Friday, 12 July 2013

Marshmallows For Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson

Kendra Tamale has built a life for herself in Australia but she flees back to England when her past begins to catch up with her. Moving into the Gadsborough family's converted garage as a lodger, Kendra plans to keep her head down and blend into the shadows but she finds herself being drawn into the lives of Kyle, Summer and Jaxon.
Kyle is a single father to the six year old twins and is clearly struggling. Kendra steps in to help but gets more than she bargained for when the children latch themselves onto her. A bond grows between them, something Kendra never planned and never imagined happening and they become a little unit that, although it is a little unusual, works for them.
But life cannot be that simple for Kendra as her past once again begins to collide with the present and Kendra fears her new life with Kyle and the children is about to come tearing apart at the seams.
I'm a big fan of Dorothy Koomson's more recent novels and am slowly working my way through the older ones so I was really looking forward to reading Marshmallows For Breakfast. I love the title and liked how the theme was continued with breakfast-related headings to separate sections of the book. My favourite scene from the book was quite the near the beginning of the book and took place while Kendra and the children shared breakfast together for the first time. I thought it was a lovely idea, making a breakfast made up of happy thoughts and topped with a wish and it began the wonderful relationship that develops between Kendra, Summer and Jaxon.
I found the book was a little slower than the other novels I've read so far but it was packed with powerful emotions and is as beautifully written as the others. Kendra's story is tantalisingly fed to us bit by bit so we know something bad has happened to her and we can probably guess what but the details become clearer as the story moves along.
There are some fantastic characters as usual, with Summer and Jaxon who are so close but dealing with the disruptions in their lives in very different ways, Kyle who is learning to adapt as a full-time parent and Kendra's friend and boss, Gabrielle. The characters are painted so vividly and we get to see scrutinise them so thoroughly that I feel that I really got to know them and will miss them now that I've finished the book.
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