Book Club: Hold On To Me

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Author: Victoria Purman
ISBN: 9781743694374
RRP: $29.99

The Boys of Summer series began as a trilogy but many fans, and Victoria herself, were sad to say goodbye to Middle Point and the cast of characters we have grown to know and love. It seems Middle Point wasn’t ready for us to say goodbye either and the series continues with Hold On To Me, which hopefully will still not be the last.

Hold On To Me brings us a whole new insight into the character of Stella Ryan, the successful businesswoman and owner of the popular boutique Style by Stella. Stella spent half her childhood in Middle Point and has been back for the last five years building her business. Stella is by far the most complicated of Purman’s heroines and I think she became the one I feel the most for. All of the heroines have baggage, as do the heroes, and none of the roads to love have been smooth but Stella really touched me.

Stella lives just up the road from Middle Point in the very real South Australian coastal town of Port Elliot. She opened Style by Stella four years ago and the business is her baby so when it is completely waterlogged after a fire in the neighbouring business Stella is devastated.

Style by Stella wasn’t fire or smoke damaged but it was water damaged and all of her stock is gone, the interior is ruined, the ceiling is falling in and there’s a big chunk of roof missing. Stella is determined to overcome this adversity, she has started from scratch before and she can do it again; she has all the insurance she could possibly need so this is just a hurdle.

The community is small and news travels fast, and everyone wants to do what they can to help. Anna Morelli (of Our Kind of Love) has a younger brother who has his own construction company and she is straight on the phone to him. The Morelli’s are a large, close Italian family and Luca knows saying no to his sister is asking for trouble so he gets in touch, even though he has just picked up the keys for his new house – a renovator’s dream that he had cleared his schedule to work on.

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Luca is younger, hot and passionate about his work. He is happy to work with Stella but he wants to be able to have some input and be able to voice his ideas. Stella has perfected her self control, in all aspects of her life, and she doesn’t like having to relinquish any of it.

Stella is an admirable character, she has a rough back story. She is a woman who has dragged herself up from rock bottom more than once, she has been burned, badly, more than once and she is determined it will never happen again. The easiest way to ensure that is to not let anyone in. It has taken all her time back in Port Elliot to start making friends and allowing them in but it is still a very slow process.

Hold On To Me is Stella’s journey to an acceptance of the past that will allow her to move forward; that will allow her to let people in and that will allow her to trust again. In the earlier Boys of Summer books the boys were also carrying a bit of baggage and that doesn’t seem to be the case with Luca. He is still finding his feet in his business and has a huge renovation to consider but he has a huge and supportive family, though sometimes that can be a little stifling.

I loved the chemistry between Stella and Luca and the never quite knowing where it was going to lead. We got to check in with Anna and Joe, Lizzie and Dan and Julia and Ry, even if it was only briefly and now I’m left wondering where to next but I hope Purman can find another Boy of Summer because I already want to head back to Middle Point and see what happens now. I want to know what happens in the shop next door. Actually there are a couple of characters I would be very interested to follow also.

Yes, Hold On To Me is part of a series but don’t let that hold you back; even if you haven’t read the other Boys of Summer stories you will fall in love with this one.

Hold On To Me is book #71 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.

Available December 14th from Harlequin, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.
Victoria loves to hear from her readers and you can find her at her Website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

10 of our lucky readers will be reading Hold On To Me so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

13 thoughts on “Book Club: Hold On To Me

  1. I haven’t read the other Boys of Summer series but after reading the review of Hold On to Me I want to. This book sounds very absorbing, now I want to know the full story and ending!

  2. Well I really enjoyed this book.
    The storyline is believable, and the reader learns why Stella makes the decisions she does. Although sometime we just want to shake some sense into her!!!
    Luca sweeps her off her feet, but she just can’t get her head to believe that he cares for her. She has been badly burnt before, so Stella tries to keep her distance, but finds that impossible as they work closely together rebuilding her business.
    This story is complete in itself, but I’d love to read Victoria Purman’s earlier Boys of Summer books now that I’ve read this one.
    A warning – quite a few sex scenes, too hot to hand the book on to my 80 year old Mum to read.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great read.

  3. I haven’t read any of the other Boys of Summer books – I didn’t even know they existed until I read Michelle’s initial review for Hold On To Me – but now that I’ve read this book, I’d love to go back and read the rest. I love books that are in a series!

    I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I really enjoyed it. I loved that it was set in Port Elliot (with some Adelaide highlights) because it’s close to home and I felt like I really knew the places they were describing. I loved Luca’s character – a man who knows what he wants and goes after it without being stupid about it. He’s just a really nice guy. Stella was interesting, but did annoy me a bit. What is it with these characters who are always so hard done by and then feel that they have to keep on punishing themselves?! Are people really like that in real life? I guess they give us all something to read about though.

    There were quite a few risqué sex scenes in the book and as a result I will not be passing this book on to my mother-in-law to read as I usually do with book review books – I’m not sure that she would appreciate them 😉

    The story around both Stella and Luca’s businesses was interesting and seeing as Molly was introduced as a new character I wonder if any future books will be about her?

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book :o)

  4. After finally getting this book in my hot little hands yesterday 28 Jan, I was so keen to read it and couldn’t put it down. Well all I can say is “All hail Victoria Purman”.

    From the moment of introducing the two main gutsy characters, I was hooked. It seems so appropriate that a shop fire was the reason to bring these characters together. And hot is the way the author introduces their sizzling first meeting. You can’t wait for their relationship to blossom.

    However, all doesn’t go to plan and Stella’s life experiences comes back to haunt her. And how we as readers can all relate to this theme. Her lack of confidence in herself and that of all successful relationships destroys her chance at real love with this hunk of spunk Luca Morelli. But of course and thankfully, love saves the day.

    What a tremendously emotional, complicated love story that finally comes to fruition in the end. Love, love, love this book. And bringing in previous characters from her earlier books just brings more credibility to this book. Makes you a part of one big extended happy Port Elliot family.

    A terrific read that I highly recommend.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this wonderful romance.

  5. After receiving my book “Hold onto me” I got stuck straight into it. I hadnt read much over the christmas break so was quite looking forward to a good read. Whilst I really did enjoy the book and it certainly had some interesting parts to it, I also found it to go on quite a roller coast ride and yes some parts i literally rolled my eyes. Yes it was a good romantic story and an easy book to read and while never having heard of the boys of summer series, I will most likely go out and read the other books in the series to see what happened with them. All in all a good book to sit down with on a rainy day!

  6. Hold on to Me is a contempory romance although it is not the usual type of book I would read I thouroughly enjoyed it. Set on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, the two main characters Luca Morelli and Stella Ryan meet at Stella’s shop ‘Style by Stella’ when there is a fire. The characters obviously had chemistry from the begining. Stella is very independent but Luca wears her down. I liked the fact that it had romance, drama and humour. I would recommend this book for a light read.

  7. I have loved getting stuck into this book. It has given me an insight to Port Elliott in Adelaide, which I previously would never have had.
    I am excited that there are books prior to this by the same author Victoria Purman, which I will now be searching for to buy.
    So this story is all about Stella Ryan and her clothing store, “Style by Stella”. It is set right on the beach in Port Elliot. The store is hit by fire and that is when the action starts. Luca Morelli comes in to work on restoring her shop, and it is then that the fireworks begin.
    Stella has had a very hard life growing up and there are more drama’s from her time in Sydney, as the reader, you can tell that this has marred her views on relationships and letting anyone get close to her. However, Luca keeps trying his luck, and the relationship that blossoms from this does not disappoint.
    This is a very easy story to follow and a great read. I felt like I was learning along with Stella on how to let the past go.
    Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace for this opportunity, and well done to Victoria Purman.

  8. I really enjoyed this book and read it in a couple of days, although there were a few annoying parts( as I did not see what the big deal was with the age difference between Luca and Stella, and her needing to constantly tell herself to leave the young man alone ),I did enjoy this story and being immersed in this fantasy ( and the passionate scenes). Victoria Purman has created a really nice community here and it is full of caring and supportive people, I would love being part of this community and especially having Luca as my hero!

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was unsure how I would go as I hadn’t read any of the other Boys Of Summer series but I found myself unable to put the book down.
    The story is believable and really made me think about things. I found myself really liking Stella and understanding why she makes the decisions she does. She’s gutsy, determined and hard not to like once you get to know her. I also found the character of Luca very likeable.
    Their love story was a roller coaster but definitely worth coming along for the ride.
    I will definitely be hunting down the other books in the series.
    Thank you so much to beauty and lace for allowing me the chance to review this book.

  10. Like the other reviewers I hadn’t previously read the other Boys of Summer series but felt like it didn’t affect the storyline.

    I enjoyed this book. It was a pleasurable read and was entertaining. The characters were lovely especially Stella with her determination and strong will. She is quite an admirable business woman and character (except for her self doubt about her personal life! I wouldn’t mind meeting my own Luca one day as well!!

    I will definitely be looking at reading more of the Boys of Summer series.

    Also, after reading this book I would definitely love a visit to Port Elliott!

  11. I really enjoyed this book, it was easy to follow, Stella was relatable (although sometimes so strong willed I wanted to slap her!), Luca was adorable and Port Elliott Sounds like a place I need to add to my holiday list!
    It was a lovely romantic read that certainly got a bit hot in a few places!
    I too had not previously read other Boys of Summer novels, but I might just have to look into them a bit further! I really enjoyed this book!

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