I really grew to like him too.
And then for eye candy, as there should always be eye candy in this kind of book, there is David, Fern’s new market neighbour. David has left a high powered, high pressure job, to follow his dream, crafting wooden light boxes. He is tall, handsome, kind … and already taken, sadly, by one of Fern’s old high school friends, Gigi. That’s okay as Fern is taken too, partners in a casual romance with a guy who perhaps doesn’t understand her like he should, and there is one awfully embarrassing vacation involved that proves it. There is a clear chemistry between Fern and David, as well as moments where they seem to be at complete odds, but the author keeps the reader on tenterhooks as to whether the inevitable should and will happen. You know you want it, want to see Fern have a little happiness of her own, but can it really happen?
This book is a story of hope. Of friendship and family. Of how taking one small step can change your life. And most of all, how doing one small deed, one random act of kindness, can lead to some beautiful and enduring friendships and a wave of positivity that will extend well beyond the original good-doer. This is the perfect summer read with a blend of humour, romance and heart warming stories and it if doesn’t leave you with a smile on your face, nothing will.
About the Author
Sophie Jenkins’s debut novel The Forgotten Guide to Happiness is published by Avon. After studying creative writing at City University, Sophie took an MA in Prose Fiction at Middlesex University and finds that the creative stimulation of belonging to writing groups wonderfully balances the solitude of writing. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives in lively north London. In The Forgotten Guide to Happiness, Sophie explores the enduring happiness of love that persists even when memories are fading, and its life-changing effect on those who witness it.
Author Links: Twitter
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