Monday 22 December 2014

Review ~ The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond.

Title: The Year of Taking Chances.
Author: Lucy Diamond.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan.
Genre: Women's Fiction.
Ebook Publication Date: December 15, 2014.
Paperback Publication Date: January 1, 2015.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Because love is always worth the risk...

It's New Year's Eve, and Gemma and Spencer Bailey are throwing a house party. There's music, dancing, champagne and all their best friends under one roof. It's going to be a night to remember.

Also at the party is Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her much-missed mum's house and to figure out what to do with her life; and Saffron, a PR executive who's keeping a secret which no amount of spin can change. The three women bond over Gemma's dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and vow to make this year their best one yet.

But as the months unfold, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin find themselves tested to their limits by shocking new developments. Family, love, work, home - all the things they've taken for granted are thrown into disarray. Under pressure, they are each forced to rethink their lives and start over. But dare they take a chance on something new?

I loved The Year of Taking Chances. Really loved it. In it we’re brought three completely believable leading female characters, Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin – normal women with everyday kind of problems. Their stories aren’t telling anything groundbreakingly new or extravagant but the novel is delivered in such a wonderful kind of way it will have you laughing one second, a little emotional the next and always rapidly turning the pages for more until you get to the end of the 450+ pages and realise that’s just not enough because this book was FAB and now it’s over. Maybe that’s just me, but I thought The Year of Taking Chances was simply brilliant.

I’m struggling with where to start this because every aspect of this novel was a joy to read. One thing which stood out to me was how the author created so many characters to care about. There’s Gemma, who is set to learn that sometimes something unexpected can happen which will turn your life completely on its head. On New Year’s Eve, Gemma meets Caitlin, who is still struggling to pick up the pieces after the death of her mother, and Saffron who looks to be escaping and hiding away from her own problems. I loved all three of these characters and seeing their friendship built upon throughout the novel, but what I really enjoyed was how it wasn’t just the obvious characters Lucy made me care about. I was rooting for so many individual family members and friends that I lost count of the amount of happy endings I was hoping for. There were Gemma’s children, who were either struggling with hormones or confused about the situation their family was in. Max and Harry, I loved. Bunty, she was completely mad and at times really made me laugh with all her ridiculous demands. At other times, her more sensitive side touched me and I loved her character. I could name so many other characters, even characters in such minor roles that they were only mentioned once or twice and still left a lasting impression on me. The characters were written with such warmth and heart that I couldn’t help but care.

There was a moment in this book where the title really set in – the moment where Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron are working together to help Gemma impress Bunty with her ‘business’, her dress-making. On the spot, they’re creating a brand and their bond is growing closer and you can almost feel their energy through Lucy’s invigorating writing. This moment in the book was the highlight for me for so many reasons. One, because it was the point where I sat and thought – I’m really attached to these characters, things are looking up for them and it really matters to me where they’re going. The main reason was because it was the moment the title hit – the moment where one character we’ve so easily been made to care for is taking her chance, the chance to change her life and honestly it was a little inspiring. If I hadn’t been so lucky as to get this advance copy, I could imagine myself reading this a little after New Year, wallowing at failing one of my silly little new year’s resolutions until I get to this moment and choose to look at the bigger picture and see that there’s much better ways of changing my life for the better. That’s why I think Lucy is on to a winner with this novel because the characters she develops are so realistic, it’s so easy to relate with traits in all of them and then not only get taken in by their lives but also start thinking about your own a little bit. All women at times might feel resolutions like losing loads of weight are the way to go, but seeing Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron choose to take charge of their lives instead feels a much more rewarding attitude to me.

I’ll admit that I did just love every single thing about The Year of Taking Chances. From the pacing to the direction it was taken in and from the way such serious and at times sad themes are covered yet we never lose the underlying positivity and uplifting nature. Marriage, pregnancy, careers, health, bereavement and friendship, just to name a few, are all typical kind of chick lit themes seen in this book but Lucy Diamond’s writing is not typical – it is flawless. The dialogue was always fresh and I loved the wit and charm in the writing. The characters of Gemma, Saffron and Caitlin were all great to read. I loved them individually, from the strength and bravery they could show as their lives changed direction, to their family relations and different approach to the situations put in front of them. Together, I adored seeing their friendship grow and well, you just wouldn’t want to cross them when they put their heads together! The Year of Taking Chances is about love and choosing to live your life, instead of watching it pass by, and in my opinion it’s the perfect book to start your year off right.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. I love your reviews Sophie. You really explain how the book gets to you. Xx

  2. Why can't we like comments! I agree with Tanya!!
    Great review and on my Christmas TBR list for sure xx

    1. Thank you! Too kind. Hope you enjoy it! xx

  3. This sounds a great read to KO the new year Sophie - it is going on my Kindle!!


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