The Dandelion Years by Erica James

My Rating: 5/5

Available: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio, Kobo, Nook, Paperback due 18.06.15

Synopsis: Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.

Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.

My Review:  I wasn’t entirely sure about the synopsis of this book but all those reservations went away when I started reading this latest release by Erica James. It was a bit of a slow burner but well worth the wait. Saskia seems something of a loner and following the death of her mother and grandmothers her life has fallen into an unusual situation. She lives with her father and two grandfathers in relative harmony. Saskia is a book restorer and along with her father they arrive at a job where Saskia finds a hidden notebook which soon becomes a bit of an obsession.

Saskia wasn’t a character I was drawn to immediately, but as you get to know her father and two grandfathers each character means you understand Saskia that little bit more. Matthew Grey is recovering from the death of the man closest to him Jacob, who he considered a father figure. When Saskia and Matthew meet they have no idea how they are linked but their awkward and faltering start makes for compulsive reading. 

The notebook is the second thread of the story and features a man who falls in love with the love of his life Kitty during the war. This element of the story was one that made me question whether I would enjoy the book, but Erica James has a way with storytelling that means it matters little what era you are in. The war time love tale between Kitty and the man in her life had me hooked. I would say this is the furthest from what I would traditionally read, but a book that took me completely by surprise. An absolutely wonderful book by an author I love, and I cannot recommend this highly enough!

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