Cleo Jones has to be one of my favourite heroines – written with such honesty and compassion that I felt an immediate bond.
While many of the lead characters in books I’ve read have past struggles that influence their present decisions, very few are still going through them to any real degree – unlike Lynsey James’ creation in A Season Of Hopes And Dreams.
As she struggles with her weight and self-esteem, Cleo is very much in the thick of it, which makes this story a refreshing read – one that doesn’t shy away from some harsh realities.
Here’s the blurb:
It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer, but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones…
But this season is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery – or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!
Whatever the answer, this is going to be a feeling she never forgets… watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!
I think anyone who has battled with body and confidence issues will be able to relate to Cleo and will definitely want to see her succeed. That only builds as we find out more about her and her past.
However, while this might sound like a really heavy book, it’s not thanks to the way Lynsey writes. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments together with references to things that brought on a bout of nostalgia, including Neighbours and late 90s girl group Cleopatra (comin’ atcha).
I love her supportive bestfriend, Emma, and Scott Robinson, the personal trainer, is swoon worthy.
Most of the ending is fabulous but I was mildly disappointed with the way Cleo dealt with her childhood bully. I won’t give anything away but it just felt too easy.
Having said that this is a great read that had me feeling all the emotions.
My rating: Four stars.
With thanks to HQ Digital for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.