Second Chance Summer | Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley with Second Chance Summer book cover


When workaholic Lily Harper passes out in her office, even she has to admit she needs a break. But going to a brand-new and exclusive retreat in the Scilly Isles doesn’t quite work out as she imagines, especially when she finds she’s the only guest. Her minor celebrity status is never completely left behind.

Second Chance Summer: book review & synopsis

Second Chance Summer makes you want to be on the remote island of Stark straight away. The descriptions of the sky, the sea and the weather are wonderful, painting an enticing picture and making you feel as if you’re really there.

Bubbling through the entertaining plot is the attraction between Lily and Sam, but as they both have demons in their past, they struggle to open up to one another. This feels completely natural and engaging. Their personal growth is so affecting it makes us reassess the priorities in our own lives. This might be a gorgeous summer read, but it’s one that has depth and emotion, too.

The sheer joy in reading this story comes from the themes interwoven into the characters’ lives. For example, teenage Morwen’s feeling of rejection manifests itself in her often aggressive attitude, and it’s easy to relate to the sense of grief experienced by Lily, Etienne and Sam.

The exploration of integrity in business as Lily contemplates her future, the manipulation and trolling of others through social media, and the assumptions made by the public about famous people all add colour and interest. There’s escapism, humanity and warmth that completely captures our hearts.

Engaging, relatable characters

Other than Lily, who has appeared on TV, everyone else is relatively ordinary. They feel exactly like our friends and neighbours. Phillipa Ashley makes us care for each of them. There are no arch villains to loathe, no millionaire playboys to drool over, just ordinary, hard-working, imperfect individuals doing their best in life. As well as this, from Lily’s successful business to Morwen’s amateur pictures, the story illustrates how integrity and creativity are essential for mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

Second Chance Summer is a fabulous read. It brims with warmth, understanding and romance. Read it and feel like you’ve had a holiday!

Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashley is out now (Penguin, PB, £8.99) and available from Amazon.

Read more fiction reviews by Linda Hill including My Favourite Mistake by Marian Keyes, The Intruders by Louise Jensen, A Lesson In Cruelty by Harriet Tyce, Every Move You Make by C.L. Taylor and Every Smile You Fake by Dorothy Koomson. 

Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.