Monday 27 June 2022

Looking For The Durrells by Melanie Hewitt #LookingForTheDurrells @MelanieHewitt61 @HarperCollinsUK #Corfu #HolidayReading


Fiancés, friends, and other animals. . .

After a year that sees a broken-off engagement and the death of her beloved father, Penny is desperate to get away.

Fulfilling a childhood dream, she sets off on a month-long pilgrimage to Corfu--an island idyll she knows only through the pages of Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals.

On the island, Penny quickly finds herself drawn into the lives of a tight-knit circle of strangers. Exploring--searching for the places the Durrells knew decades before--she makes unexpected discoveries about the hopes, fears, and secrets of the people living there today.

And as strangers start to be friends, lives past and present become entwined in ways none of them could have predicted. . .

Looking For The Durrells by Melanie Hewitt was published on 5 August 2021 by Harper Inspire. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.

I had intended to read Looking For The Durrells during my holiday to Corfu in October 2021 but sadly, due to family illnesses, that trip was cancelled. I saved my copy and was delighted to read this really quite wonderful story during our re-arranged trip to Arillas in North-West Corfu earlier this month. 

Corfu is one my favourite places in the world, and although I read this whilst staying in the North of the island, I have visited the small resort of Agios Georgios in the south, where the story is set,  on quite a few occasions. So, the perfect reading set up for me, reading about a location that I've visited whilst sitting in the sun in Corfu - perfection! 

Penny's life has been full of sadness just recently. Her beloved father has died and her engagement didn't work out. Single and lonely and desperately missing her father, Penny decides to go to Corfu. She and her father had always loved the works of the Durrells and had intended to visit the island that is described so wonderfully in the books. Penny has a special place in her heart for 'My Family and Other Animals' by Gerald Durrell, and this becomes something of a guide book for her. 

With a whole month in front of her,  Penny settles into her rented accommodation in Agios Georgios and it is not long before she is swept up by the warmth of the Greek hospitality. Being a single woman, travelling on her own, the locals feel protective of her and she soon has her own table in the taverna where she enjoys the freshly cooked food and becomes almost part of the family. 

Melanie Hewitt writes with such passion for Corfu, her descriptions of the people, the location, the flowers, the fireflies and the every day life in a small Greek resort are perfect. Penny discovers so much about herself, and about the people she gets to know and theres's some sadness, but so much joy within these pages. 

An absolute treat for any Corfu lover, and for those of you who haven't yet visited my favourite island, I can assure you that you will be desperate to book a flight when you've read this. 

Warm, uplifting, the perfect summer read and I'm really looking forward to more from Melanie Hewitt. 

After deciding she wanted to be a book illustrator, at 18, Melanie Hewitt went to Art
College. Halfway through the year, she changed her mind and secured a place at Swansea University to study English. After 18 months, she moved on again to a college just outside her hometown of Doncaster and studied an eclectic mix of linguistics, sociology, and economics.

Then she saw a job advert for a reporter and took up the post at the Doncaster Advertiser, later became Editor, and then worked in PR. She now works in education as Communications Lead for the XP Schools Trust based in Yorkshire and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Looking for the Durrells is her first novel.

Twitter @MelanieHewitt61

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