This is not only the first novel in a trilogy about the village of Honeycote but it is also the first novel of Veronica Henry. An author who has gone from strength to strength in her storytelling.
Honeycote House is the home to the Liddiard’s and has been for generations. It’s current occupants are Mickey and his wife Lucy with their two daughters and Patrick, Mickey’s son from his first marriage. But all is not well; Mickey is running the family business into the ground and is drinking himself into some sort of denial. He is treating his wife shamefully as he goes from one woman to another.
His wife Lucy has no idea about any of this and has always embraced everything in such a wholehearted manner that she appears to be keeping the whole family going. Veronica Henry brought to life the way Lucy brings everyone together in their haphazard house, dogs, horses, children, everyone being welcome and enjoying the food and most of all the company.
James, Mickey’s brother is part of the Liddiard family that has not embraced the tradition of living in the family home and working in the family business. He is trying to keep his distance because he has feelings for Lucy and despite his own relationships James feels he is cheating on Lucy when he is with other woman. He even knows his brother is cheating on Lucy and despises him for it but cannot do anything but wait.
One of Mickey’s women is Kay. She married for money and not for sex. Kay discovers the latter can certainly make up for some of the loneliness in her life. Is she about to be the next Mrs Liddiard in the ‘big house’ or is her lifestyle going to change rather rapidly and unexpectedly.
The three main characters are interwoven into the story along with more minor ones, but they all have a part to play in Honeycote. Even the outsiders can see the idyll that is this Cotswold village and dream of making a life for themselves. Trouble is, there are many deceptions and hearts about to be broken for that to be achieved.
This book has it all, a rich array of characters and I admit it does take a little while to get your head round who is who, but within a few chapters you are hooked into their lives. Turning the pages to find out more as if watching a soap opera unfold in front of you. There is the equal amount of humour and heartache and some moments that made me blush! It has the right ingredients for a story to take you away from it all. Veronica Henry does them so well, and as this was her first work it can only (and it does) get better.
I come to this book having read Veronica Henry’s other work and I had to look up to see that this was her first novel. Having read this I intend to read the next in the Honeycote series of books. Making Hay is the next one which I will have to purchase, though it looks like I am going to struggle to find a copy. Typical me, I have the third one on my shelf!
The reason for me showing two covers ? Well the one just above, is the actual copy I read. I picked it up in a charity shop. I hate it! The only reason I bought the book was because I had read the author before. I would not have even considered it otherwise. There is something that puts me in mind of a Jilly Cooper or Jackie Collins novel. It does nothing to give you a clue about the story inside the covers.
The cover at the top of the page is my favourite. It gives me that lovely family image that you know is not going to be perfect and I think is much more in keeping with the authors work. Strange how a cover can change your perception of a book so much. But what do I know? I am just a reader and a blogger!