Hello Again by Isabelle Broom

Pepper runs art classes where she helps others to realize their artistic potential, but has no faith in her own talent. She has lived all her life in the Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh, where a family tragedy has haunted her for the past twenty years. When her elderly friend, Josephine, requests her company on a trip to Europe to revisit old haunts associated with her first love, Jorge, Pepper decides the time has come to broaden her horizons.

It is in Portugal that Pepper first meets and falls in love with Finn, who runs a restaurant in Hamburg with his friends; he is also in the process of setting up a website for artists to display and sell their work. He and Pepper are trying to make their long distance relationship work when something happens that puts all their plans in jeopardy – no spoilers here though, so you’ll have to read Hello, Again for yourself to find out.

Lisbon is described by Isabelle Broom with an artist’s eye – the pictures made from brightly coloured mosaic tiles everywhere they look, rows of houses where each one is a different pastel hue, and the Banksy-style arty graffiti decorating the walls. I started out knowing nothing about the city but would definitely love to go there now. Same goes for Barcelona with its colourful, vibrant streets and all the wonderful buildings designed by Gaudi.

Hello, Again is a beautifully written story with vivid descriptions and totally believable characters. At the beginning, Pepper seems weighed down by grief and guilt at the loss of her sister so many years before, but when Josephine encourages her to spread her wings, and Finn convinces her that she is talented, she takes the first steps on the road to recovery.

This is the first book I have read by Isabelle Broom, but I fully intend to explore her back catalogue as soon as I can. Thanks to the author, Hodder and NetGalley for a review copy.