Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Books Read: The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance. 

The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help too – but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth. 

Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more…?

Book Links: Kindle or Paperback

I'd like to thank Harriet at Simon & Schuster for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for my copy of The Summer Fair to review. 

Despite having previously bought the first three books in Heidi Swain's Nightingale Square series, I hadn't managed to read any of them until now but I'm glad that I found the time to go back to the beginning and read two of them Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square and Poppy's Recipe for Life. However, don't worry if you've not read any of them as they can all be read as standalones but you'll soon find yourself wanting to read the rest to get to know each of the characters in this delightful community.   

The Summer Fair is the latest addition to the series and features Beth, a carer in a local nursing home, who brings former resident Harold back to Nightingale Square for a visit. It's during this trip that she sees for herself the community vibe and has her wishing that she lived there instead of the room in a shared house where she's taken for granted. 

When we first meet Beth she's a shadow of her former self. She loves her job at the care home looking after the residents but as for the rest of her life, she's purely existing getting through one day to the next. Her love of music died with her mum and it was painful to see her cutting herself off from the one thing that used to bring her such joy but at the same time I understood that it brought back painful memories. A chance encounter soon means that her wishful thinking of moving into Nightingale Square can become a reality and with it the chance for Beth to rebloom like her beloved pot plants that remind her of her mum.

It was great to see that with a promotion at work to Activities Co-ordinator it gave her a new sense of purpose. She really had the residents best interests at heart, and what a unique and quirky bunch of characters they were, as she set about creating activities and events that they will want to take part in rather than just things to occupy their days. As her plans for the care home's Summer Fair and the Nightingale Square fundraising event, that she also finds herself involved in, start to come to fruition she really starts to come alive again and there's a real sense of finally feeling at home again. 

I love books with a real sense of community and you get that in abundance in this Nightingale Square series, it's like reuniting with old friends and catching up with everything that is going on in their lives. And with each new book we are introduced to new characters such as Beth and her housemate Eli, as well as Greta and Freddie, to name but two, at the care home who certainly livened up things with their antics.  

Who are we going to meet in Nightingale Square next time? Only time will tell but I for one can't wait for the next instalment whenever that may be. 

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