Paradise Fields – Katie Fforde

Nel has a full life. Not only is she a mother to three children, growing up and away from her, she is struggling with her weight as all women at time do, she is passionate about the farmers markets which she has been paramount in getting off the ground in her small village, fundraising is another passion for the local children’s hospice. Plus walking her dogs and making fabulous shaped and themed cakes. Is there time for anything else? Is there time for romance?

Nel is not so sure, since being widowed ten years previously , she has become a strong indpendent women and Katie Fforde could be allowed to make her into a stereotype here when romance enters her life, but she does not. She has a boyfriend, Simon who from the moment he featured on the page irritated me beyond belief. But to Nel he is safe.  Does she need safe when she has been able to manage that one on her own for the last ten years?

Whilst selling some mistletoe, a mystery man, tall, good-looking, handsome buys a large bunch and delivers a kiss as well as payment. Nel whilst being swept off her feet, suddenly has an insight into another life. Jake has arrived.

But in true romantic form, the path it doth never run smooth. Nel finds her self negotiating many other paths as the fields where she intends to set up a more permanent farmers market is going to be sold to make way for housing. Under the impression that the field belonged to the hospice, Nel starts a battle, a fight she is determined to win. Then it turns out it is not just the field that is at risk but the hospice as well.

And so you are drawn into how Nel with the help of her more vivacious friend, Viv, her spirited pretty daughter Fleur as well as many of the locals try and salvage something which will fit into their village without anyone losing out.

But all the time, Jake, keeps popping up when she least expects it and at times when she does not want it. He gets under her skin (and mine!) but he is not safe and that might not be a good thing for Nel. All her friends and family have an opposing opinion.

An absorbing read which had me hooked immediately, I loved Nel and cared about her, Simon irritated me as I mention  and I was enthralled with Jake as Nel was. All girls want that mystery man to just take over and sweep what we know is safe right from under us. Though preferably when we have the right clothes and make up on! This book had everything that I love about reads to escape in, a bit of romance, a village setting, a good cause, feisty and irritating characters, and a good old-fashioned happy ending. If you want all those things then this is the book for you. It was the book for me.

First of all I must thank Elaine from Random Jottings for directing me in Katie Fforde’s direction. (Though not sure my bank manager will be thankful for it) The pictures of all the books was capturing. I also wanted to know what I had been missing out on, so a foray into a charity shop saw a book looking at me and I thought well lets give it a go, what is good enough for Elaine…..

This certainly an author for me. What a delightful Saturday I spent, reading this novel interspersed with other things, such as hairdressers appointments, the hoover, ferrying parents around. As she says in her post, when you are feeling a bit blah (which I was) these will bring you out of it and it certainly did. 

I have made a list and I am off to search out the rest of the novels, and cannot wait to read them. I have no idea why this author has passed me by, as these books are right ‘up my street’ but sometimes your eye is not always drawn to them in a bookshop, and they get overlooked until a chance mention. I do wonder how many others I have missed that are still sitting forlornly on bookshelves waiting to be read?