The Last Piece of my Heart by Paige Toon – 4.5*s @PaigeToonAuthor @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK

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When life feels like a puzzle, sometimes it’s the small pieces that make up the bigger picture… Join Bridget on a journey to put her world back together.

A successful travel journalist, Bridget has ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog about the missing pieces of her heart into a book. But after a spate of rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition.

Nicole Dupré died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel. Tasked with finishing the book, Bridget is thankful to have her foot in the publishing door, even if it means relocating to Cornwall for the summer and answering to Nicole’s grieving husband, Charlie

Well this was a book that really got me out of my reading slump, and  I’ll be honest, it was quite unexpected. I received a surprise copy from the publisher, and while I had every intention of reading it, I was guilty of the perennial sin of judging the book by its cover. Chick lit, it is how I defined it from the cover, and with the emphasis on the chick, ie the younger end of the market. Now I dislike that descriptor, primarily because I find it dismissive and also because I ceased to be a ‘chick’ decades ago. However, for anyone with similar thoughts, dismiss them now. The characters in the book, might not have been my age demographic, but I can still remember what it was like to fall in love, and I’m still as partial to the sight/thought of attractive members of the opposite sex (and yes, normally younger ones – let’s not pretend here – I want fantasy, not the reality of wrinkles and knackered knees)

As usual, no intention of revealing too much, and the blurb pretty much gives you the basics of the book. Essentially Bridget, urged on by boyfriend Elliot, had wanted to write a story based on revisiting past boyfriends to claim back the little pieces of her heart they still held. The theory being she needed the closure of getting the pieces back to move forward and love wholeheartedly. Her agent though, isn’t so keen on the story and instead wants her to finish second novel by Nicole Dupre who died leaving it incomplete. This means spending time in Cornwall, with Nicole’s husband and daughter, while she goes through the remaining notes and diaries that might give her a clue as to how the story was meant to evolve.

The story follows Bridget over the summer, staying in her Dad’s old camper van, still pursuing her original idea via her blog, and desperately trying to work out how Nicole would have wanted her book to end. While she’s revisiting Nicole’s life, she’s also taking a look at her own and what she thinks she wanted, might just not be what she really wants.

It’s a book that is in turns funny and moving, and even I, old cynic that I am was even brought to tears. The story of Charlie and his baby daughter, coming to terms with the death of his wife and starting to face the world again, was well portrayed and their relationship was touching. However the humour that runs through the book, lifts the story and prevents it from being what could have been a stock, and possibly mawkish  plot line. It adds a realism and a warmth to the characters, which also serves to highlight the pathos when it occurs.

The characters, for the most part, are immediately likeable, and the ones that aren’t are not supposed to be anyway – so job done on that score. The scene setting is also spot on, especially in Cornwall. Having spent many happy holidays around the Camel Estuary and Padstow in particular, I was back there in an instant, walking along the Camel Trail, sitting on the harbour and sampling the delights of fish and chips or a cream tea. This book will certainly have you adding it to your list of future holiday destinations or my name’s not Judith Chalmers! Aah now you come to mention it …

The themes in the book will also resonate with most people, whatever age, dealing as it does with past and lost loves, grief, motherhood and of course new loves, though not always the one you might have anticipated. Given the title, I don’t think it’s giving the game away to say that finding love plays a big part in the story line, and I was totally in love with a certain someone myself by the end of it – well okay, by about a third of the way through if I’m honest. I defy you not be smitten yourself and thoroughly recommend you read this. It’s a great read and I for one couldn’t put it down until I had my ending – whether that turned out to be happy one is for me to know, and you to find out.

This book is due to be published on Thursday, but is available to pre-order on Amazon


    • Thanks Nicola, it’s still within the genre, but as with all books, there’s good and bad. I expected to find this an OK read, that was possibly a bit trivial. If you’re looking for a literary read you might feel that’s what this is. But I was sucked in and loved it – and Charlie!


  1. Fantastic review! I’m literally about to start this when I get off the internet and I’m so glad to hear you liked it. I’m always torn on this style of cover – on the one hand I really like them but think it can mean some books get dismissed as fluffy?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoever designed this cover did a disservice to the author based on your review. I would have looked at it and dismissed immediately as the kind of light, frothy book I loathe……

    Liked by 1 person

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