Book Club: Hold On To Me

Author: Victoria Purman
ISBN: 9781743694374
RRP: $29.99

The Boys of Summer series began as a trilogy but many fans, and Victoria herself, were sad to say goodbye to Middle Point and the cast of characters we have grown to know and love. It seems Middle Point wasn’t ready for us to say goodbye either and the series continues with Hold On To Me, which hopefully will still not be the last.

Hold On To Me brings us a whole new insight into the character of Stella Ryan, the successful businesswoman and owner of the popular boutique Style by Stella. Stella spent half her childhood in Middle Point and has been back for the last five years building her business. Stella is by far the most complicated of Purman’s heroines and I think she became the one I feel the most for. All of the heroines have baggage, as do the heroes, and none of the roads to love have been smooth but Stella really touched me.

Stella lives just up the road from Middle Point in the very real South Australian coastal town of Port Elliot. She opened Style by Stella four years ago and the business is her baby so when it is completely waterlogged after a fire in the neighbouring business Stella is devastated.

Style by Stella wasn’t fire or smoke damaged but it was water damaged and all of her stock is gone, the interior is ruined, the ceiling is falling in and there’s a big chunk of roof missing. Stella is determined to overcome this adversity, she has started from scratch before and she can do it again; she has all the insurance she could possibly need so this is just a hurdle.

The community is small and news travels fast, and everyone wants to do what they can to help. Anna Morelli (of Our Kind of Love) has a younger brother who has his own construction company and she is straight on the phone to him. The Morelli’s are a large, close Italian family and Luca knows saying no to his sister is asking for trouble so he gets in touch, even though he has just picked up the keys for his new house – a renovator’s dream that he had cleared his schedule to work on.

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Luca is younger, hot and passionate about his work. He is happy to work with Stella but he wants to be able to have some input and be able to voice his ideas. Stella has perfected her self control, in all aspects of her life, and she doesn’t like having to relinquish any of it.

Stella is an admirable character, she has a rough back story. She is a woman who has dragged herself up from rock bottom more than once, she has been burned, badly, more than once and she is determined it will never happen again. The easiest way to ensure that is to not let anyone in. It has taken all her time back in Port Elliot to start making friends and allowing them in but it is still a very slow process.

Hold On To Me is Stella’s journey to an acceptance of the past that will allow her to move forward; that will allow her to let people in and that will allow her to trust again. In the earlier Boys of Summer books the boys were also carrying a bit of baggage and that doesn’t seem to be the case with Luca. He is still finding his feet in his business and has a huge renovation to consider but he has a huge and supportive family, though sometimes that can be a little stifling.

I loved the chemistry between Stella and Luca and the never quite knowing where it was going to lead. We got to check in with Anna and Joe, Lizzie and Dan and Julia and Ry, even if it was only briefly and now I’m left wondering where to next but I hope Purman can find another Boy of Summer because I already want to head back to Middle Point and see what happens now. I want to know what happens in the shop next door. Actually there are a couple of characters I would be very interested to follow also.

Yes, Hold On To Me is part of a series but don’t let that hold you back; even if you haven’t read the other Boys of Summer stories you will fall in love with this one.

Hold On To Me is book #71 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.

Available December 14th from Harlequin, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.
Victoria loves to hear from her readers and you can find her at her Website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

10 of our lucky readers will be reading Hold On To Me so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

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