A Springtime Affair – Katie Fforde

What better way to avoid all the doom and gloom than to read a Katie Fforde book and one full of bright, optimism and spring cheer.

Spring always heralds new beginnings and it is no different it seems for mother and daughter Gilly and Helena.

Gilly is happy with running her bespoke B & B she enjoys the work and meeting people and embraces the little touches that make her establishment stand out from the rest – like homemade shortbread! Leo though arrives in her life rather unexpectedly and his chosen career of estate agent might come in useful if Gilly decides to move on.

Helena is about to lose her home and whilst she knows that she can go home, her weaving loom does take up rather a lot of room. When a chance encounter to help new landlord Jago leads to some interesting events, it seems that Jago is a chance encounter worth pursuing.

In the meantime, Helena’s brother Martin and obsessive wife Cressida have other ideas about how Gilly should be spending her days. They seem rather in conflict in the way Gilly wants to spend them. Helena is also struggling to see the image of her mother that Martin is trying to portray.

Surely the new blossoms of spring will come to fully bud and the dead weeds will disappear forever?

This is a joyous book which takes you through family dynamics and new love. Added to this is the delicious recipes of Gilly and the wonderful creations of Helena’s weaving which make this a true Katie Fforde book.


A must for all fans and for anyone who wishes to escape. Perfect reading to soothe the soul. 

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 


Books · Witterings

Parish Notices

Gosh what a tumultuous few days. I have gone from Tier 2 to 3 to 4 in the space of about 72 hours. I was bogged down by the news yesterday and admit it got to me. I am now making a concerted effort to not get all consumed.

I came across these two little fun memes on some of the blogs I read so thought it would make a good diversion for a while. Links will take you to the reviews where there are some.


Describe yourself: Emylia Hall – A Heart Bent out of Shape

How do you feel: Sandi Toksvig – Between the Stops

Describe where you currently live: Helen Rolfe – The Little Cottage in Lantern Square

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Julie Caplin – The Little Teashop in Tokyo

Your favourite form of transportation: Raynor Winn – The Salt Path

Your best friend is: Amanda Owen – The Yorkshire Shepherdess

You and your friends are: Lucy Foley – The Guest List

What’s the weather like: Carole Matthews – Sunny Days and Sea Breezes

You fear: Agatha Christie – Death on the Nile

What is the best advice you have to give: Lissa Evans – V for Victory

Thought for the day: Bella Osborne – One Family Christmas

My soul’s present condition: Ann Cleeves – The Darkest Evening


Using only books you have read this year (2020), answer these prompts.


In high school I was Robin Stevens – Jolly Foul Play

People might be surprised by Veronica Henry – A Wedding at the Beach Hut

I will never be Agatha Christie – The Man in the Brown Suit

My life in lockdown was like Brenda Davies – The Girl Behind the Gates

My fantasy job is Emma Burstall – A Cornish Secret

At the end of a long day I need Tilly Tennant – Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen

I hate being Jenny Colgan – Five Hundred Miles From You

Wish I had Katie Fforde – A Rose Petal Summer

My family reunions are Helena Dixon – Murder on the Dance Floor

At a party you’d find me with Joanna Rees – The Hidden Wife

I’ve never been to Christie Barlow – Clover Cottage 

A happy day includes Trisha Ashley – The Garden of Forgotten Wishes

Motto I live by Lisa Swift – The School of Starting Over 

On my bucket list is Hazel Prior – Away with the Penguins

In my next life, I want to have Phillipa Ashley – A Surprise Christmas Wedding


Jeeves and the Leap of Faith – Ben Schott

Without a doubt I am a fan of Jeeves and Wooster, first brought to my attention from the television series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in respective roles. I think it is the only time I have actually gone and read a book (in fact more than one J & W story) after watching the programme.

But to this, a ‘homage’ to the great Wodehouse with all what you would expect in a tale of Wooster ups and downs, aunts and Gussie Fink-Nottle’s, Madeline Bassett’s and the Drones Club. If you had a tick list of everything to be included in the book then this ticked all of them.

Having caught up with Schott’s first tale I find myself back with Bertie and him being K.C he is called upon a gain to help His Majesty’s Government. There are some rather unsavoury sorts in black shorts infiltrating the academic world and we are taken to Cambridge via a swift snifter to catch up with the goings on with at the Drones club.

We encounter the fairy like Madeline Bassett who is uncertain of her current beaus commitment to her and eyes up Bertie from a distance.

Aunt Agatha one of the more feared of Bertie’s aunts has a few choice words about his matrimonial status and seeks to rectify it. But when a scheme to perhaps put Aunt Agatha off reveals more than it should it seems Bertie might be able to escape with his status in tact.

Some dodgy turf accountants, taxmen and newt lovers, Bertie finds himself caught up where he doesn’t want to be. Though where ever he seems to be so does the delightful Iona who has caught his eye and also that of Jeeves.

Might things be about to change for them all?

This book is spiffing good fun and just the tonic for any dark, down day when you need some spark of light, some chink of normality, because this is as close as we are going to get to new Jeeves and Wooster stories from Wodehouse. I hope there are many more to come.


Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Jeeves and the Leap of Faith is out now.  

Books · Crafts · Jottings · Witterings

Parish Notices

It has been a while since I have posted any notices around here. I want to say it is because I have been too busy doing all sorts of wonderful things. But it is 2020 and doing all sorts of things are very limited and look like they will remain so for a little while yet.

How are you getting on around your parish?

So what has been happening…

Well reading of course, this is a book blog after all! Here are a couple of recommendations for you, just in case you need more books to read!

There is only one Queen of Crime (Agatha Christie if you don’t know) but what if the Queen was involved in solving crime. Well she needs to fill her days somehow between all the papers, visits and family battles surely?

This really is an exuberant take on the cosy mystery genre and has some good research done on it, to understand the workings of the the Royal Family and also the descriptions of Windsor Castle. There are some humorous moments and it had me laughing out loud and what seems like the absurdity of it all but then do we really know what goes on behind palace walls?

There is something reassuring about Heidi Swain’s novels. They take you to places that you just don’t want to visit, but also live and the beauty is you get to go back again and again.

One of my most favourite books of the year and is an example of escapism reading at it’s best as are all of this author’s novels. Be transported to the wonderful people of Nightingale Square and all that it offers and if you spot a place for sale- let me know, I have my bags packed and I am moving in.

Other than work and swimming (in between lockdowns) I have been busy with crafts. I have made quite a lot this year and I will not bore you with it all. However, I finished a blanket I started in 2019…

Dune Blanket from Attic24 pattern

The only trouble I found starting something in April 2019 and not finishing until November 2020 is that your tension changes quite considerably! Good job it is only a blanket – but it keeps me lovely and warm and that really is a blanket’s purpose in life.

I got into Toft crochet quite considerably through the lockdown and have enjoyed the creative challenges it brings, even if I have a fear of missing out and what all the new things now! One of these challenges was Rohit the Peacock.

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I was not sure about making him, as I have picked up the superstition that anything peacock in the house can bring you bad luck. I think I am safe with this crochet version.

This is an old superstition and an even earlier version claims that having peacock feathers in the house not only brings bad luck but destines any unmarried female to become an old maid.

Many actors will not allow peacock feathers to be brought onto the stage either as a prop or part of a costume and veteran actors and directors have recounted tales of sets falling down during performances that involve peacock feathers.

It is thought the superstition originated in the Mediterranean where the evil eye markings are said to represent the eye of he she-devil Lilith who is responsible for the unexplained deaths of children. By keeping peacock feathers in the house she is ever present and able to watch over your home.

However, in India, China and Japan bringing peacock feathers indoors is actually supposed to increase good luck by providing extra eyes around the house to protect the occupants from danger.

Taken from 7 Bird Superstitions @

Perhaps I will share some more creating journey’s again on Parish Notices in the future?

So that is some news and highlights from my parish? How is it in yours?


The Girl Who Came Home to Cornwall – Emma Burstall

I have visited Tremarnock many times (four) over the years and it is always delightful to go back for another visit, this time it has taken me a while to go back. But here I am with Emma Burstall’s fifth novel set in this Cornish Village where everyone knows everyone else and everything that is going on.

But the village is going to be shaken up a bit with the arrival of a visitor Chabela Penhallow. A Mexican woman with a very Cornish name. She is visiting to escape from the present and to very much find out about her past and links to her surname.

Chabela is not very forthcoming and is keeping herself and her real story back in Mexico to herself, but she finds herself drawn to Simon who is nerdy by his own admission and is helping her with her family history.

So is Rick, who has temporarily suspended his internet search for the perfect woman and sets his sights on Chabela.

However her presence is upsetting the equilibrium it seems in many of the relationships within the village. Characters you will have met from previous novels, Liz and her husband Robert are still struggling through some difficulties. Rosie and Rafael, the first flush of young love. Loveday and Josh solid and dedicated to each other.

Chabela seems to have got to them all in different ways. Can she explain her situation and perhaps solve the undercurrents of the village that seem to have been their since she arrived?

Going back to Mexico might focus her mind on exactly what she wants, but she still has some demons to get rid of first.

I enjoyed the book, though I realised what was the ultimate happy ending, I was intrigued as to how we were going to get there. Get there we did and learnt a lot out about all the characters, tin mining and the connections between Mexico and Cornwall. Emma Burstall is never afraid to deal with some issues which are perhaps glossed over in or not mentioned, in other comparable women’s fiction books. The stories can have areal impact and this book was no different.

It was great to be back in Tremarnock and reminding myself not just of the characters but the familiarity of the landscape which is a character all in itself. Cornwall makes a great setting for so many books and it certainly works for this series.

Having been a fan of Burstall’s work for a long time, I look forward to see whether we return to Tremarnock next or perhaps venture further afield. Whatever the theme and wherever it is set, no doubt it will have depth not often found in some books.


Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

The Girl Who Came Home to Cornwall is out now. 

Books · Jottings

November Roundup

Well only one month to go in 2020, thank goodness though I don’t think we are out of the woods just yet. But November was a month where I hit my annual target of 100 books – such a satisfying feeling and also a month where I have just simply read and not worried (well not too much) about the never ending netgalley request list.

So what was on my November shelf?

Only one Christmas book, I think I reached peak Christmas in the previous couple of months but Anne Marie Ryan – The Six Tales of Christmas was a quiet tale reminiscence of previous American styled Christmas novels that I read. It’s message was very lovely though.

Of course snow for many equals Christmas but the snow in Catherine Cooper – The Chalet was a lot more sinister and this debut thriller novel is one to watch out for. Excellent and kept me hooked quite happily and made a change from all the ‘nice’ books.

To contrast the snow what better than to go back to summer with Cressida McLaughlin – The Cornish Cream Tea Summer where I caught up with old friends and made some new ones on the lovely bus in Cornwall and with an added dollop of actors as well as clotted cream this made for a great read. I rushed out to buy the next in the series and have started that within the last couple of days of November.

Cornwall was the setting of Raynor Winn – The Salt Path a book leant to me by a friend who thought I would enjoy it. I did. I knew nothing of the South West Costal path and it was a joy to read an ‘actual’ book where I could quite happily flick back to the map at the beginning so I could see locations and get a sense of place. One of the downsides of kindle reading is this ability. Wild camping is not something I would want to do, but certainly walking and in Cornwall is a place I would like to be.

More Cornwall was featured in Emma Burstall – A Cornish Secret and Emma Burstall – The Girl Who Came Home to Cornwall. The latter of the two novels I had on my kindle for ages meaning to be read, but knowing it was book five and I had omitted to read book four and it turns out I bought that ages ago to. Anyway, enough of the procrastinating as I know I enjoy this author immensely so I just went from one to the other and it was delightful to just keep reading about the same place, same characters like watching a continuing drama without the break. I do wonder if Emma Burstall has any more plans for Tremarnock.

Now as there are six Mitford sisters, I know that there is more to follow after Jessica Fellowes – The Mitford Trial. These are really excellent novels and I got a lovely response on Twitter from the author, because I ‘got the book’ in the way she intended it to be written. I had to go and reread my review just in case I had said something insightful – well I can’t see it. But if the author is happy and then I am happy as the plots of all of these books are great and really tap into my love of history.

Feeling rather ‘out of sorts’ about many things, like many people across the globe no doubt. So I picked up Ben Schott – Jeeves and the King of Clubs again this was because I got the latest Schott novel featuring Jeeves and Wooster through netgalley and realised I had not read the first of these homages. It was spiffing, tip top and everything you would expect from Wodehouse and I have read many over the years. It was a sheer delight to be back in their world and I rush to read the latest and go back and relieve some of Wodehouse’s best. My heart was fair cheered.

Not a bad month overall and I made a dent in some old books on my netgalley list as well as reading some ‘actual’ books, I really much prefer this way, but the kindle has let me read so many more I probably would not have read. It’s a conundrum for many an avid reader I am sure?

So what was on your November shelf? Any plans for December?