Author: Victoria Purman
Someone Like You is the second book in Victoria Purman‘s Boys of Summer Trilogy which began with Nobody But Him released last October. One of the things that drew me to Nobobdy But Him was the setting – the fictional town of Middle Point, which just happens to be close neighbours to the very real towns of Victor Harbor, Goolwa and Port Eliot on the Fleurieu Peninsula. I may not have been born in South Australia but I have been here for almost half of my life so I am familiar with these towns, though we don’t drive down there the same way Purman’s characters do because we aren’t going from the city.
Middle Point is a laid-back coastal town where the locals know one another and look out for each other, which can be a beautiful thing but it can also be quite restricting because you know that every move is being noticed by someone. It can be a wonderful feeling to know that someone cares but on the other hand it’s very hard to plod through every day when everyone in town knows what you are trying to get over so you can see the pity in their eyes, hear the whispers as they discuss you after you pass.
Someone Like You picks up where Nobody But Him left off. The weather is warming up and the tourist trade is starting to pick up, this book in the Boys of Summer Trilogy is set over a glorious summer in Middle Point. Our hero is none other than Ryan Blackburn’s best friend Dan McSwaine whom we met in Nobody But Him, back then he was the pre-near-fatal-accident Dan with a sexy swagger and even sexier grin. Our heroine is Julia’s best friend Lizzie Blake. These two didn’t spend a lot of time together in the first book but they did work together on a project or two.
I am going to try to keep this review free of spoilers for both books but I apologise in advance if I can’t manage it.
Dan has bought a place in Middle Point so that he can avoid the long commute when he needs to be on-site for the Windswept development, that’s the public story anyway. It seems more like Dan wants a place to recover quietly for a while after the accident. In the months he has been living in Middle Point he has hardly been seen. All his interaction with the world has been done via internet and phone and even Ry is finally starting to back off. He has stopped checking on him quite so often and trying to bring him back out in the world, but that doesn’t mean he’s given up.
Lizzie is asked by Ry to take a meal from the Middle Point pub kitchen round to Dan for dinner, it starts as a one off which sees her get the door slammed in her face but her boss is very persuasive and she ends up agreeing to take him a meal every night. It rapidly becomes apparent that the chemistry the two felt when they first met months ago has not disappeared but this is definitely not the Dan that Lizzie remembers, the accident has broken him in ways that go much deeper than the physical and Lizzie isn’t sure she can let herself in for that.
Someone Like You features Julia and Ry as secondary characters but for those who fell in love with them in Nobody But Him there is a continuation of their story here. We also meet Lizzie’s brother who is facing issues of his own and one of Dan’s old friends from Adelaide but ostensibly it is Lizzie and Dan’s story.
The first time Dan opens the door to Lizzie she is shocked to discover that he only loosely resembles the man she met, he’s unshaven and in need of a hair cut but not fading away as she was led to believe. The accident seems to have robbed him of that sexy self confidence that was such an inherent element of his personality. He realises it’s missing and he’s not sure whether he’ll get it back but one thing he knows for sure is that the looks of pity, and the sympathy, really don’t help. Lizzie doesn’t look at him like that and she doesn’t push him. It’s a refreshing change and one that allows him to be intrigued by her.
There is more to Lizzie than meets the eye. She is a Middle Point girl through and through, she loves her hometown and wouldn’t be anywhere else but we slowly learn that there’s more to it. She loves knowing the locals and being able to help out and she loves her new job managing the pub. She likes helping people and is often putting other people ahead of herself but she wants to keep her distance from Dan, this seems like a contradiction and we can tell there’s a reason but only time will unfold that storyline.
Purman has written two beautifully damaged characters that slowly find a way to mend the damage that others can’t see and learn to hope again. They are characters I fell in love with and though at times they infuriated me, not to mention broke my heart and had me in tears in a public place, they were realistic. This issues they faced and the way they dealt with them were plausible and I look forward to seeing how that progresses in the next book where I’m sure they will be back.
Someone Like You is a super summer read with gorgeous scenery, charismatic characters and a seaside town that has me wanting to jump in the car and head to the beach. I can’t wait to see whose story comes next and a wait until the end of the year seems way too long to find out what’s next for Lizzie and Dan, and Ry and Julia as well as the Middle Point pub.