Book Review: Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews plus author interview plus GIVEAWAY!!

What if you had always dreamed of something more...?
Nell McNamara has a happy life: her boyfriend Olly adores her, their four-year-old daughter Petal is the centre of their world and Nell has a steady job in the local chip shop. When the chippy needs a makeover, Nell jumps at the chance to unleash the creativity fizzing inside her.
Inspired by what she can achieve- and encouraged by the very best friends that a girl can have- Nell is determined to try something new. Waving goodbye to the chip shop, she starts up a new business making her own line of must-have handbags, which are soon flying off the shelves.
It seems Nell's dreams are finally coming true, but her success doesn't come without a price. Before too long, Nell has to ask herself if it's really possible to have it all...
I always enjoy Carole Matthews's books as they always have something new to offer but out of those that I have read, Summer Daydreams is definitely my favourite.
Nell McNamara is a brilliant character, she changes so much during the story but her sole aim remains to do the best for her family and their future. I loved reading about Nell's daydreams at the beginning of the book  and then seeing them develop into reality. The reality is that Nell puts her all into the business; it takes over their whole lives and soon Nell is left wondering if it is all really worth it, can she really have her dream career and still be there enough for Petal and Olly? I felt as though I really identified with Nell, having my own business myself with a young daughter, I totally understood the juggling process of being a working mum and the huge amount of guilt that it often involves.
The character of Petal was one of my favourite parts of the book. There were so many moments where I laughed out loud at what she did or said; I think that Carole always manages to inject her books with a lot of humour which just makes them even more enjoyable.
I was really interested to discover that Nell McNamara is actually based on Carole's friend and real-life handbag designer, Helen Rochfort. I would have enjoyed Nell's story anyway but it just added something extra to know that Carole was so inspired by Helen that she wrote this lovely book.
Summer Daydreams is such an enjoyable read and pretty inspiring too. I know that it may sound corny but it really made me feel that you should pursue your dreams; yes it may be hard work along the way but if you really want something then you have to go after it.

Dot Scribbles Rating 5/5

Many thanks to the lovely people at Sphere for sending me a copy of Summer Daydreams to review.

I was lucky enough to interview Carole recently, here's what the lovely lady herself had to say:

1. I thought it was really interesting that Summer Daydreams was inspired by your friend Helen Rochfort, how did you two meet?
We met a few years ago on Facebook. Helen’s status picture at the time was Barbara Cartland and I thought she must be a romance writer. That’s when I found her wonderful handbags. We messaged each other back and forth and, over time became friends. Then my publisher decided to commission a handbag design for The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and we approached Helen. Our friendship progressed to lunch out and the occasional curry with our other halves. That’s how I learned about Helen’s amazing story of how she became an accomplished and successful handbag designer. It was a book just waiting to be written. 
2. Nell pursues her dream career of becoming a handbag designer. Was being an author always your dream career or did you have any ambitions to do something else?
I was always an avid reader, but never imagined that I could become a writer. I thought I might be a teacher or a travel guide or a hairdresser. I even toyed with becoming an Air Traffic Controller - though I have absolutely no idea why. I spent several years working in an office, then several more years as a Beauty Therapist before taking my first steps to becoming a writer. It gave me a lot of good material for my eventual career! 
3. I know that you often visit the locations that you write about. Paris, Miami and China feature in Summer Daydreams, did you manage any research trips?
I didn’t do any specific research trips for Summer Daydreams - other than to Hitchin where the book is set! Which I feel is very remiss of me. But I do travel a lot and I keep a filing cabinet full of maps, photos and videos of everywhere I go. I have been to Paris, Miami - only in passing - and China in the past so I was able to draw on that experience. The weird thing is that now you can do so much on Google Street View. The motel and television studio that Olly visits in the book were both researched on there. But, if I can, I don’t think there’s anything better than going to the place that you’re writing about as it often throws up plots points that you haven’t even thought about.  
4. You have a big on-line presence with your website, facebook and Twitter, do you think that it is important for authors to connect with their readers in that way?
I think it is, but only if you enjoy it. I love Twitter and Facebook, but it is very time-consuming. There’s no better was to get in touch with your readers and find out exactly what they like. The trouble is that there’s always something very distracting to look at, but we do have a lot of fun on there. And some of it may even be useful for work! No, really.
5. The first three chapters of your new book, With Love at Christmas are included at the end of Summer Daydreams. For those who haven't had the chance to read them yet, can you tell us a little bit about the new book?
I do one summer and one Christmas book each year now and my next book is due out in October. It’s called With Love at Christmas and it’s about a warm, chaotic family Christmas. Haven’t we all had them? It features the Joyce family who I first wrote about in my book, That Loving Feeling. It’s not a sequel, as such. We just catch up with them two years later. It’s funny and heartbreaking. Get the tissues ready!

Many thanks to Carole for taking the time to answer my questions.

Finally, I have a copy of Summer Daydreams to give away, to win all you have to do is leave a comment before midnight on 29th May and I will pick a random winner, Good luck! 

Many thanks to Carole for taking the time to answer my questions.

Finally I have a copy of Summer Daydreams to give away, all you have to do is leave a comment by midnight on Tuesday 29th May and I will pick a random winner. Good luck everyone! 


Kim said...

I do love Carole Matthews books and so I have my eye out for this, but, haven't seen it here yet.
Carole not only brings humour into her stories but she is funny on fb too and most days gets the day off to a cheery start.
Thanks for a great review and interview, Dot, I enjoyed them both.

Ember Drake said...

I've recently got back into reading again after finishing my exams and am loving it!

I've never read a Carole Matthews book before but both my mum and aunt recommended her to me and this one sounds like such a great story!



Jess Hearts Books! said...

This sounds like such a lovely story and has been on my wishlist ever since I heard about it months ago! Thanks for this awesome post and the chance to win a copy! x

Nikki said...

would like that - i read her other book recently- it was enjoyable and different too...... summer daydreams sounds just the ticket! nikkiriverhilton@hotmail.com

Nadia said...

This book sounds great! I've never really any of Carole Matthews works before and this one sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the great review and giveaway! Cheers!

Mary said...

This book sounds fab so would love to win a copy.

Anonymous said...

ngKopeawould love to win this book would make a change from what i usually read

Anonymous said...

I haven't read any of her books, but this one seems really nice! And the fact that you like it yourself and you can compare it with yourself even makes it better.
The cover is lovely and I hope the story is the same!
I live abroad (Belgium), so I don't know if I can win a copy, but I would love to!

Mama J said...

Lovely review and interview :-)

Susan Buchanan said...

Have read all of Carole's books, except this one & Wrapped Up in You. Am just trying to find the time and then they will be devoured! First time I have read one of Carole's interviews, although have been following her progress on Twitter recently. It's great to see where her inspiration comes from and can I just say, I think you make a much better writer than potential air traffic controller! Sooz

Rachel Brimble said...

LOVE Carole's books and any book that talks about working toward your dreams is just perfect reading for me! Can't wait to get to this one :)


Mrs Bookworm said...

Fantastic review and interview :) Thankyou for the chance to win this book.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to reading Carole Mathews and I think her books are amazing and would love the opportunity to win this book- the review sounds amazing and the chance to win it really is exciting!! :-)

Anonymous said...

@JETTEE3: Just love reading, especially Carole's books, even love reading all the comments on Twitter. Her books always cheer me up, thank you for the chance of winning the new one.

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