The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness by Laura Kemp – review

Published by Orion

Publication date – 22 February 2018 (ebook out now)

Source – review copy

Sometimes all it takes to make the world a better place is a small act of kindness…

When Ceri Price arrives in the small seaside village of Dwynwen in West Wales, she only means to stay for a couple of nights – long enough to scatter her mother’s ashes, and then go back to her life as a successful make-up entrepreneur.

But a case of mistaken identities means she lands a job as the barmaid in the local pub, she unexpectedly finds friendship, and wonders if love might follow… But when the plans for a new housing estate put the local woodland under threat, she fears the way of life here could disappear.

Then mysterious acts of kindness start springing up around the village – a string of bunting adorns the streets, a new village signpost appears out of nowhere and someone provides paint to spruce up the houses on the seafront. Who is behind these acts of kindness and can they help in the race to save the village from the faceless developers…?

Welcome to Dwynwen: Village of Love. Where friendship flourishes and love blossoms…

Ceri Price is mourning the loss of her mother. Intent on carrying out her wishes of spreading her ashes in her childhood home of Dwynwen in Wales, Ceri only plans on staying a few nights, then returning to Crewe to carry on her job as head of a successful make up business. However when she is mistaken for the new barmaid, what was going to be just a few days turns into a week, and then two. As the magic of the village and the warmth and friendliness of the locals takes over Ceri finds herself falling for Dwynwen, and for one local in particular. Then the village is threatened with plans for a new housing estate and random acts of kindness occur in the village. Who is behind those acts and can the new housing estate be stopped?

There is a lovely, cosy feel to this novel, this arises I think from the small, close-knit village and it’s quirky inhabitants, creating a village I would love to visit. The cast of characters is small, the village depicted so that it was easy to envisage and this all helped towards that cosy feel.

Laura Kemp has created a whole host of characters, each one adding something to the story. Ceri grew on me. She came across at first as a little spoiled and shallow but as the story progresses the reader sees that she has been caught up in the whirlwind success of her business and going to Dwynwen opens her eyes as to what she really wants from life. Then there are the locals. Gwil and Gwen, landlord and landlady at the local pub, The Dragon, are the catalyst for Ceri’s life change. When she steps in as barmaid she helps to transform the pub, breathing in new life and the couple bring comedy to the storyline. So too does Mel, who quickly becomes friends with Ceri. Mel holds onto an incident in her past which is making it impossible for her to move forward. The story sees Mel and Ceri helping each other, often times without even realising it. Then there are Rhodri and Logan, both of whom are interested in Ceri for their own reasons.

I had figured out who was behind the mysterious acts of kindness from early on in the story but it was nice to read about each one and to wonder what the next act would be.

There’s a warmth to the writing that draws the reader in. At the beginning of the story there were times when it felt a little flat (there were lots of references to bums!) but this soon picked up. There were also a couple of times when the point of Rhodri’s shyness and interest in recycling and the environment seemed a little laboured but again not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the story. There is a friendliness and fun feeling to the writing and that is reflected in the story.

A lovely way to spend a few hours, I’ll be interested to read more by Laura Kemp in the future.

About the author

Laura Kemp writes tender but hilarious romantic comedies which are unashamed love letters to the everywoman. She is a journalist and has written for the Guardian, Daily Mail and the Sun amongst others. Laura lives with her husband and son in Cardiff, where she pretends to be a domestic revolutionary so she doesn’t have to do the ironing.

Follow all her book news at facebook.com/Laurakempbooks or on Twitter @Laurajanekemp

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I like the sound of this book so will buy it. Sounds like my kind of thing.
    (Orion turned me down for an ARC on NetGalley)

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      I hope you like it when you read it. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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