Hurrah! Hallelujah! And all manner of other exciting exclamations…PAIGE IS BACK!
After waiting a whole bloomin’ year for another delight from Toon, I couldn’t wait to tuck into her latest offering when the very lovely Dawn from Simon & Schuster sent me an early copy. I wish Paige was in some way super-human so she could write a new book every week – I just can’t get enough of her writing!
The Sun In Her Eyes centres around Amber who, after hearing her dad has suffered with a stroke, flies back home to Adelaide to be with him and her step-mum Liz. Leaving behind her husband Ned and after being made redundant from her job, Amber takes the time to work out what she really wants from life. But when she meets Ethan, a man who was her first love and still has a huge chunk of her heart, her view on what she really wants becomes skewed. With the scorching Australian sunshine, vineyards, hospital appointments with her dad, evenings spent with old friends and concerns about her husbands fidelity, Amber is faced with one of the toughest summers of her life.
I don’t really need to say all that much more because whenever I review one of Paige’s books I find myself repeating the same thing over and over. The writing is fabulous, the tension is perfect, the characters are intriguing and are far from perfect which makes them feel so real.
What I loved most about The Sun In Her Eyes was the way in which Paige weaved so many heartbreaking story-lines into a novel which ultimately had a happy ending. It was sobering to see how Amber coped with the rehabilitation of her father after his stroke and how the simple things we take for granted each day can be so easily wiped out. (It’s also quite topical after the news yesterday reported that more and more middle aged men are becoming victims to strokes.) We also are faced with the car crash that killed Amber’s mother which brought a tear to my eye. Such huge, life changing scenarios were dealt with perfectly within the narrative and this is a skill Paige shows time and time again.
I loved the protagonist. Amber was a real challenge because at times I just wanted to shake her and say ‘NOOOOOOO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!’ and at other times I wanted her to be bolder and really go after what she wanted. Characters that get you so involved in their lives are the best kind and I felt like Amber’s friend by the end of the book which is always a lovely, lovely feeling.
The male characters in this book are, as always, flippin’ gorgeous! Ethan was this notorious bad boy who had a real charm to him and I fell in love with him pretty quickly! Ned is a character we don’t see or hear as much of, but when we find out all about how Amber and Ned first met, fell in love and got married, I couldn’t help but fall a little bit in love with Ned too! Poor Amber having to choose between the two…!
Now, is this Paige’s best book to date?
Personally, I’m going to say a very difficult no. After Pictures of Lily and Thirteen Weddings, it was always going to take a LOT to write something even better! Whilst The Sun In Her Eyes isn’t Paige’s ‘best’ book, it is still an absolute corker which should definitely be in your summer holiday reading pile. Regardless of what has come before, Paige writes with such warmth, humour and intelligence that you can’t help but fall in love with the book in your hands.
A perfect summer story that will whisk you away to the warmth of Australia and have you hankering after a nice cold glass of wine and a burning orange sunset. A must read for this summer.