Review and #TeamNice Giveaway: One Small Act Of Kindness by Lucy Dillon
February 25, 2015
What can you do to make the world a better place? If you follow me on Twitter (I’m @magic_kitten – come and say hello!) you might have noticed me tweeting about #TeamNice. If you want to know all the details, head over to http://www.teamnicehq.com but – long story short – this was a hashtag inspired by a customised necklace and a desire to spread more positivity on social media, to counteract the outrage and keyboard warriors. This snowballed into a Month of Kindness throughout February, with a suggested ‘small act of kindness’ for each day of the month.
Those eagle-eyed people in the Hodder marketing department (who kindly had me pop in for a couple of weeks interning before Christmas) did spot the hashtag and have joined #TeamNice with a small act of kindness of their own. One Small Act of Kindness, the new novel from Lucy Dillon, will be published in April this year, but I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak while I was in the office. They’ve kindly provided a copy for me to give away here as we bring our Month of Kindness to a close. If you like the sound of it from my review, I’d love you to enter and become part of #TeamNice too!
What can you do to make the world a better place? Libby helps a stranger, and transforms her life in the process. Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to transform the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories – good and bad – that went with it. The injured woman Libby funds lying int he remote country round has lost her memory. She doesn’t know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her. When Libby offers to take her in, her one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change many people’s lives.
Lucy Dillon isn’t an author I’ve read before, although One Small Act of Kindness is her sixth novel – you may have heard of her previous bestseller A Hundred Pieces Of Me? In this case, Dillon takes elements that are familiar – developing and changing relationships within a longterm relationship – but adds ideas about risk taking and how acts of kindness towards others can be transformative for ourselves too.
Libby, the main character of the novel, has already made sacrifices as the story begins, leaving her home to rejuvenate the bed and breakfast business belonging to her mother-in-law, recently bereaved. As the book progresses, we discover that the move was not by choice, but was necessitated by husband Jason’s sudden problems at work. Libby insists that renovating the B&B is something she wants to do, but Dillon does make us wonder, how much is for her and how much is because she feels she should?
As well as this, Libby find herself at the scene of a road traffic accident, right outside the hotel. A young woman appears to have been hit by a car and, as there’s no information as to her identity, accompanies her to the hospital, then offers her a place to stay when her memory fails to yield any clues. ‘Pippa’ is made welcome at the hotel and Libby makes time to help this lost woman piece together the fragments of her previous life, with astonishing results.
Despite not being my usual pick, I enjoyed this well-paced story of family, romantic and friendly relationships. Dillon expertly conjures the tension between Libby and Jason as the financial implications of his dismissal become apparent. Her eye for character is precise and unflinching; I squirmed at Libby’s discomfort as she’s is forced to confront mother-in-law Margaret with some home truths about her business and the way in which she treats her sons Jason, and ‘black sheep’ Luke. As readers, we’re pulled one way and the other, trying to work out if Libby’s choices have been good ones, or whether they’re going to backfire horribly.
Rereading One Small Act Of Kindness recently, I was struck by the way that Libby tries, throughout the book, to make choices that are kind. It’s not only her kindness to Pippa that’s noticeable, but her attitude to Jason, despite his mistakes, her tolerance of Margaret’s spiky personality, her acceptance of Luke even when his family seems convinced of his dodgy reputation… The only person she seems to find it hard to be kind to is herself, and it’s something she has to work on as the story progresses, with the help of those around her. I don’t want to get too preachy, but I think that’s something a lot of us forget about, and it certainly struck a chord with me.
If you’d like to read One Small Act of Kindness, you can buy it from April onwards, but there’s also a chance to win an advance copy, courtesy of Hodder. All you need to do is to complete the Rafflecopter below, which includes signing up to #TeamNice, and the winner will be chosen in a week…