Sunday, 17 July 2016

Blog Tour - Review of Learning to Speak American by Colette Dartford

The bit on the back...

Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond's last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley.

Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how - he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship.

As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan's life begins to fall apart.

After all the heartbreak, can Lola and Duncan learn to love again?


Firstly, thank you to Twenty7 and Alice for sending me a copy of this lovely book. This is Colette's debut novel and is all about main characters, husband and wife, Lola and Duncan.

Lola and Duncan's lives were turned upside down after the heartbreak of losing their daughter. They're lives were literally torn apart so much so that they are near strangers to each other. Duncan lives his life in London, securing legacy worthy sales and Lola stays in their countryside home looking after their livery yard and battling through grief alone.

One of the many brilliant things about this novel is the depth of emotion Colette achieves throughout. Lola's grief is almost palpable in the beginning of the novel. It's a dark cloud overshadowing everything in her life and her resentment of Duncan is very easy to empathise with. Equally it's easy to see that Duncan is struggling to engage with his wife in this new life post death and at the start of the novel he also will garner your sympathy.

As the story kicks into gear on the couple's anniversary trip to Napa Valley the dynamic between the characters changes. Lola has a new lease on life and in turn everything in Duncan's is falling down round about him. At times I really disliked Duncan and although there is some empathy for the stress he is under his actions are never for the better and at times he is quite pathetic.

Throughout the story will charm you however it will also reduce you to tears on more than one occasion. There will always be a part of me that loves America and everything to do with it so seeing the move through Lola's eyes was right up my street when it comes to imagining someone else's life.


I cannot wait to see what is next from Colette after this stunning and compelling debut. If you haven't already, you can read an article from Colette on the blog about the things she learned while living in America.

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