4 out of 4 stars
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High Hopes, by Sue Lilley, is an adult romance novel about love, loss, and forever questioning ones life in general. "Didn't you trust me with your secrets?" is a question stated on the first page but seems to be the trend for the story. High Hopes follows the lives of Grace, Dixie and Sam, whom are 3 best friends since they were young and they are now grown with adult lives and many secrets. The book only spans a week of time, but contains plenty of flashbacks to help fill in the story of the journey that is Grace, Sam, and Dixie's lives.
Grace travels to her favorite place, Penrowan, which happens to be the home of her best friends, Sam and Dixie. Grace has kept a terrible secret for the better part of 20 years and as she is nearing her 40th birthday, that secret has come digging it's way out of her past and is threatening her future. Grace has always been a bit of a free spirit, doing as she pleases and bouncing from job to job but as she gets closer to 40, she knows she needs to begin thinking of her future and her secret may be the ticket to finding her way in life or rather, her ticket to growing up.
Sam and Dixie fell in love during Uni and ended up getting married and having a son named Josh. Josh has recently started Uni, studying Law but he has other interests at heart. He keeps this from his parents, as he wants to make them happy, and do as they expect of him. After some of his parents secrets come out, he doesn't want to cause more problems. Sam and Dixie love each other but they both also have their own secrets, thoughts and doubts about things that have happened in their lives. Dixie doubts herself, while Sam feels that he is losing touch with life and wants more from it which causes him to act out against his better judgement, causing more strife in their already hectic life.
All three of the main characters constantly fight with themselves when it comes to: doing the right thing, speaking their minds, and ignoring what is happening because they are trying to save face. It is a common joke in the book to be "ignoring the elephant in the room," which is something even I can relate too as a modern day living adult. The author does a great job spinning the story around each character, intertwining every little detail together to make for a great read.
One of the best aspects of the book is the supporting characters. The author does a fantastic job incorporating side characters that may have small roles, but are so deeply ingrained into the story that you have a lot of characters to choose a favorite from. Danny is the gardener who also has secrets himself that he needs to overcome. Joyce plays a small role, but her part in the book is very important and she is part of the overall big secret of the book. There is also Alexander whom you feel all kinds of different things for as the story is weaved around his and Grace's life as well. There is also Duncan whom you love to hate, but hate to love when he is introduced and explained. There are so many great stories and in the end, they all come together and form this fabulous story of living life with secrets but learning to live after the secrets have come out and the past is now the future.
I could not stop reading this book once I got into it. I found myself reading until late in the night and had to force myself away from it to get some sleep and was right back to it in the morning! There is always something new happening, something new to learn about and ponder. The story is very dramatic, but the author structures it in a way that makes you question your own life and what path you are choosing. It makes you question the "what ifs" in life, and a book that makes me think that much, is certainly worth a second look!
I gave this book 4 out of 4 stars because there is nothing I could find wrong with this book. I loved the story, the characters, the setting, and especially the English flair as the story takes place in England! The author adds in so many details, that you cannot help but imagine the amazing scenery from the luscious gardens, to the pulsing sea. If you like a book that forever keeps you guessing until the last few pages, and one that make you consider things going on in your own life, I highly recommend this book for you!
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