The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn

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The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Denise Ramsay
Reviewed by Denise Ramsay
Summary: Abandon all scepticism and get lost in some seaside sentimentality. Great Fun.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781471161711

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So as another typically dreary British summer is drawing to a close, I found myself craving a fix of literary sunshine and sea kissed romance. In such a mood it was then, that I came across the cover for The Picture House by the Sea. Perfect blue skies, glistening sea, a beautiful Art Deco building and to top it off an old fashioned ice-cream cart. Consider me sold!

The set up for the drama is all very obvious and familiar. Gina, a strong-willed and independent career girl, leaves the city and her stresses behind for Cornwall as she goes to the rescue of an ailing grandfather fighting to keep the family ice-cream business afloat. It is here we watch Gina become reacquainted with an old childhood friend and work alongside him to save their old hunting ground - the picture house by the sea - from closure. We are left to wonder whether Gina will find success in her ventures (romantic and otherwise) especially as she has a very big distraction in the form of Max, the longterm boyfriend (!) I can already sense the eyes rolling but Hepburn writes in such a light hearted and engaging way the clichés are soon forgotten and the enjoyment quickly had.

I was instantly transported to Cornwall and the best postcard version of it. Hepburn spoils the reader with beautiful descriptions of the coast and the picturesque buildings, seascapes and people that fill it. Like many a modern woman, I am a sucker for anything vintage - bona fide or otherwise. So, I was delighted to find that not only was much of the drama going to take place in and around an old Art Deco picture house but classic movies, vintage clothes shops and restored railways were also going to play their part. In terms of good solid summer fun this was ticking all the boxes for me.

The romance in the novel progresses pretty much as expected and is no less enjoyable for our presumption of happily ever after. It is however, in the supporting cast and subplots that real enjoyment comes and submersion in Gina's seaside life is complete. My time spent with Gina left me utterly relaxed and satisfied. The book provides romance in all the obvious ways but Hepburn is completely unabashed in giving the reader what they want - tension in spades and the ubiquitous happy ending.

This was a departure from my usual reading fodder but I found it thoroughly enjoyable and would definitely read more from this author when I'm in need of a happy refresh! It was a lovely quick and gentle read so will appeal to those of us looking for some summer romance and relaxation.

If Picture House by the Sea has you craving another good beach read then I would recommend The Holiday Home by Fern Britton.

Buy The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn at

Buy The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn at


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