Amanda has a successful career and a successful boyfriend and lives and works hard in the city.
Suddenly she has nothing, no career, no boyfriend. So she decides to disappear and take herself away and set up a boutique in Westfield, a Yorkshire village, selling the things that she enjoys making. It seems a good place to make a new start.
Ben, the local village vet is still hurting after his city loving wife leaves him for his best friend. When he meets Amanda, he sees another city dweller wanting to make it in the country and knows that they never last. And it is local villagers like him that have to deal with the fall out. Amanda and Ben do not get off to the best of starts!
Neither Ben or Amanda have banked on the local ladies of the village who have secret meetings not just about raising money to save the community centre roof but also have matchmaking down to a fine art. These eccentric bunch of ladies, with their baking and knitting bring a community together and are a rather humorous touch to the plot.
However, the inevitable is going to happen pretty much from very early on in the book and this left me slightly disappointed. Sometimes I do not want it to be so obvious that is what is going to happen and who is going to end up with who.
That aside, Rachel Dove manages to weave a tale which did keep me reading despite knowing what was going to happen, because there were a couple of times I began to doubt it all and I wanted to bang both Ben and Amanda’s heads together. Whilst also secretly wanting to be the one that Ben puts his arms around. So it was a good read.
This book fits in very much with what I enjoy in contemporary women’s fiction. It has the strength of a community, the broody but good-looking man, throw in a project or two, like the community centre and some crafts, add in a bit of cooking and you have a book that I can while away a day with. In fact it took me a day to read it – I wanted to see what was happening.
I secretly hope (although I am telling you all readers) that Rachel Dove goes back to Westfield, because I feel that there are some more characters that could be discovered and stories within the confines of the village.
The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is the debut novel from Rachel Dove, winner of The Prima Flirty Fiction Competition.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book.
The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is out on 21st April