Published by Bantam Press
Publication date – 19 April 2018
Source – review copy
‘You know those cracks in your heart, Lorna, where things didn’t work out, but you picked yourself up and carried on? That’s where the fear gets out. And where the light gets in.’
It was Betty, defiant to the end, who sent Lorna back to Longhampton. If Lorna’s learned one thing from Betty it’s that courage is something you paint on like red lipstick, even when you’re panicking inside. And right now, with the keys to the town’s gallery in her hand, Lorna feels about as courageous as Betty’s anxious little dachshund, trembling beside her.
Lorna’s come home to Longhampton to fulfil a long-held dream, but she knows, deep down, there are ghosts she needs to lay to rest first. This is where her tight-knit family shattered into silent pieces. It’s where her unspoken fears about herself took root and where her own secret, complicated love began. It’s not exactly a fresh start.
But as Lorna – and the little dog – tentatively open their cracked hearts to old friends and new ones, facing hard truths and fresh promises, something surprisingly beautiful begins to grow around the gallery, something so inspirational even Lorna couldn’t have predicted the light it lets into her world . . .
Read more on the Penguin website.
Lorna left Longhampton when she was thirteen and hasn’t returned since. Now she is thirty, and has suffered the loss of both of her parents. Inspired by Betty, a lady she visited in a hospice, she seizes the opportunity to run the art gallery in Longhampton. Accompanied by Rudy, the anxious dachshund she inherited from Betty, Lorna learns to believe in herself and that her world can change for the better when she lets the light in.
There was a lovely feel to this story, the reader soon becomes caught up in Lorna’s world. There is a balance of humour and sadness that runs throughout the tale, making it a rounded, flowing, well told story.
There are a host of wonderful characters in Where The Light Gets In. There is Lorna, still affected by the loss of her parents, who died in quick succession. She has a close relationship with her sister Jess, the loss of their parents bringing them even closer together. Jess is a different character to Lorna, more controlled, down to earth, whose life revolves around her children and husband. Tiff, Lorna’s friend adds humour to the story. Joyce, the local artist helps Lorna in unforseen ways. As the friendship between the two develops Lorna learns more about her own hidden artistic side and she in turn helps Joyce find the joy in art again. As for Sam he helps Lorna exorcise demons from her past and opens her eyes to future opportunities.
I was a little perplexed at times with Lorna’s reactions to Sam, as I didn’t feel that the story always warranted or provided enough back story to make those reactions seem more genuine and legitimate, rather they occasionally made her appear a little overwrought, which seemed out of character. However, this didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book.
There is a lot to love about this story, not just the warm characters. Love runs through the novel. There is the love of art, parental love, amicable love and romantic love. Lorna discovers things about herself that she would not have ever really known if she had not taken the leap of faith again and taken over the gallery. She learns that she can be an artist, though she may not find that in the more obvious forms of art, it just takes her friends to open her eyes.
This is a story about opening your mind and heart to new possibilities and old dreams. And that letting go of the past can mean letting the light in on the future. A lovely, warm-hearted novel, I’ll be on the look out for more from Lucy Dillon in the future.
About the author
Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria and read English at Cambridge, then read a lot of magazines as a press assistant in London, then read other people’s manuscripts as a junior fiction editor. She now lives in a village outside Hereford with an old red Range Rover and too many books.
Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Contemporary Romantic Novel prize in 2015 for A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME, and the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for LOST DOGS AND LONELY HEARTS.