Blurb from Goodreads
Have you ever imagined running away from your life?
Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.
The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…
Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?
And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)?
The Summer Job at first glance is a frothy, fun read about a devil-may-care character that somehow finds herself taking on the job of a highly-trained sommelier in a case of false identity…
But underneath the surface it’s so much more than that.
Main character Birdy sort of flits through life. She doesn’t like commitment. Roots aren’t her thing. There’s nothing in life that truly makes her heart sing… but she has a best friend. A brilliant best friend named Heather. Heather is everything Birdy isn’t. She’s dedicated, more focused, and is passionate about wine. So much so that she has become an expert sommelier.
Heather had a new job lined up in Scotland but at the last minute decided to back out of it and take off for the summer to continental Europe with her boyfriend. Meanwhile Birdy is jobless. And soon to me homeless… and gets the wild notion to travel to Scotland and pretend to be Heather…
And hi-jinx ensue!
The Summer Job is a highly entertaining read. There’s a great cast of supporting characters that each impart their own little sparkle to the novel and help to make the book come alive. And it’s very funny! Lots of wonderfully silly things happen within the environment of the hotel in Scotland that make this a perfect rainy day read. There’s also a lovely potential romance running the storyline which really made me feel all the feels.
But the star of the show in every way is Birdy. On the surface she’s almost a party girl type, but as the narrative unfolds we begin to see all the different layers to her character. And we begin to understand the thinking behind how such a likeable character could do something as reckless as impersonate their best friend and risk the credibility of their best friend’s professionalism. We also begin to understand why Birdy has such a commitment phobic view of love and relationships, and how she could ever have been in a relationship with as heinous a character as Tim; HATED his character so much!!!
Because this book has some deeper themes running though it. The story features an alcoholic character from Birdy’s past and also an alcoholic character from her present. We also uncover the mental abuse (and endangerment) that she was subjected to as a child and it helps to give this story an unexpected gravitas.
I very much enjoyed how the book wove the almost ridiculous with the incredibly serious. It’s a tricky thing to balance the light and airy with the perfect amount of dark in what is essentially a lighthearted, easy read, yet this book pulls it off with aplomb.
A fun read with just the right amount of grittiness to prevent it from beer becoming too saccharine.
Content warning: alcoholism, adults dealing with memories of childhood abandonment and wilful neglect, parent gaslighting a child
*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley. This review contains my honest thoughts and opinions*
Publishing 15th April 2021, Viking