#bookreview – A Clean Sweep by Audrey Davis @audbyname @rararesources #BlogTour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Clean Sweep by Audrey Davis. Audrey very kindly sent me a copy of her book for review last year and said that there was no rush, just to review when I got to it. I’m not sure if she expected it to take this long but when I saw she was taking her book on a blog tour I nabbed a spot as I always find that having a fixed date in my diary works well for me. So my thanks (and apologies!) to Audrey for the review copy and to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for the place on the tour.

A CLEAN SWEEP is a laugh-out-loud tale of love, lies and second chances.
Love comes around when you least expect it. Fifty-something widow Emily isn’t expecting romance. Nor is she expecting a hunky twenty-something chimney sweep on her doorstep.
Daughter Tabitha knows something isn’t quite right with her relationship, while her boss – Abba-loving Meryl – thinks she’s found the real deal. Are they both right, or pursuing Mr Wrong?
Emily’s sister, Celeste, has the perfect marriage … or does she? Can a fitness tracker lead her down the path to happiness or heartbreak?
Susan is single, overweight and resigned to a life of loneliness. There was the one who got away but you don’t get another try, do you?
Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of emotions in a book that will grab your heart, make you smile and wish you had a chimney to sweep.

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Right from the beginning this book had me smiling. I found it to be a real feel-good story. Emily is the main character. She’s in her fifties, widowed, with a grown-up daughter, Tabitha. Life is fine but I’d say she’s fairly unfulfilled. Until Joe turns up to give her chimney a good sweep (no, that’s not just a euphemism!).

I loved Joe, I can’t imagine anyone thinking otherwise. He’s hunky and kind and just what Emily needs in her life, but he’s a good 20 years younger than her so she has to wrestle with herself over whether her attraction to him is a good thing or not.

This isn’t just Emily’s story though. This is an ensemble piece, with Tabitha taking one of the lead roles alongside Emily’s sister, Celeste, and her friend, Susan. All have similar unfulfilling lives to Emily and along the course of this book we see them all grow and find  what they need to make them happy.

I liked almost all the characters and particularly the way they all helped each other and rallied round when needed. There’s a really strong sense of friendship running throughout this story, and some genuinely likeable characters who I’d quite like to meet again (sequel perhaps?).

This is one of those books where, if it wasn’t careful, it might have got a bit too twee. But I think what sets this one aside from other similar novels is the humour with which Audrey Davis writes about the situations her characters find themselves in. I have to admit to guffawing when Emily remembers that her late husband, Jim, was more Oral B than oral sex. See what I mean? That alone is such a clever line and really appealed to my sense of humour.

As I said, this is a feel-good, heart-warming sort of book. I got to the last page with a sense of satisfaction, enjoyment and a feeling of having spent time reading something that made me laugh, smile and feel quite sad at times. A Clean Sweep is a really sweet, charming read.

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.

It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in May/June. After which she might have a wee lie down …



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