Books

The Secret Cove in Croatia – Julie Caplin

Books can take you on holidays and experiences vicariously and whilst there are some books I read I have no want or desire to become involved – reassuringly for my readers anything to do with murders is at the top of this list! However ones that require no passport or vaccinations then I am there being transported to blue seas, warm sun and the sense of pure relaxation. Utter bliss.

In this the fifth of the Romantic Escapes series by Julie Caplin, I am transported by yacht to Croatia.

Maddie is offered a job as chief cook and bottlewasher onboard a luxury yacht for the summer. One of the yachts that are chartered with those who have so much money they have no sense as to what to do with it.

Despite the hard work, Maddie thinks it might give her time to make sense of what she wants to do with her life.

Nick is a sheep farmer and when a chance encounter with supermodel Tara, sees him forming a relationship with her. What better place to consolidate that than on holiday. Lazing onboard a luxurious yacht seems the perfect place for a supermodel and her eye candy boyfriend.

That is until he meets Maddie, down to earth, comfortable in her skin and also friends with Nick’s sister as well!

Add into the mix another supermodel, a stylist, people famous for being rich and arrogant and you get some rather over inflated egos and precious personalities which in interaction with the down to earth Maddie and to some extent Nick made for humorous reading.

Of course there are some underlying issues when you lead such a high profile life in public when every action has to have a reaction on social media and perhaps some of them were glossed over and not given any closure.

But the real plot was the sparks that fly between Nick and Maddie and when the boat is moored in the secret cove it seems that perhaps, the sheep farmer and the deck hand have more in common than they think. That is until the boat starts to move again.

Croatia and the harbours and towns that they stopped at are painted in something more than a holiday brochure but were brought to life. I am not sure about the yacht as I am not sure my sea legs would survive, however it is always great to see how the ‘other half live’.

A perfect read for a perfect holiday escape. I wonder where Julie Caplin is going to take me next?

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

The Secret Cove in Croatia is out today. 

 

Books

Parish Notices

Hello everyone – how are you coping with the hot weather (if you have had any). It becomes too hot to knit, crochet or do anything crafty so I do resort to jigsaws and going to bed early and reading more.

It has been a month since I was last wittering on my parish notices so I thought I better tell you about some of the books that you may have missed out on and also some great books coming up!

First of all have you heard about Six in Six? Check out the link here which explains how it works but already some people are posting their choices and linking back to me so I can collate them all into a roundup post in August. My choices are coming soon. Please do spread the word. We are a select few that take part every year, but it would be great if there was more.

You will have to see if this book features on any of my choices but I recommend this and the previous novel about Heartcross, Love Heart Lane and it’s residents.

Six months ago, I discovered Love Heart Lane in the village of Heartcross, a lovely Scottish village which had been at the centre of Christie Barlow’s first novel in what is turning out to be a series. Back with familiar faces and the spectacular scenery of the highlands meant I knew was going to be in for a treat.

Such is the quality of the plotting and the writing that you can be swept away to this little village in the highlands and know that you could fit right in.

Both Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm are out now.

If I could not move to the Highlands then I want to move to The Little Village of Happiness, the latest novel from Holly Martin

The little village in Cornwall needs people and in return for a years free rent for both accommodation and shop, Willow sees it as the perfect opportunity to escape from the gossip of her town and to lick her wounds from being dumped the day after getting engaged.

I could escape completely within the pages of the book. The characters made me laugh and cry – they also made me cross with their actions too! This books isn’t just full of light fluffy romance, there are some interesting issues dealt with sensitively and they made the plot so much richer and thoughtful.

The Little Village of Happiness is out now.

Of course you could always move abroad……

Grace loves her job at the storage company, even more so when she discovers long lost treasures and items of interest.

When opening one unit, belonging to a Connie Levine. Grace discovers a whole life inside and one with a very interesting story. Grace is determined to discover the truth and reunite these items with their rightful owner.

As we are transported to Italy with Grace she starts to embrace what might have been Connie’s life and what brought to her Italy, what happened to her during the war and why she has left in storage,  expensive paintings and items of jewellery.

A Postcard from Italy is out now.

Of course you could forgo abroad and just stay in a castle.

I almost feel like I could step into the castle and be apart of the renovation, the history and also its  future.

The second in the Bluebell Castle Trilogy from this author who will be making many people smile with her Happy Ever Afters for years to come.

Sunshine over Bluebell Castle it published on 5 August.

Sometimes though it is best just to stay at home.

Sometimes your name can dictate where your home is meant to be.

The Culbones have always lived in Rushbrook House, across the brook from them is Dragonfly Farm home to the Melchiors. The well to do, rich, higher in society than the rundown farm and the farmers across the water.

A family saga set in Somerset, with secrets, cider, romance, friendship, new beginnings and a place for everyone to call home.

The latest from Veronica Henry is published on the 25 July.

So many places you could go and the beauty of books means you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your favourite reading spot!

So that is what has been happening around this parish – what about yours?

Books

Hattie’s Home for Broken Hearts – Tilly Tennant

Hattie is back in her home village of Gillypuddle, Dorset somewhat with her tail between her legs.

Her wonderful life in Paris has come to an abrupt end and she has had to move back into her parents house who although are welcoming still feel that Hattie is making all the wrong choices and that she should start her education again and get a proper job.

Hattie is still in the shadow of her sister Charlotte and her parents will never let her forget it, Charlotte despite her death is still very much the favourite and it hurts Hattie.

To find a life of her own and some independence, Hattie seeks refuge in a job at the local Donkey Sanctuary nearby on Sweet Briar Farm, it all sounds idyllic apart from the owner, Jo who is taciturn and has no contact with the rest of the village until Hattie appears in her life.

Hattie falls for the donkeys, the vet and a news reporter and it seems the choices she makes are going to affect Jo as much as herself.

Hattie and Jo it turns out have more than the love of donkeys in common and whilst they both struggle with the truth they are going to need to work together to help the most important thing – the donkeys.

This is a story which will have you laughing, the secondary characters – both human and animal are amusing. The crying comes when you least expect it but who knew you could care so much about donkeys in a fictitious sanctuary? That is all because the story is beautifully written when it comes to dealing with loss and the guilt of those left behind. The romance is very much a secondary plot line for me in this book.

There is real depth to this book and it will probably surprise you as it did me. Not what I was expecting and for that I was most grateful. A great read.

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

Hattie’s Home for Broken Hearts is published on 10 July. 

 

Books

The Little Village of Happiness – Holly Martin

Willow needs to start again with her life and what better place than somewher called Happiness.

The little village in Cornwall needs people and in return for a years free rent for both accommodation and shop, Willow sees it as the perfect opportunity to escape from the gossip of her town and to lick her wounds from being dumped the day after getting engaged.

However, Happiness is not all it seems.

The advertisement was far from the truth, crumbling cottages, unkempt gardens and not a very friendly atmosphere. But despite the breathtaking scenery there is a small glimmer of happiness – Andrew, the estate manager.

Willow is not looking for that sort of happiness but it seems the connection between herself and Andrew cannot be denied. When an idea to spread some more happiness through the villagers gathers momentum so does Willow and Andrew’s relationship.

But whilst Willow is falling into life in the village, spreading happiness and enjoying her time with Andrew. She feels that he is holding something back.

This is great story of upping sticks and starting again and making a whole new life for yourself. I fell in love with Andrew as much as I enjoyed Willow’s little eccentricities on how she can make the village more welcoming and give everyone a sense of community. Something I think which is lacking considerably in today’s society.

I could escape completely within the pages of the book. The characters made me laugh and cry – they also made me cross with their actions too! This books isn’t just full of light fluffy romance, there are some interesting issues dealt with sensitively and they made the plot so much richer and thoughtful.

I would gladly have decamped to the village of Happiness in my own cottage, I think I would have opened a book shop or a craft shop and if I could have found my own Andrew I would have truly found contentment.

A five star read.

Thank you to the author who kindly provided me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I have received nothing in return and the only thing I give is the recommendation to read this book. 

The Little Village of Happiness is out now.

Books

Foxglove Farm – Christie Barlow

Six months ago, I discovered Love Heart Lane in the village of Heartcross, a lovely Scottish village which had been at the centre of Christie Barlow’s first novel in what is turning out to be a series. Back with familiar faces and the spectacular scenery of the highlands meant I knew was going to be in for a treat.

I first got to know Isla in the last book and we were all there when cut off from the mainland due to the weather, Isla gives birth with her husband by her side.

However it has not been plain sailing, for Isla since we last met. She feels lonely, her husband Drew is working all the hours on their farm and he seems to be sniping at every opportunity. The strong bond they had seems to be weakening and Isla cannot understand why and Drew will not talk to her.

When the unpredictable weather strikes again at Foxglove Farm all of Isla and Drew’s problems are suddenly in the foremost of the whole communities mind. Like every good community they all pull together and help, with the milking, the lambing and bringing the dreams of Isla to fruition as well as getting Drew, literally back on his feet.

Throw into the mix some alpacas, handsome strangers, criminals and a few old campervans and all of a sudden you have a story that you have to stay with come what may. There are some funny moments that made me chuckle and some beautiful heart rendering ones which made my heart break and sing in equal measure.

Such is the quality of the plotting and the writing that you can be swept away to this little village in the highlands and know that you could fit right in.

Not afraid to tackle some real issues and also to move away from a new romance, a common feature in women’s fiction, the author focuses very much on the romance that is in all good relationships and this book is for anyone who wants to perhaps some more substantial than light and fluffy.

I am excited to learn that there will be another trip back to Heartcross but I am also jealous of anyone who has yet to read this book and the first, you have such a treat awaiting you.

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

Foxglove Farm is out now. 

Find out where it all started at Love Heart Lane. 

 

Books · Jottings

June Roundup

Of course now we are into July you can start posting your Six in Six posts. If you don’t know what I am on about please check out the link here and share what has been good and not so good in the last 6 months.

I packed a lot into the month of June, mainly because we have had some awful rainy days where there is nothing better than curling up with a book but also some blistering hot days when it is too hot to do anything apart from read and cool down with a gin and tonic.

Of course when you read it can be summer all the time and this month was certainly in terms of reading.

I caught up with Liz Eeles – A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle, nothing better than a browse in a bookshop and a strawberry cake for a treat as well. I hope all is still well at the Cosy Kettle.

Not everyone has access to bookshops so the bookshop can come to them it turns out in Jenny Colgan – The Bookshop on the Shore revisiting characters I had not met but a wonderful story which means I need to catch up in what goes on in Scotland.

Scotland happened to be a frequent place for me this month. I was beyond excited to catch up with the villagers of Heartcross in Christie Barlow – Foxglove Farm and even more excited that there will be another book. I don’t get out much!

I embraced Kirsty Wark – The House on the Loch which was a story of a family where tragedy creates a place to stay and the past is clearly affecting the present. Fascinating and well written, I need to read Wark’s debut novel this being the ‘difficult’ second novel.

Then within a page or two I can be transported down to Somerset in Veronica Henry – A Home from Home more family differences and secrets to be discovered.

Somerset is the perfect stop on the way to Cornwall which is where I ended up with Holly Martin – The Little Village of Happiness the premise an intriguing one – come and stay in the village of Happiness for a year with your own house and shop for free. Some people need to work at their happiness.

Of course you can go abroad for the summer to find out the answers to some questions and find your own happiness as well, Italy seems a popular place. Alex Brown – A Postcard from Italy a mix of modern and historical fiction in a change from what you would expect from Alex Brown. Though the glorious village of Tindledale is mentioned as it is in the little short story as well Alex Brown – The Great Summer Sewing Bee.

Some people see festivals as their holiday time and interspersed with weddings they can also make a summer. Annie Robertson – Four Weddings and a Festival takes you there in what I can only describe as a love letter of a book to Richard Curtis films and Hugh Grant!

But even if it is not all romance and weddings, festivals and farms it can still be very much families as it was in Agatha Christie – Dumb Witness. Another one to tick off my list and realise the brilliance of the writing and the plot.

What has you start to summer been like?

Books

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay – Ali McNamara

For single mum, Amelia and her son Charlie times are really hard. Charlie misses his old school friends when they had to move and Amelia is trying desperately to keep everything together with very little money and prospects.

That is until someone comes to tell her that Amelia and in fact Charlie are the sole descendants of the Chesterford family and they have in fact inherited a castle.

Whilst it may well be the answer to all their financial worries it isn’t going to be easy as the caveat for inheritances means you have to live and work within the castle walls and grounds to maintain it.

So for what she hopes is the final time, Amelia uproots Charlie and they go to live in Chesterford Castle on the Northumberland Coast where the beach is a stone’s throw away.

However, Chesterford CAstle seems to be lacking visitors and the exhibits aren’t exactly inspiring and so much more could be done with the place, Amelia realises she has a tough job on her hands.

She also has to convince the incumbent staff, butler Arthur and his wife Dorothy, the Cook. Tiffany the administrator, Joey the general hand plus a few that have yet to make themselves known to Amelia.

But she tackles the castle and her future with aplomb but of course she is going to face some difficulties along the way; ghosts, diaries, ex husbands, new boyfriends, cameo brooches and a possible threat to her new found inheritance. All of it is weaved together in this wonderful book.

I have often dreamed about living in a castle and it was by reading this book my dreams were coming true. The history fascinated me as well as the present and I adored all the whimsical features of the castle as wella s the characters!

A great read and another excellent book from Ali McNamara who seems to be getting better with every book I read. Excellent storytelling and all so believable! I would love to return to the castle and see how they are getting on.

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

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay is published on 27 June.