‘Hannah can’t believe it when she’s offered a trip to sunny Spain with her best friend and dreamy boss . . . what’s the catch?’
Then. Now. Always. is the new release from Isabelle Broom.
Published by Michael Joseph Books (Penguin), prepare for pure escapism to the Almeria region of Spain for a little sunshine and sangria.
I received my copy from the publisher via NetGalley and as always my review is unbiased and voluntary…
Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and crush). If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…
Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?
For once in her life, can’t Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?
Purchase Link ~ Then. Now. Always.
If there’s one thing Isabelle Broom does brilliantly in her novels, it is the evocation of place.
In her previous novels the reader has journeyed to Greece and to Prague but in Then. Now. Always., we are swept off to the province of Almeria located on the South East coast of Spain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Hannah Hodges works in a media production team. Completely infatuated with her Greek boss Theo, Hannah spends her days dreaming of the future they could have. Having never spent any ‘real’ time in his company, Hannah is beside herself when asked to join Theo and the team on location in Mojacar, a village in Almeria.
It is Hannah who first introduced the idea of doing a feature on Mojacar, as it is a place that she holds very dear to her heart. Having spent many a holiday there with her best friend, Rachel during their teenage years and in her early twenties, Hannah has very special memories of this glorious region of Spain.
Hannah’s home life has not been the best, with her father leaving herself and her mum when she was quite young. Now, with a stepsister Nancy that Hannah appears to despise and a love-life that permanently resides in her head, Hannah is ready for adventure.
On arrival in Mojacar, memories come flooding back. Hannah quickly remembers the fun she used to have and decides that this trip is the perfect time to make a few changes in her life, one of these being her relationship with Theo. Up to this point Hannah always remained in the background. She was always up for a laugh and a few jars down the pub but now she wants Theo to see a more mature Hannah, a person he could easily fall for.
Hannah finds out quite a lot about herself on this trip and really goes on a pilgrimage of self discovery. I have to be honest and say that this was a journey that was more than necessary. Up to this point Hannah’s relationships with people was quite childish and immature as she herself alluded to at one point that her grumbling represented that of ‘a sulky teenager’
Hannah at times sweet, at times naive and many times quite childish discovers that she needs to re-evaluate her life and decide what it is she truly wants to be.
One very interesting individual that Hannah meets, who helps her on this journey, is Elaine. Elaine is an artist who has lived in the village for years. Originally from England, Elaine settled in Mojacar after an unsettled upbringing and made a home for herself amidst the scent of lemons and the sound of the cicadas.
‘I’ll never forget how it felt to look up at the Old Town for the very first time….Mojacar is unique in that the view looking up from the playa towards the village is actually better than the one up here looking back down to sea..’
Hannah and Elaine develop a very strong connection over the few weeks and Hannah soon realises that Elaine’s secrets run deep. I think this is the point where Hannah finally grows up
‘Mojacar showed me who I was, and who I wanted to be‘
Scattered throughout Then. Now. Always. is references to the beauty of Mojacar, and it is within these descriptions that I got totally lost for awhile.
‘On the south-east coast of Spain, in the final foothills of Sierra Cabrera, there is a place both hidden and proud. A village that seems to shimmer as you look upon it, the cluster of the white buildings a honeycomb shot through with moonbeams of colour. There is a neat harmony of simplicity here, an exquisite union of nature and creation, and as you take the steep pathway leading into the heart of this architectural utopia, you will feel your spirit begin to sing.‘
Then. Now. Always. is not just a story of a young woman finding her way. It is much much more than that. Isabelle Broom writes beautifully and very passionately about a place that is obviously so very special to her. I have never been to Mojacar but as a result of this book I have been trawling the Internet looking for holiday deals so that I can too can absorb and witness the beauty of a place that sounds like my idea of paradise. Mojacar is described so exquisitely by Isabelle Broom….go discover a slice of sunshine yourself by picking up a copy of this enchanting book.
Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts at the University of West London before starting a career first in local newspapers and then as a sub editor at heat magazine. Nowadays, when she’s not writing novels set in far-flung locations, Isabelle spends her time being the Book Reviews Editor at heat and walking her beloved dog Max round the parks of north London. Oh, and she does a lot of laughing, too. Her novels My Map Of You and A Year And A Day (Penguin Michael Joseph) are out now, and her third book, Then. Now. Always. will arrive on 20 April 2017.
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