I’ve said it in other reviews of Jessica Redland books but I have to repeat…. I love her books. Lol. She is one of my new favourite authors. Any time I spot a new book by her I want to read it. I’ve used her books as reward incentives, this year, to work my way through my TBR… and it’s worked! Unfortunately I think she now jinxes the book I read before hers. 😄 I took almost 2 weeks to read through a novel of only 200 pages (just couldn’t get into that one) but then flew through the nearly 400 pages of Dreaming About Daran. From pretty cover to endearing last lines, I loved this one.
Where do you go when it’s your own past you’re running from?
Sometimes, you can run from the past, but you can’t hide. Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:
1. Don’t talk about Ireland
2. Don’t think about Ireland
3. Don’t go to Ireland
4. Don’t let anyone in
And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, some amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future’s all that counts, isn’t it?
When her boss insists she travels to Ireland to repair a damaged relationship with a key client. Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty where she comes face to face with the one person she’d hoped never, ever to see again.
With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Can Clare stick to rule number four?
Also on Kindle Unlimited
Book 3 tells the tale of the last of three best friends from the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, and what a punch it packs. Dreaming of Daran can be read as a stand alone but it is so much richer as the end of the series. Clare’s character is presented and unravelled from Book 1 and it all culminates in her growth and transformation in this story.
Jessica did tell me that Clare’s story is perhaps her favourite and I now know why. Clare is presented from the beginning of the series as the tough as nails sidekick to the sweet and looking-for-love Sarah. She’s pitted against the darling, caring Elise who wants nothing more than a family of her own. Clare, on the other hand, is young, ambitious, successful, sarcastic and hiding a whopper of a secret. Her past has shaped her in ways her closest friends could never imagine.
I can’t talk too much about the story because there are so many revelations and I don’t want to give away anything to spoil the fun. I can say that the blurb, although fitting, gives nothing away!!
Emotions… This book gave me all the feels. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, I felt shaken, angry and then happy again. Some twists I expected, some I thought I was prepared for and others I really wasn’t. I enjoyed having this story roll around my head for a few days while I thought about what I wanted to put into the review. A couple of weeks later and I still keep thinking about it.
One theme that stretches across all three books is friendship. Not just the fun parts, but also the realities of how people change, situations change, life changes and relationships must adapt too. Sometime friends keep secrets with the best of intentions and sometimes for selfish reasons. How those secrets are revealed and how individuals react can have a meaningful impact on any relationship. It’s a very sweet theme that is explored across the series and especially in this last novel.
It was also nice to see the characters from earlier books continue on their life journey. Sarah and Elise may have gotten their happy ending stories but it’s good to see them face some challenges as they continue in their relationships.
Although Dreaming About Daran is ultimately a love story, Clare must learn to love herself first. The majority of the story centres around Clare finally confronting a difficult past and embracing a present she never dreamed could be possible. As she works her way through these challenges, she begins to understand that love just might be possible for her future.
The flashbacks are woven into the story very neatly. They don’t pull the story back or make the pace lag. When the flashbacks are used they push the story forward and provide essential clues to unravelling Clare’s story.
There is a case of sexual assault. It is discussed in the story and covered in a brief flashback. It is not gratuitous and certainly not dismissive, but it is there.
While in general Jessica’s books are light and fun this one is a bit deeper and a pinch darker. I felt completely immersed in Clare’s world and wanted her to find her happy ending too.
Overall I loved this book and I can’t wait to read Jessica’s Christmas stories next month. If you are looking for a series with a beautiful setting and endearing characters who can make you smile and cry, definitely check out the Whitsborough series. Here are the links to my earlier reviews:
Raving About Rhys (prequel novella)
I give Dreaming About Daran 5/5 delightfully dreamy shots.