This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kelly Allen
Isabel is about to embark upon a new adventure at University; she has read all the course books ahead of the new semester and is focused on study as well as making a few new friends along the way. When she arrives she meets a guy called Olly who shows her kindness, carrying her belongings and guiding her to the correct campus. Olly is there for an interview and as they get chatting, they plan to meet later that night for a drink. However, Isabel gets carried away meeting her new flatmate and she completely forgets to meet him.
Olly doesn’t get the job and when Isabel doesn’t show, he is at an all-time low. On his way home he bumps into one of Isabel’s lecturers and is offered a room in exchange for cleaning the house. Olly accepts the offer wholeheartedly, grateful to have some space from his parents and time to look for a proper job.
Meanwhile, Isabel has made friends with the ‘It Girl’ Amber, who has joined the college, which becomes detrimental to the other friendships she has already made. When Isabel arrives at the house to have a seminar with her fellow classmates, she doesn’t expect to bump into Olly. Isabel gets the chance to apologise for standing him up, but as their relationship starts to blossom, an aristocratic man called Jasper destroys any hope Olly had of a future with Isabel. Blinding her with his looks and charming ways, Isabel begins to dote on Jasper, who later encourages her to pay for all his food and drinks as well as lending him cash upon request.At the same time Diana, single parent to Rosie, has just begun work on the college gardens and is struggling to afford to live after her husband left them penniless. They move into a council estate and, at first, Diana feels threatened by her neighbours, who eventually turn out to be kind and caring friends. Diana sparks a relationship with a haughty lecturer and as things start to develop, a friend from the past returns and threatens to ruin it all.
Both women are fighting to be who they want to be and to no longer be afraid of their true selves.
This book was very easy to read – the chapters flowed from one side of the story to the other. I think it would suit a younger reading audience however, perhaps someone in their 20s (sob!). That said, it did bring back some of my own memories from when I was at university. Memories of how the effort to fit in and belong somewhere is exhausting. The balance between work, love life and friendship is truly tested.
On the whole, I much preferred reading Diana’s story as opposed to Isabel’s. I felt it was a better developed story and, as I have already experienced University life, Isabel’s was less interesting to me, even with the famous student attending. I did however like Olly’s story – he seemed to develop the most as a character and I felt that he deserved better than Isabel, although she was the most naïve character in the book.
I was a bit disappointed with the ending; it all seemed to tie-up too easily and quickly for my liking. I wanted a bit more from it, but it was just a simple, run-of-the-mill happy ending. I would have preferred it if a few of the characters had been put in their place or if some stories were left a little bit more open-ended.
I think this book would be suited to those who like to read about college life and a much younger audience than myself.