It would be easy to place Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses into the romance genre and just carry on.
But that would do its author, Carole Matthews, a disservice. In fact, this is a well-constructed novel of being a single parent and the challenges that throws your way.
Do you leave home at the break of dawn and return in the early evening to hold down a good job that enables you to pay your bills and take care of a teenage boy with ever increasing needs? Or, do you take a lesser paying job nearer home and hope the future “falls into place”?
These challenges and others are examined with a light hand but are no less engrossing for that lightness. Christie Chapman doesn’t exactly live the high life. She works hard, spends four hours a day travelling and in her spare time crafts beautiful cards and gifts. Her love of crafting, inherited from her mother, keeps her sane.
A treasured item in my memories box is a beautiful card a friend made me many moons ago, so I found the sections detailing the dies, papers and techniques used to produce a single card very interesting. Christie has such a talent for producing unusual items, she earns an opportunity to turn her pastime into a chance for extra, much needed, income.
Just when it seems the universe is smiling on her and son Finn, fate deals a cruel hand which leaves her questioning the future. Love, job and crafting come a distant second to what really matters to her life. She knows she needs to make changes, but what changes will have the best long-term outcome?
Reading Carol’s author’s notes, you learn that the basis of this story is truth; she even asks the friends who provided the inspiration for the story, if they enjoy the parts when she took artistic license with their story.
Hachette describes this novel as “A heart-warming and poignant novel of romance, family and second chances” – they could add that Carol Matthews brings real life into her characters. She develops her plot and her characters in a way that keeps you reading – you care about the people and want to follow their lives and stories.
To read an extract from this delightful novel, click here.
Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews (published by Hachette Australia) is available from Dymocks. Click here to learn more.