Perfect for a summer read, this romantic novel by Phillipa Ashley is set on the charming Isles of Scilly, specifically on the fictional island of Stark. The allure of the quaint beach café and the close-knit island community adds to the charm of this feel-good romance.

While Lily wasn’t for the idea of going on holiday, this is where she ended up: In a half-finished resort on a grey and rainy island with no signal. It’s a rather dramatic change for a workaholic with her own company.

Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashley

As you can imagine though, things quickly change; the weather gets better, Lily can go to Tresco and Bryher where there is signal, she sympathises with the not unattractive owner of the resort, Sam, and quickly realises just how much she needed a break. Maybe the fact that the media are reporting her death has something to do with her need to stay away for a little bit. After all, reading your own obituary can make you want to re-think some life choices.

Parts of the storyline are predictable; we won’t deny that Sam is more than just “not unattractive” and that, being a romance novel, the feeling is mutual.

There is however a touch of unpredictability. The unexpected twists and the focus on the other characters makes this interesting: Lily’s perfect sister, who Lily tries to live up to, Sam, who seems to have a complicated past and an even more complicated present with his teenage niece staying with him, Morven, who is at the point in her life where she needs to make big decisions.

These twists in the storyline along with the charm of the setting make for a very good summer read. At the centre of it all remains Lily, who will resonate a little in all of us as she tries to decide what is truly important to her in life and tries to balance her personal priorities with her business and professional responsibilities.

Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashely was published by Penguin on the 6th June 2024 ISBN: 9781804945520

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