Reviewed on 23rd September 2015

Waiting For Summer by Anna-Maria Athanasiou

Genre: Contemporary / Fiction / Romance / Women's Fiction
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Waiting For Summer by Anna-Maria Athanasiou Synopsis

Sylvie has it all – a beautiful home, two adoring sons and a successful husband – until a simple action knocks Sylvie’s world off its axis. Her perfect life is turned upside down and her heart is broken. Unable to accept heartache again she decides, for once, to be bold and take control of her life.
Sylvie’s road to rediscovery begins.

Waiting For Summer by Anna-Maria Athanasiou Review

A Sunny Escape to Excitement

I let the warm sand trickle through my toes and sigh. To my right the light turquoise waters of the Med ripple seductively, glimmers of sunshine bouncing off its surface like stars that have grown tired of the endless black sky and thrown themselves into the welcoming ocean below. To my left is a secluded bay, fine powdery sand and artfully scattered rocks silhouetted against the bright cobalt sky. And straight ahead is a yacht, and on that yacht is a man that can outdo Mr Grey, Darcy and Heathcliff with nothing but a glance. A man that one woman is considering giving up everything for. The intense, sexy, young, rich and perfectly toned Nick.

Well, at least that’s where I think I am when I pick up Anna-Maria Athanasiou’s two books, Waiting For Summer Parts 1 & 2.

books and tea

But back in the real world the nights are drawing in and the days are getting shorter. My sunny summer holidays are but a distant memory and I have no option but to succumb to September – the first month of early nights, hot drinks, long baths and a good book. And thank goodness I do, because as soon as I lay my hands on Athanasiou’s Waiting For Summer novels I’m hooked. With the simple flip of a page I’m magically transported away from my dimly lit living room and my chaotic family life, and straight on to the golden beaches of Cyprus and the rumbustious life of our leading lady, Sylvie Sapphiris.

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Sylvie has it all. A beautiful home on the sunny island of Cyprus, a palatial dwelling with her own cook and cleaner. Her home is full of love and laughter from her doting family, her two teenage sons and her charming and successful husband, Chris. She even has her own rewarding Interior Design Business and fancy car. Sylvie’s life is complete, safe and perfect. Well it is, until the day she discovers that her husband of twenty-two years has been having a secret affair.

mediterranean villa

With poise and grace she fights an internal battle as to what to do next. Unlike me, Sylvie isn’t a rash woman. She loves and cherishes her family too much to break it open, and her decisions are measured and considerate… she puts her own feelings and needs last for the good of those she loves. Yet as she strains against the hurt, her emotions are further more challenged when she finds herself fighting off the advances of her husband’s friend Julian and the adoration of Nick, a man young enough to be her son. Should she save a marriage she never destroyed? Should she go for the man that could give her everything she needs, or choose the man that has everything she wants?

A tale of forbidden love, family, loss, betrayal and passion, Waiting For Summer is far from a bodice ripping Mills & Boon novel but is actually a multi-layered and sensitively written novel about making the right choices and getting a second chance at happiness.

When I read a Romance novel I expect a number of things. Luckily for me Waiting For Summer gave me not only a great plot and fantastic characters, but fulfilled my ‘Romance Novel Wish List’ with glorious insatiable abandon.

A BEAUTIFUL BACKDROP

Both Waiting For Summer books fill your senses with life in the Med. Athanasiou’s novels are bursting with colourful characters that you want as your own friends, people so real that you can imagine them around your own kitchen table for Sunday lunch. As you turn the pages you can practically smell the scent of the jasmine at night, hear the cicadas outside and the lapping of the waves nearby. She captures the essence of family, with scenes revolving around celebrations and al fresco meals. Unlike some novels where the characters lurch from one event to the other, without the need to eat or take a breath, Athanasiou gives us a steady unfolding of events peppered with beautiful imagery and warm loving occasions.

al fresco

A STRONG PROTAGONIST

Sylvie is not, much like most female protagonists in sunny holiday reads, a simpering teen with a blind love for the first guy with a leather jacket to saunter past. Athanasiou gives us a powerful woman who second guesses herself, who feels the fears and insecurities that every young girl is too naive to feel, and that every woman over thirty feels too old to ignore. Finally we have a female lead in her 40’s who is sexual, attractive, successful, but also cautious and selfless. Ultimately, Athanasiou presents us with a female lead that real women can relate to… and in turn she gives us hope, as maybe one day we’ll also get a chance to turn our life around and nab ourselves a sex god!

A MAN I WANT IN MY OWN BED (AND SOFA, POOL, YACHT. ANYWHERE, REALLY!)

Talking of which, you can’t have a love story without a bit of hot totty. And this book isn’t short of wonderful men to swoon at and steamy scenes to get you hot under the collar (or bikini). Although I love a book to be realistic, to have characters battling with real-life issues and reacting in a way befitting of the human psyche instead of conveniently doing what works best for the plot… I also want my leading men to be unrealistic. I want them to be strong, powerful, sexy and commanding heroes, with a vulnerability and softness that only I can bring out in them. I want them to be just as good in the kitchen as they are in the bedroom, and know their way around my emotions as well as they do around my body. Now I know that men like that don’t really exist, not all the time at least, and that’s why I read Romance novels. And this one is no exception. It’s libido-heightening escapism of the best kind!

boat yacht sea

A ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTIONS

As soon as I began to read Waiting For Summer I was swept away on a tide of emotions. I smiled and I frowned, I then gasped, got angry, surprised, shocked, cried, felt indignant, relieved, happy, hopeful, and finally satisfied. My emotions were up and down more than Sylvie’s pants and my body was alight with more longing than a glance from Nick’s blue blue eyes.I couldn’t put the book down, I simply wanted it (no, NEEDED it) to give me one thing…

A HAPPY ENDING

And it did. I won’t give it away, I won’t tell you how she overcomes her husband’s affair, how she deals with the fallout of her family, and how her desire for another unfolds or effects those around her. But I will tell you one thing – I turned that last page with a smile on my face. Yes it was cheesy in places, it certainly possessed the quintessentially predictable ‘Romance Formula’ and it was nicely tied up with a pretty bow. But Goddammit, that is what I WANT in a good book. I want Hollywood and Happy Ever Afters. I want to come away thinking ‘Wow, what a ride. What a lovely story. I’m so happy it all turned out okay in the end, it was worth my time.’ And both Waiting For Summer books certainly gave me that.

So ignore the rain at your window, the wind howling down your chimney and the kids fighting at your feet. Join Sylvie and her friends on the waves of the Med and get swept away into an exciting world where love overrides, family is everything and the sun is always shining.

Waiting for Summer is published by Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
ISBN: 978-1-849635-03-5

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