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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness by Laura Kemp

About The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness

Sometimes all it takes to make the world a better place is a small act of kindness...

When Ceri Price arrives in the small seaside village of Dwynwen in West Wales, she only means to stay for a couple of nights - long enough to scatter her mother's ashes, and then go back to her life as a successful make-up entrepreneur.

But a case of mistaken identities means she lands a job as the barmaid in the local pub, she unexpectedly finds friendship, and wonders if love might follow... But when the plans for a new housing estate put the local woodland under threat, she fears the way of life here could disappear.

Then mysterious acts of kindness start springing up around the village - a string of bunting adorns the streets, a new village signpost appears out of nowhere and someone provides paint to spruce up the houses on the seafront. Who is behind these acts of kindness and can they help in the race to save the village from the faceless developers...?

Welcome to Dwynwen: Village of Love. Where friendship flourishes and love blossoms...

My review of The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness

The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness is such a beautiful book. It truly is, and it reminded me of  what it is to be human. In a world that is dominated by social media, online followers and selfies, this story focussed on the real meaning of living life to the fullest. It's a stripping back life to the absolute basics, that of forming friendships and actually talking to people, and I loved it.

The story begins with us meeting Ceri Price, a thirty-year-old woman who has recently suffered a bereavement, that of her mother who had dementia. Ceri was her carer, and although a successful businesswoman in her own right, having single-handedly set up a make-up business from home using store cupboard ingredients, she feels that her life lacks meaning. We follow Ceri to Wales. as she leaves her married sister behind, to scatter her mum's ashes on her beloved shoreline of Dwynwen, a seaside village in West Wales. What follows is a funny, heart-warming and thought provoking read about the importance of friendship and caring for others.

This book is full of larger than life Welsh characters who you just can't help but love, and for me, I couldn't help but be smitten with Rhodri, the somewhat socially awkward bear of a man with a passion for recycling. He wants the village to be a welcoming place for visitors, and to keep the natural beauty of the area, but others in the village are less passionate and can't see a way to fight the investors who want to change the beauty and stillness of this seaside village. As an outsider, Ceri brigs a freshness and unique viewpoint to this small community. Although she had only planned to stay a few days. after a misunderstanding, she ends up staying a lot longer and becomes sucked into village life, and I loved this.

What I also enjoyed were the multiple points of view. This gave a greater depth to the story, as we read the thoughts and feelings of not only Ceri, but of those who had a huge impact on her life, who made her evaluate her life, and to consider what was truly important in her life. I sometimes find multiple POV confusing, but this was not the case with this book, as all voices were very distinctive.

The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness is a stunning story that truly encompasses the Welsh community spirit and you can't help but feel better about life once you have read it. It puts a smile on your face. It is uplifting, shares the best of human kindness and makes you appreciate that life is so much more than material possessions. It really is a feel good book, that is perfect for those cold winter evenings.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an Advanced Reader Copy.

The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness is available as an eBook now and is published by Orion in paperback on 22 Feb. 2018. It can be found on Amazon here.

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