Book Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

SummerofSerendipityI want to give a big, lovely welcome to Ali McNamara and the blog tour for her new novel, The Summer of Serendipity which has recently been released by Sphere. 

One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.

‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there’s always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor.

While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she’s remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel.
But will she ever discover the real truth behind the mysterious ‘Welcome House’? Or will the house cast its magical spell over Ren and help her to find true happiness?

Serendipity Parker is a property seeker. Finding the perfect home for her client is her priority. When she finds herself in the small Irish town of Ballykiltara, she thinks her search is going to be easy. The Welcome House seems perfect. The problem is, no one knows who owns it.
As Ren begins to research the house and the myths and stories surrounding it, she wonders if she will ever find out who owns this house that seems to always be open to all who need it.

From the title alone, I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Serendipity is one of my favourite words and the title just conjured up the feeling of sun, adventure and romance (the cover lends itself to the romantic feeling of the novel.)

I’ve been a big fan of Ali Mcnamara since her first novel, Notting Hill with Love Actually. I also loved Breakfast at Darcy’s (if you’ve read that, Dermot and Darcy make a small reappearance.)

It was lovely to go back to Tara and the area I loved from that novel and to be honest, it all sounds so charming and picturesque, I am about ready to pack my bags and move there. I can tell that Ali has a real love with Ireland by the way she describes it. The prose is so rich.

poster-page-001Serendipity Parker (or Ren,) is quite an intense character. She takes her job very seriously. She is a little bit of a closed door. A bit like the stories surrounding ‘The Welcome House.’ Kiki, her friend and assistant was the complete opposite – outgoing, friendly, bubbly and enthusiastic. I loved both Ren and Kiki for their differences and each one is relatable and likeable.

All the way through, I wondered what could have happened to Ren that would force her to  make herself so closed off to the world.

Finn sounds like the perfect hero (he also has his own secrets,) but I also had a soft spot for Father Duffy and Eddie too. To be honest, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like in this novel.

One of the things I loved most about The Summer of Serendipity is the folklore explored in it. It appealed to my love of myths, mystery and legend. I tore through this book because I was engrossed in the plot; I needed to know what was going on (in a story that had me guessing until the very end.) On the one hand, I wanted to find out what was going on and at the same time, I didn’t want the book to end as the style, the writing and the content had me hooked. I kept promising myself it would be one more page… then one more chapter. You get the picture.

This book is perfect if you are looking for a summer read for the holiday you’re about to take or if you simply want to escape to Ireland for a while from the comfort of your armchair or garden lounger.
Ali’s writing is welcoming, warm and romantic. I love her and I adored this book (if you couldn’t tell already.)

Thank you to Ali and Little Brown for including me in the blog tour for this fabulous novel and for the copy to review. The Summer of Serendipity is available to buy now in most UK bookstores and online where sold in paperback and eBook.


ali-mcnamaraAbout Ali: 

Ali McNamara is a writer and author of eight novels.

The latest of which, The Summer of Serendipity, was released by Sphere in July 2017.

Her debut, From Notting Hill with Love…Actually, was the first of three ‘Notting Hill’ books and became an instant bestseller.

Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and her beloved Labrador dogs. When she isn’t writing, she likes to travel, read and people watch, more often than not accompanied by a good cup of coffee!

Her dogs, and a love of exercise keep her sane!

Ali’s website: or she’s on Twitter: @AliMcNamara 


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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