She's had enough of her ordinary stressful job, of her not-so-ordinary jaded romance with Tony Granger, and the rather extraordinarily dire relationship with his interfering family. She finds her only escape from it all through the bubble of her fantasy-filled bookshelf and with the glide of a paintbrush in her hand.
What Layla doesn't know is that her ordinary life is about to be turned upside down, and only she can choose how to fill in what's been erased. So with a splash of hope, a scattering of chance and a palette-full of risk, she paints herself a whole new world. However, it is fate that brings the biggest burst of colour, by blending together an unexpected friendship between Layla and her favourite novelist, Benjamin Turner.
But her new life doesn't come without its consequences. And it is these serendipitous changes that will make or break it all. Layla never has been able to find what she's been looking for, until now – but is she too late?
This is Layla's remarkable story of courage, inspiration and love.
"Sacha is a multi-published feature writer with a gold-standard diploma in journalism. A fervent enthusiasm for psychology and philosophy has inspired the foundations of the literary universe you see here today. In addition, her advocation for curiosity, creativity and self-actualisation has built them from the ground up.
In recent years, she has transitioned from solely writing articles and blog posts to also publishing contemporary fiction, all of which encompasses these essential elements.
When she's not writing, she's listening to rock music, reading rom-coms and drinking copious amounts of tea, a beverage which she credits as the fuel for all of her thought-provoking reads
A thoroughly enjoyable novel with very relatable characters whose emotions, anxieties and attachments to one another are well rendered. Laugh out loud moments, tear-jerking episodes and occasions where I winced in recognition made this story memorable and engaging throughout. I also loved that Waterstones made an appearance as a place of welcome, joy and treasures awaiting discovery... It culminates in a climactic ending and I felt invested in the characters and found myself rooting for them and for a restorative ending- I can't wait to hopefully read more installments of Layla's story.
"Instead of saying what I was thinking, I let it go... Instead, I attempted to think of ways to bring us closer together, then maybe he'd be less angry and I'd be happier? Isn't that what love is- to not give up when the going gets tough?"
"...as silly as it sounded, my recent past's memories reignited that fear within me, and even though I knew my logic was ridiculous, I couldn't shift them from my mind."
"So, as much as recent memories remained keen in trying to creep into the gaps of my day, they were becoming more infrequent, and I was able to feel freer again. There was a safety in a life with no emotional demands."
"If this year had taught me anything, it was not to let time be an excuse for apathy, because, who's to say what's around the corner? All we know is life today, so we best make sure it's a good one"
"Heartbreak can either deny a person of their happiness or define their identity... Not every sad moment should get the better of you. Because there's so much more to live for in this world- you just have to look at the situation in a different way to find it."
An absolute delight to read. Bear with the beginning. It is there to stage the important journey Layla goes on. The characters that Sacha paints all feel very real (and you will soon understand why I dislike Tony so much and also fall slightly in love with Benjamin Turner). The important take home message of this book is to never give up on your passion, to answer when opportunity knocks and that it's never too late to make a change. Love, love, love it!