Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Book Review: Pictures in the Sky

By Sara Steven

She gave up on romance years ago. He’s going through the motions. Their lives change forever when he makes contact out of the blue.

With her daughter leaving the nest, Michelle Cameron would rather spend her time with good friends, a glass of fizzy and a box set, than with another idiot bloke chipping away at her self-esteem. But when childhood friend Daniel Helmsley gets back in touch, the years roll away on a tide of laughter and friendship, which soon gives way to another roller coaster of love, excitement and panic. Can Michelle let herself trust again? What if Dan is just another idiot bloke, disillusioned with the present and nostalgic for the past? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Michelle was an interesting character to delve into. In her youth, she’d made mistakes where relationships are concerned, which has lent into her being on guard and very protective of her heart. And while she’s obviously evolved from the young single mother of her past into the middle-aged woman of her present, there is a lot of baggage and leftover fear, at times giving the reader the impression that she is still very much that young single mother of her youth, still finding her way in life. When pitted against an obstacle, we discover just how hard it is for her to handle anything even remotely confrontational, a fact that she is well aware of. This lack of confrontation bleeds into her newfound relationship with Daniel.

There is a lot of baggage tied to Daniel, another fact Michelle is well aware of, but it’s hard to avoid the obvious chemistry the two of them have, not to mention the foundation of friendship that exists for them. I appreciated getting to read her take on the relationship, the fumbling and bumblings that can often happen when you’re just starting out and getting to know someone, even when it’s someone you’ve been friends with since childhood. Taking their relationship to the next level presents a whole new set of problems and concerns, and we’re in Michelle’s head the entire time, going through her emotions with her.

Another dynamic worth mentioning is the one between Michelle and her daughter, Sara. There is a special bond between the two of them, magnified by how young Michelle had been when she’d become a mother, the “it’s just us against the world” mentality they shared as they both tried to navigate the single mother and fatherless child waters. At times, it feels as though Sara is the parent, and then in the same breath, she’s a petulant child, and seeing how Michelle reacts to this only adds to the layers of who she is and why she is the way she is.

I liked the paralleling dynamics between what Michelle is going through in her personal life, and the outside influences and physical challenges, like training for a race with Daniel. Much of her inner struggles are reflective in the physical ones, and all the while you want to root for a nice, easy, simple outcome for her, but much like life, nothing is ever so nice, easy, or simple.

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review. Pictures in the Sky can be purchased here. (Only 99 cents for Kindle!)

Amanda Paull is a writer of humorous romantic fiction. She lives in the North East of England with her husband and works in the public sector. The inspiration for her stories comes from real life, which she tries to show the funnier side of by embellishing to the hilt. Visit Amanda at her website and on Facebook and Twitter.

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