Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Sue McDonagh
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Summer of Hopes and Dreams

Published Date: June 29, 2021

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Book 4 - Art Café  series

320 pages


Can “Dozy Rosie” spice up her life and prove she’s not boring?

Rosie Bunting has spent her life caring for others, often at the expense of her own hopes and dreams. But when she overhears somebody describing her as “boring”, she decides it’s time for a change.

Little does she realise that the outdoor pursuits weekend brochure handed to her at the local Art Café will kick start a summer that will see her abseiling down a Welsh cliff face in “eye watering” leggings, rediscovering her artistic side and unexpectedly inheriting an old fire engine. It also involves meeting hunky outdoor instructor, Gareth Merwyn-Jones – although of course he’d never be interested in Dozy Rosie Bunting … would he?

One thing’s for certain: Rosie’s path to achieving her hopes and dreams might not be smooth, but it’s definitely not boring.

Book 4 – Art Café series. Book 1 – Summer at the Art Café. Book 2 – Meet Me at the Art Café.  Book 3 – Escape to the Art Café.

Available as an eBook and audiobook on all platforms. Paperback available from all good bookshops and online stores.

Sue McDonagh

Sue McDonagh’s career as a policewoman for Essex Police was cut short when she was diagnosed at the age of twenty-four with ovarian cancer. After a successful recovery and a stint working as a Press Officer she moved to Wales.

In Wales her love of art evolved into a full-time occupation and she made a living teaching and sketching portraits at shows. In 2014 she was a regional finalist for the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. She now works exclusively to commissions from her art gallery.

In 2009 she learned to ride a motorbike, and now helps run Curvy Riders, a national, women only, motorbike club. Her joy of motorbikes and her love of writing inspired her to write the Art Café series.
Sue, granny of two little girls and proud mum of two stepsons, lives a mile from the sea in Wales. She can often be found with her border terrier, Scribbles, at her art gallery. Scribble thinks the customers only come in to see him. Sometimes, Sue thinks that too.

When she’s not painting, she’s writing or on her motorbike.

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Customer Reviews


  1. Anne
    Anne at

    Sue MCDonagh has done it again with her fourth in the Arts Cafe series – Summer of Hopes and Dreams. I have loved all her books and this latest didn’t disappoint at all. When Rosie Bunting overhears unpleasant comments at her mother’s funeral, and realises it’s her own daughter saying those things, she hits rock bottom. In a knee-jerk reaction to prove her daughter wrong, she books on a weekend course with the lovely Gareth hoping it might be just the thing to start rebuilding her confidence. As ever Sue’s book is filled with such endearing, relatable characters, all facing their own issues, you can’t help but root for them all. This was a lovely easy read, but totally gripping, which meant there was no way I was going to put this down. As always with Sue’s books I was sad to come to the end and realise I would have to wait a while for her next one.

  2. Janine
    Janine at

    I have absolutely loved the ‘Art Cafe’ series and this one is up there with my favourites !

    Rosie is at a bit of a loss with herself following her mums death after spending some time caring for her and an eaves drop into a conversation with her daughter to her friends tips her over the edge, quite literally! as she signs herself up for a weekend adventure course on a whim to prove she can be fun. It is here we meet Gareth and Leanne who become more than the weekend companions.

    There is plenty going on in this story with Gareth and his ex and Rosie and hers and not to mention all the kids but this is a real fun fast paced story which isn’t too detached from real life. The Art Cafe makes an appearance and I liked the link at the end which ties it all together but you don’t need to have read any of the others to enjoy this one.

    I have to just mention the exquisite art work on the cover too that the author paints herself, they are an absolute delight to look forward to, such a talent.

  3. Barbara p
    Barbara p at

    This is a stand alone book in the Art Cafe series. It is a totally different story line to normal featuring a lady of more mature years. Rosie is a real star in this story as she decides on the spur of the moment to go on an outdoor pursuits course. Whilst on it she comes to terms with her life, losses and relationships. All in addition to the course content which fully stretches her physically. The author has portrayed the characters brilliantly, they really zing alive and become real. A lovely romance which gives all a joyous feeling.

  4. Yvonne Greene
    Yvonne Greene at

    Loved this story from start to finish. Rosie has lost herself- raising her children, being abandoned by her husband and nursing her ungrateful mother, all whilst trying to refurbish her semi inhabitable house – no wonder her daughter declared her “boring” and worse. This declaration spurs Rosie to step completely outside her comfort zone by signing up for an outwards bound course. Adventure, friendship and possibly more are awaiting Rosie on her journey to rediscovering herself.

    Loved this story from the first page to the totally satisfactory ending! Highly recommend this latest novel by the very talented Sue McDonagh

  5. Gill L.
    Gill L. at

    The ‘Art Cafe’ series of books is well worth reading – it’s not necessary to read them in order, but it doesn’t hurt. This latest one is a great instalment – a really good story, with a happy ending – what more could you wish for? Ms McDonagh has got these heroines down to a T – initially somewhat down-trodden without any self esteem, but pulling up their socks and getting themselves going. I had some trouble putting the book down to eat etc – and thoroughly enjoyed the journey through it all. I think somewhere like the Art Cafe would go down very well – I would very much like to visit the place myself. So, I heartily recommend the book – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. My star rating was very easy!

  6. Ruth
    Ruth at

    5* Highly entertaining

    When Rosie, mid 40’s, divorced, lacking in confidence and very much overweight, hears herself being described as boring, there’s only one thing she can do and that’s to re-discover the real Rosie. She spontaneously books a weekend away advertised to ‘push your boundaries’. Hoping to push her mental boundaries followed by inactivity and drinking wine, instead she’s faced with outdoor pursuits of rock climbing, canoeing and abseiling.

    Gareth, her activity instructor, is both attracted to and entertained by Rosie’s sense of humour and her persistence of trying everything at least once, usually screaming in terror.

    Expect the unexpected with Rosie in her attempt to turn her life around, proving that she’s definitely not boring.

    An entertaining plot with believable characters that’ll keep the reader laughing.

    Eye catching book cover that was painted by the author.

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