The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Lucy loves knitting, reading and is good friends with her 79 year old neighbour Brenda, she is content with her life though she wishes sometimes she could be more assertive -  for instance one of the things she would do is tell her rather handsome neighbour her name isn't Lisa and of course she will look after his cat but would it kill him to say please?

Free spirited Brenda has got dementia and her final wish is to ensure her beloved friend Lucy is happy, confident and in the arms of her true love. Brenda has a plan to encourage Lucy in the right direction involving a very special locket, that handsome next door neighbour and a gorgeous black cat...but is Lucy ready to experience all the things life has to offer?

This novel is a delightful read! The characters are lovable with all their little quirks. There are moments to make you laugh-out-loud and others that will break your heart. The plot is slightly predictable but the message at it's core is beautiful, the friendship between Lucy and Brenda smashes ages barriers and the lengths each of them with go to ensure the other is okay is truly heart-warming. Throw in an adorable stray cat, a gorgeous neighbour (straight of the cover of a Mills and Boon book) and you have a charming read, perfect for a lazy weekend.

Thanks to NetGalley & Avon Books UK for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
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Beautifully and sensively written, I really enjoyed this book. I loved all of the characters from the start and was quickly drawn into the story. I particularly really liked the character of Brenda - she is so quirky and I enjoyed the mystery about her. This book made me laugh and also made me sad. The issue of dementia is beautifully written into the story. 

This is a charming and heartwarming book which I highly recommend. Perfect for an afternoon on the sofa with a hot chocolate. A story of friendship, love, romance, hope and magic spells.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I picked up this book with hopes of reading a romance with a quintessential British heroine and a Darcy type. I got that for the most part, but sometimes the ditziness of the protagonist and somewhat random nature of character's actions made it a little difficult to connect with the story. I also didn't really feel any romance developing beyond the so-called magical "locket" and Lucy going ahead with its instructions which were pretty crazy. Can be a beach read only if you completely suspend reality.
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I love that there are so many stories at the moment about cross-generational friendships, which portray older people in a positive light.

'The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker' is a lovely example of this type of story featuring Lucy aged 25 and Brenda aged 79 and their strong friendship, which provides the reader with humorous, magical and poignant moments.

Brenda has lived a full often glamorous life and is still a flamboyant character. However, it's her kind nature that makes her stand out and what draws Lucy to her. Lucy is not typical of her generation, she finds everything in life difficult, lacks self-confidence for a variety of reasons and is still seeking that perfect someone, even though she pretends to everyone, including herself most of the time that she isn't.

The plot see-saws between Lucy's home and work life, with engaging characters in each, they are all very human; flawed and realistic, which makes the story believable too, even though it has a strong flavour of the extraordinary.

There's romance for Lucy, family problems and work stresses. Brenda has to face some cruel realities, but helping Lucy onto her rightful life path makes her focus on the positives rather than the negatives, of her life.

Friendship, frailty and fun sum up this book, one that I would recommend to everyone.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Love love loved this book! Women's fiction is always liberating! Can't wait to pass this down to friends n family! Great read! Thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review!
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Aaaaaawwww, this is one of those books that just wraps itself around you and gives you a heartwarming and upifting hug. Perfect for these long cold winter nights (and days!) It gives you hope and makes you see that the world isn't all that bad. It's not often that i read this kind of book. To be perfectly honest, i'm a very cynical type of person which makes me question everything in these sorts of novels. Not this one though. I went in with an open mind and took it for what it was, a very good read! I needed this, without doubt to restore me faith in life and humanity. It warms the cockles of my heart. I'd definitely recommend this book to everyone. The author has written it beautifully which helped immensely when it came to relating to the characters. They were a joy and delight to get to know. 
Thank you to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Lucy Baker is single, loves knitting and her elderly neighbour Brenda.  She is what is called “a good person” and is well regarded by her colleagues.  She lives a quiet life in a rent garden flat.  Her needs are simple. Lucy is not one for superstition but accepts it reluctantly.

Brenda tries to make Lucy “see” a young man who has just moved into their road, called George.

This is a charming book that makes Lucy's naivety a great contrast to the bad world that we live in.  For a gentle read, this is just for you.

I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
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An uplifting and delightful story filled with magic and charm!

Some books are just good for the soul and this is definitely one of them! I am really loving this uplit trend in books... with all the madness going on in the world today it is nice to read a book that restores your faith in humanity! This is the kind of book that puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step!

Lucy Baker is 25 and prefers knitting to partying, books to boys, T to booze... she is sweet and quiet and kind and in need of a shot of confidence... Brenda is 78 and Lucy‘s neighbor.... she is a force of nature a bundle of energy and just the shot of confidence that Lucy needs! Lucy and Brenda form a beautiful friendship.... when Brenda is diagnosed with dementia it is her wish that Lucy is happy before she loses her memories....

Such an engaging character driven story filled with so much hope and heart! I absolutely unequivocally loved the bond and friendship between Lucy and Brenda.... we all need a Brenda in our lives, she was so wonderful, whimsical, and wise! Brenda armed with a magical locket is determined to help Lucy learn to believe in herself.... in her work life this will require Lucy to stand up for herself and in her private life this will require Lucy to open herself up... A cat named Scratbag, a  moody but hot next-door neighbor, and knit Poldark figures, were the cherry on top of this fabulous book sundae...

Fantastic characters, a story that will tug at your heart strings, and a sweet slow burn romance! Absolutely recommend!

*** many thanks to Avon UK for my copy of this book ***
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A lovely romance that has a bit more meaning than just boy meets girl etc.  I enjoyed the story for the most part and the characters were interesting and believable, however it seemed to me like there were way too many scenes taking place in Lucy’s work place. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This is the debut novel from Jenni Keer. I was so excited to read it and I was not disappointed, once I started reading I was so absorbed and I couldn't put it down!
This is such a lovely warm and feel good read that is also tinged with sadness. Lucy is 25 years old and has a huge passion for knitting. She lives alone in a flat that is joined to the house next door. This is where her neighbour and close friend, Brenda lives. Brenda is quite eccentric and quirky but she really does love Lucy and gives plenty of advice to help build up Lucy's self confidence which is really low. Once it becomes clear to Lucy that Brenda's health is failing she shows a great deal of warmth and care and thinks nothing of caring for her, she even ropes in the grumpy new neighbour, George, that has moved into the other flat in the block. Brenda has decided that her wish before she becomes to ill is to see Lucy happy so she hatches a plan and gives Lucy a locket that comes with some very special instructions. there are some very funny moments for Lucy and her friend Jess as they try and follow all of the instructions they are given with some hilarious consequences.
This is a very well written story that flows really well and gives you plenty of supporting characters who also have plenty of secrets which unfold as the story goes along.  Jenni obviously has done some good research on Dementia as she describes the symptoms that Brenda suffers from in great detail and she shows a great deal of compassion as she writes.
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut book from Jenni Keer and I'm eagerly anticipating the adventure her next book will take us on.
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The Hopes And Dreams of Lucy Baker

Lucy Baker is an adorable character who simply does not have enough faith in herself. When she meets a new hunky neighbour and a scruffy cat she confides in her elderly neighbour Brenda that she could do with a helping hand where her love life is concerned. 
Brenda who is a fabulously eccentric character bestows a magical locket onto Lucy and then sits back to watch the fireworks as Lucy follows the instructions that the locket gives out. 
Brenda and Lucy have such a beautiful friendship despite the huge age gap and that really appealed to me as I have friends who are so much older and wiser and still have so much to give. 
The knitted characters that Lucy makes provide a fun aspect to her personality and I’ve seen the pictures of the real life Poldark one.
Lucy is a very well developed character as is shown from the various relationships around her with her sister and friends and colleagues. 
The story of Brenda’s illness is very touching and poignant and makes for tearful moments however the overall undertone of the book is fun fun fun and I loved reading it. 
I shall now wait with bated breath for Jenni’s next book.
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Lucy is happy living alone, with her job in sales for a toy wholesaler and her friend Jess and elderly neighbour Brenda she doesn't need a man.
Then handsome George moves in next door but one and, thanks to a stray cat,  they slowly start to get to know each other. Brenda gives Lucy a locket which she says will help her to win the heart of her true love as long as she follows it's instructions and with Jess' encouragement Lucy embarks on her quest but will it work or is George getting totally the wrong impression of Lucy.
Love isn't the only thing on Lucy's mind, Brenda is showing signs of dementia and Lucy has a new manager at work who is looking to streamline things. Between worrying about her dear friend and her job does she even have time for a man?
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A really lovely tale with a mischievous cat, a little old lady and a sprinkle of magic! I really enjoyed this story, even the descriptions of Lucy’s work at the toy distributor had me in stitches.

A heartwarming read. 4*
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2019 has got off to a stellar start with the quality of the books I have read so far, and I guess it is a streak that has to end some time… but not with this book because this is a novel which has maintained the very high standard of reads with which I’ve started the year. It is a book which has wrapped me in a cashmere blanket of happiness and given me a long, warm hug, leaving me feeling tingly, moved and with a big smile on my face and a small tear in my eye. Quite a feat.

The central story in this book is the unlikely friendship between Lucy and Brenda, which spans easily the decades that divide them age-wise. In most ways, age doesn’t matter because Lucy is mature and wise beyond her years and Brenda is young at heart, but in other ways the age difference is telling, because of the effect it is having on Brenda’s body and mind. Jenni displays the closeness between the two, but also this physical deterioration of the human body with such tenderness and pathos that the book can’t fail to grab hold of the stoniest of hearts and squeeze it until it feels something (a bit too much in my case, since I’m a big softy and blub at the slightest provocation).

I was totally in love with both Brenda and Lucy. They felt very real and alive to me and their friendship was completely believable and genuine and just a delight to behold. They both really care about the other and want what is best for them, and they bring out the best in each other. They really understand each other and have so much in common, despite the age difference, which is the basis for a true and enduring friendship and it is just gorgeous.

I really enjoyed watching Lucy come to life and blossom and expose more of her personality throughout the book. I felt like a proud parent watching her grow in confidence and stature across the pages. There were times when I wanted to reach into the pages and shake her, or warn her not to trust someone, that they were not what they seemed to be, and that it is the hallmark of a truly enthralling book, where the people are so real to you that you are completely engrossed in the story as if you are another character yourself involved in their lives. I was rooting for her all the way through, sharing her joys and triumphs and sadness and, when the book ended, I felt like I was leaving behind a good friend. Luckily, she will still be waiting there between the pages of the book next time I want to meet up with her.

The other story arc is a fairly simple boy meets girl, but is elevated beyond the mundane by the charm of the characters, a good dose of humour and a touch of magical realism. It is a winning recipe for a memorable story that you will be sorry ends and you will definitely want to return to. Added to this is the warmth and ease of Jenni’s writing, which I just loved. One of my favourite lines popped up early on in the book:

“But the night-black cat had vanished completely into the cat-black night.’

This is one of those lines that, as a writer, you mentally high-five yourself for writing and I gave the author a little cheer of congratulation as I read. It is also one of those ‘kill your darlings’ lines that you are always told you should cut (although the premise that you should cut any line you think is great always baffles me – you should just leave yourself with all the lines you aren’t happy with? Odd idea!) and I am SO glad that Jenni’s editor didn’t make her cut this one! From here on, I knew I was going to enjoy every word and there were numerous other bits I highlighted to go back to.

What more do I need to say? I absolutely loved every word of this book and can’t wait to grab the paperback for my collection so I can come back to it next time I want a book that will just make me happy. Go and buy it and give yourself a treat.
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When Brenda with her purple hair, mystical air and cheeky side arrived in the first few pages I knew I would love this book. The warm, honest writing style drew me into Lucy's life and kept me there until the last page. 

This charming, quirky story is driven by the collection of characters Jenni Keer has created and I loved them all.  Where I could relate to Lucy with her tendency to prefer crafting and reading than experiencing life or rock the boat by saying "no", it was Brenda who captured my heart. She is who I would like to be when I am old; full of life, humour and kind with a twist of magic.  I did not want the book to end because I did not want to leave her behind. Maybe a prequel of her youth is needed, I am sure she will have an interesting tale to tell. Her diagnosis of dementia is heartbreaking but it is dealt with sympathetically and gives an insight into the pressures of caring and the challenges it creates. 

The introduction of Scratcat and George create many memorable moments and no one can ever forget the knitted Poldarks which also feature in this tale of friendship, love and personal growth. I enjoyed Lucy's journey as she tackles the insecurities at work, her colleagues and potential relationships. It has got under my skin so I am still thinking about the characters a couple of weeks since I finished it.  I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
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Favorite Quotes:

There was an inaudible twang as one of her heartstrings was plucked.

A man of few words, and even fewer talents.

She’s got me running around like a squirrel on speed.

Adam rubs people up the wrong way and doesn’t stop rubbing until there are friction burns.

I can imagine you’ll be the sort of parent who responds to a question about death with a PowerPoint presentation depicting the various stages of decay occurring in the human body – maggots and all.

My Review:

This debut author’s work was a delight to read, I was quickly enamored with her dynamic characters and vivid storytelling.  I adored the friendship of the elderly yet feisty Brenda and her quiet yet kind neighbor Lucy.  Brenda had purple streaks in her hair and was gifted with many talents.  Young Lucy was a crafty knitter and an endearing and tenderhearted soul, yet timid and lacking in confidence.  I enjoyed watching a stronger and more colorful Lucy evolve although Brenda’s deterioration squeezed my cold heart, put hot rocks in my throat, and caused my eyes to sting in a curious manner.  The storylines were crisp, engaging, evocative, and laced with clever levity.  Jenni Keer is one to watch and taught me a new Brit idiom of “big up,” which Mr. Google taught me was to praise or speak well of.  I will gladly big up Jenni Keer anytime!
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Isn't it funny how we automatically assume someones situation based on what things look like on the outside? As much as we all sit there and say 'nahhhhh' I don't judge, we still find ourselves doing it, intentionally or not. I mean, if you spotted people like Lucy and Brenda in real life, bonding over knitting, despite having over 50 years between the two of them - would you wonder?

An unlikely friendship may be, but Lucy and Brenda's friendship is as real as a beating heart. They look after each other. They listen to each other. They make each other laugh. To be honest, I would go as far as to say that they're each others lifelines. Brenda is such a heartwarming character whose personality makes you feel as though you're coming home. Every time she had a part in the story, I felt her presence as though I was getting hugged from deep within. She was such a special character, and I will hold her in my heart for a long time to come.

As for Lucy - I couldn't believe it when the story told me that she was 25! I don't know why though. Maybe it's because she acted like someone much older. I took a little while to gel to her because she wasn't someone who was so forthcoming with her emotions and feelings - she was someone who would say 'okay' to keep the peace which meant for a while, she wasn't showing exactly who she was. It was a shame that she felt like she couldn't be herself though, but the storyline does delve a little deeper into the reasoning behind that.

I will admit that something got into my eye in the last part of the book. I won't tell you exactly what it was though as it could be considered a spoiler and I'm not that mean!

I really enjoyed following Lucy's journey, especially when she was able to get that all important lightbulb moment when it came to her own dreams instead of living the life that was expected of her. I did find the storyline a little confusing at times though because there was a lot to keep track of, and sometimes I struggled to link all of the relevant information to the relevant characters as there was more information to digest than storage to file it in. If that makes sense.

I loved Jenni Keer's heartwarming style of writing as it was clear that she believed in her characters and wanted the best for them, even though she had to put them through a bit of heartache beforehand. Oh, and Scratbag deserves to get an uber special mention because he is just brilliant!!

'The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker' is a really uplifting, thought-provoking read which will have you reaching for your own hopes and dreams that you shelved long ago. Lucy Baker is proof that dreams can happen as long as you believe. Believe in what though? Social media? The latest fashion trends? No. As long as you believe in YOURSELF.
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This has been a perfect weekend read for me, it’s the kind of book that is light-hearted and fun but really engaging, great if you’ve been in a bit of a reading funk which I certainly was before the new year.

I like that there is a lot going on in the book, it centres around the friendship between Lucy and Brenda but you are involved with all the aspects of Lucy’s life, her relationship with her family, her work life and then, of course, the quest to use the locket to try and get neighbour George to fall for her, even if it’s more for Brenda’s sake than her own.

I think because I found Lucy such an interesting character, almost a kindred spirit, I really enjoyed getting entangled in her life. She’s a bit shy to begin with and maybe isn’t living the kind of life that others would want for her but as the story progresses she gains some confidence and I liked getting to see how that changed her relationships with those around her, especially in her workplace.

Brenda was also a fascinating character and I loved that her friendship with Lucy managed to stay intact even though they were both having to deal with the difficulties that dementia throws up. I liked her quirky nature and that she was so outgoing to Lucy’s shy and reserved nature, and even when she had moments of confusion, getting muddled and almost losing herself, she still made you feel as if it was all as she planned. I admired that she was very honest and upfront with herself about her condition because that really is half the battle.

The antics that Lucy and her friend Jess get up to because of the locket were exceptionally entertaining, any time she finished one task I wondered what crazy thing she would have to do next. It was nice to see her start to enjoy it though and maybe to think that George wasn’t too bad a guy to set her sights on.

There were a few things that I guessed were going to happen, I know that some people say predictable and maybe see that as more of a negative, but with this book I liked it. I liked that I had an inkling of what might happen because I was never sure how Lucy would respond.

This is a very enjoyable read and a lovely story with wonderful characters who often surprised me. I’m looking forward to seeing what Jenni Keer comes up with next.
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This is a light, cozy story that treats a heavy topic with a sensitive hand. It has a bit of magic and revolves around Lucy finding her true love. It's very solidly what you would call chick lit, so if that's your thing, you'll absolutely love it. I wasn't into the love story so much, but enjoyed how each character had their own, very distinct personality.
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The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is an exceptionally written debut novel full of warmth, pathos and laughter that will touch your heart and tickle your funny bone. Emotional, uplifting and feel-good, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker heralds the arrival of a wonderful new voice in women’s fiction: Jenni Keer.

Lucy Baker is not your typical 25 year old. While other girls her age love nothing more than painting the town red every night of the week and getting up to all sorts of mischief, Lucy prefers to spend her time by herself, in her flat, with her nose in a book. When she fancies a change, Lucy can be found at home with her knitting needles clicking away, keeping everybody and everything at bay. Her cluttered little flat is her sanctuary, her refuge and her escape. Lucy has no interest in dating or socialising, however, little does she realise that her sedate little world is going to be shaken to its very core, thanks to her unlikely new friend and neighbour, 79 year old Brenda.

There might be an age gap of over five decades between the two of them, but Lucy and Brenda soon become fast friends. Lucy loves nothing more than to benefit from Brenda’s wise and witty advice, but there is heartache in store for her when her new friend is diagnosed with dementia. With her memories in danger of slipping away forever, Brenda finds herself asking Lucy for help with her final wish: to see Lucy happy. Brenda wants Lucy to step out of her comfort zone and experience life in all its glory. Lucy would do absolutely anything for her friend and having been gifted the locket that had helped Brenda find her one true love, Lucy decides to try and stop hiding in the shadows and live.

However, is Lucy ready for all the opportunities and heartbreak of the real world? Or should she have stuck to her knitting needles and left all the adventures to the fictional characters in her books?

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is absolutely sublime! A book that manages to be uproariously hilarious and wonderfully poignant, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is a fantastic tale about courage, renewal and friendship that is sure to strike a chord with readers everywhere. Jenni Keer has written an outstanding debut novel that celebrates women’s strengths and relationships that will have you laughing, crying and cheering in equal measures.

A book that is sure to stay with you long after the last page is turned, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is a triumphant debut that should not be missed!
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