Books

The Wedding Promise – Emma Hannigan

Stella has lots to celebrate, she has turned fifty and is feeling fabulous, her daughter Leila is detailed and about to have her first grandchild. Her son, Jake is full of ambition as a pilot and has a lovely girlfriend, Fee an up and coming surgeon. Plus there is Gerry her husband the man she has spent her life with.

When tragedy strikes Stella finds herself in Spain. At a rundown villa called Casa Maria.

THis is now her future and she finds that restoring the villa to its former glory is not just helping her but also her family.

Leila is rather shocked by the way her baby arrives in the world and with Christmas coming she wants to be near her mum. But how can she manage anything, when she cannot even manage to feed the baby well enough and make herself look presentable. No one else can possibly feel like she does, do they?

Jake has hit self destruct, events make him reckless and when faced with it all he wants to do is run away, switch off and just be. What better place than in Spain with his mum. trouble is Fee is struggling to understand the man she fell in love with is not the man he is now. Only time will heal, but Fee seems to not be able to wait,.

With all of Emma Hannigan’s novels this deals with so much. Postnatal Depression, grief, reckless actions, love, sickness and humour in such a way that with the storyline you are pulled in to the world and you do not want to leave.

To learn about the characters when they are at Casa Maria was lovely, the sense of community that is around the villa and the way the Spanish locals embrace Stella and of course the what happened at Casa Maria before Shelly arrived.

This is a lovely uplifting book and a joy to read.

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

The Wedding Promise is out now. 

Having read only a couple of her novels, it is with great sadness to hear that Emma Hannigan lost her battle with cancer in March 2018. Her books are a lasting tribute to a wonderful author. I endeavour to read them all. 

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Books

A Family Recipe – Veronica Henry

I have read a lot of Veronica Henry’s novels and she is an author who I will go back to when I know I want to read something and get completely lost in it.

And I did get lost in A Family Recipe; set in Bath and with a dual narrative which took me from the present day back to the Second World War all set in one house.

That house is 11 Lark Hill. Now home to Laura Griffin, her husband Dom and their two girls, Jaz and Willow. With Willow about to fly the nest to university, Laura is going to be faced with an empty house and nothing to do.

When her life takes a completely different turn, Laura turns to her love of cooking and the recipes she has that date back to her grandmother and great grandmother. Perhaps she can find some purpose in food?

Back in 1942 at 11 Lark Hill, Jilly suddenly finds herself an orphan after the devastating attacks on Bath. The house survives and Jilly has to live with the guilt of not being there for her parents. Ivy moves in initially to keep her company but a friendship is borne which grows from strength to strength and will cover their whole lives. When Jilly feels like she has to do something to alleviate the guilt she feels for surviving she takes in a mother and her children who have been bombed out.

Of course the past and the present interlink with more than just the house and as the story develops and we start to work out everyone’s place in the past and how it affects the present the story draws you in further.

When events means Laura is suddenly faced with a possible different future will her actions leave her with the guilt that Jilly faced all those years previous.

A heartwarming novel which shows you the strength of love, the choices you make and the place that you should always call home. What more of a recipe do you need to read this book?

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

A Family Recipe is out on 17th May.

 

Books

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea – Holly Martin

Tori has come down to Cornwall for a few weeks to take a break from her broken heart as well as her work.

She has followed her friend Melody who now lives in Sandcastle Bay and has agreed to stay rent free in Blossom Cottage in return for some berry picking. Seems a fair exchange.

What she did not bank on is being chased by a turkey that thinks it’s a dog and encountering a quirky old lady who says she will marry Aidan Jackson within a year.

Aidan Jackson is in fact the owner of the cottage and the farm where the berries need picking. These are not any old sort of berries but heartberries – and they have to be picked at night, by the first full moon and candlelight and it all has to be done before the tide starts and in time for the festival which features of course heartberries and lots of romance!

Tori doesn’t know what she has let herself in for, but if it means she can spend more time with her friend Melody and her sister Isla, then it is worth it.

Trouble is Tori starts to find that Sandcastle Bay and Aidan start getting under her skin and she realises that the bustling life she was living before was perhaps not living or loving at all.

Resolutely trying to not get her heart broken again, Tori and Aidan come to some sort of an understanding, but it seems that the locals of the village and the heartberries have other ideas.

If you want pure escapism, then Holly Martin is your go to author. I was transported to the beach, to the fields, to the cottage and even to Aidan’s bedroom (saucy!) with such ease that I felt so reassured by the book that love is out there for everyone.

The humour is subtle and the wonderful characters are easy to like and love and all I want to do when I read books like this, is to keep reading, to keep wanting to know more about them, to experience what they experience. Pure escapism reading at it’s best.

Clearly Holly Martin has set up this book to be another trilogy and I simply cannot wait until I can return to Tori, Aidan, Melody et al in the future.

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

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea is out now. 

 

Books

The Postcard – Fern Britton

Fern takes us back to Cornwall and to a place we have visited before – Pendruggan. If you have read any of Fern’s previous books then you will immediately recognise the characters and the setting. However it can quite easily be read as a standalone novel and will no doubt tempt you to go back and read more about Pendruggan and its residents!

Penny seems to be settled as the vicars’ wife and mother to the gorgeous Jenna, she is also still very much involved in her job as a television producer. She has all she needs in the village, her family and her close friend Helen.

But when her sister turns up to share the news that her mother has died at the same as her popular television programme is cancelled Penny struggles to cope. Her cry for help is noticed but not properly heard and it takes an outsider to realise what is going on as Penny’s past is laid bare for all to see.

Ella is that outsider, she becomes involved in Penny’s life through looking after Jenna as well as working for Penny’s new next door neighbour Kit. Ella though is in Pendruggan for another reason, she has come to speak to her grandmother’s solicitor about her legacy – trouble is Ella is not the recipient that is Ella’s mother who walked out and left Ella and her brother a very long time ago.

This novel for me was really honest as it deals with some rather sensitive issues and I became immersed in the storyline. Penny’s decline of mental health was distressing to read and I wanted to step inside of the book and somehow do something to help. In equal measure I also wanted to step inside and have it out with Penny’s sister about her behaviour. That is how good I think the writing is – when you want to throttle a particular character on one page and sweep up another into a hug on the next.

Along with the main characters there is of course all the secondary ones and the lovely quirikness of village life that jumps off the page along with the setting and the scenery – what more could you want in a book?

A worthy read.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. It has taken me rather a while to get round to reading it. 

The Postcard is out now. The new novel Coming Home takes us back to Pendruggan and we learn more about Ella. 

 

 

 

 

 

Books

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage – Heidi Swain

I think without any doubt Heidi Swain is becoming one of my favourite authors up there with Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde. The dizzy heights of being able to pick up a novel by this author and know that you are going to get a good story from the very beginning.

Lottie inherits a cottage in the village of Wynbridge, not any old cottage but Cuckoo Cottage which was previously owned by Gwen. Trouble is a number of the villagers think that Lottie is the cuckoo in the nest as she had only a tenuous link to Gwen.

Lottie though has other ideas, she has to live in the cottage for a year and as she has no other commitments or roots put down and no other family why should she not take up residence? The cottage holds a very dear par of her heart and perhaps here she can find what it is she wants out of life.

The cottage has some secrets and local builder Matt befriends Lottie and helps her with some of the more challenging tasks, trouble is local neighbour Will seems to think it is only a new shower and safer fuse box will keep the cottage going for many years to come.

When Lottie agrees to renovate a caravan for The Cherry Tree Cafe, but to keep it secret until she knows that it will work, it sparks some intrigue from the other villagers. What is Lottie going to do? Of course without knowing the truth people speculate and make their own minds up. Lottie is lost on who she can trust now and it seems that the only way to know for sure is to tell the truth. But there are some other locals who might need to start telling the truth too. What will the truth lead to?

If you have read other Heidi Swain novels you will recognise some of the characters. But not knowing who they are is fine, this can be read as a standalone novel and out of publication order as I have done.

I wanted to keep reading about Lottie, her cottage, her plans and the way the community embraced her, well nearly all of the community. Her cottage sounded just the sort of place to visit, for a cup of tea, a large piece of cake and an afternoon in a lovely squishy chair by the fire reading a book – in fact a book just like the one I have described.

An excellent book to escape right into, you will not be disappointed.

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

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage is out now. 

 

Books · Jottings · Witterings

April Roundup

What a month! A holiday from work, various hospital appointments, plenty of knitting, a Royal Baby, plenty of cake, couple of days at Ragdale Hall and of course plenty of reading!

Where do I start really in looking back at what I have read?

Well I am really trying to make a dent in all the books I have on my netgalley list – I get a bit clicky happy when I see a lovely bright cover and something that is going to give me the feel good factor – which I need in buckets.

Which is why I went and caught up with Annie Darling – True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop and then discover there is another one out as I had got behind with the series! I think I liked this book more than the first.

Heidi Swain – Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage was another catch up and Heidi is fast becoming a favourite author who you know as soon as you pick up a book you are going to get a great story! I still have to catch up with The Cherry Tree Cafe and of course I have her new novel waiting and tempting me on my kindle! Damn that netgalley!

Then of course I hear that Fern Britton had a new novel out earlier in the year and I realised I had not read Fern Britton – The Postcard which I had hanging around on my kindle. Why had I not read this earlier – who knows and there is part of me which thinks I should stop putting off reading books by my favourite authors – I treat them with such reverence!

Of course I need to make a dent in the books on the shelves as well and so picked up Kathleen Tessaro – The Perfume Collector which took me on a lovely journey from New York and Paris and the mystery of the art of scent.

Alan Bradley – The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches was the only male author who I read this month – it has been a very female dominated one. But I got back to the delightful Flavia and enjoyed her latest escapade! Flavia is one to watch for the future.

We all probably said the same about Hillary Rodham Clinton – What Happened. I really spent about three months reading this book, as I dipped in and out of it as whilst it wasn’t heavy going it was a book to concentrate on, not for light reading before bedtime! Thank you to everyone who commented on my review/post I was not sure what sort of reaction I was going to get. It is certainly a step away from my normal reading choice.

The joy of blogging means that you do get to find out about other authors and of course that is what led me to pick up Elizabeth Taylor – The Wedding Group. I found it a lonely read in both plot and character and did not enjoy it as much as Mrs Palfrey.

In the centenary year of (some) women getting the vote I was thrilled to get an advance review of Lissa Evans – Old Baggage. I am rather a late comer to Lissa Evans but this book is excellent and focuses on what happened once they got the vote – where did all those women go and what did they do?

Some women still want to live no matter how old they are or what their family thinks. You should certainly read Judy Leigh – A Grand Old Time if you think that age has become a barrier to enjoying wine, men, food and campervans.

Enjoying food is certainly a hobby of mine and I like baking but all of a sudden I want to make chutney and jams thanks to reading Veronica Henry – A Family Recipe her latest novel. I need to dig out my mum’s old recipe books now!

I whizzed through Holly Martin – The Holiday Cottage by the Sea simply because she is another author I really enjoy and she seems to capture romance and humour with fascinating jobs and lives and add a big bit of raciness in it that makes me keep reading and reading. I realise I have the White Cliff Bay series to catch up on, not that I am short of books to read.

As the month came to an end I started a new book – I love that feeling of choosing something with inly a rough idea of what you are going to get between the covers and on the pages and whether it is going to draw you in. And of course it means more books ticked off the netgalley list and moved from the burgeoning bookshelves!

Happy reading in May.

 

Books

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop – Annie Darling

Verity Love works at The Lonely Hearts Bookshop which was introduced to us in Annie Darling’s first novel in this series. It has taken me awhile to get to the second one and the third is already knocking at my door waiting to be read!

Verity works very much behind the scenes in the bookshop as the manager, reluctantly being in ‘the front’ when she has to. She keeps herself to herself and sticks to what she knows best – Jane Austen and finding space, peace and calm.

Everyone Verity knows has other ideas about what Verity should be doing so to take some of the pressure off she invents a fictional boyfriend Peter, that keeps her from attending any events as fictional boyfriend is often away or they are out together. Verity can reread her Austen novels in peace and remain resolutely single.

Trouble is fate is against her and when by chance she encounters Johnny which results in some confusion it seems that Johnny is also after a fictional girlfriend to take the pressure off him.

Verity and Johnny seem to be able to be each others excuses and plus ones. What a fun summer it is going to be.

Trouble is though, everyone else they meet start making their own conclusions up. The only people who know the truth are Verity’s sisters who were adorably funny.

Whilst this is a light-hearted read I was surprised at the reason behind Johnny’s need for a fabricated girlfriend in his life. This brought a different edge, not what I was expecting and introduced us to some rather unpleasant conceited characters.

Of course like any good Austen novel, there is a few misunderstandings along the way but set against a wonderful bookshop and the joy of Verity’s family this is a really good read.

Can be read happily read as a stand alone novel, the characters and focus of them change from book to book but it is lovely to know that Posy (from the first novel) venture into running a romantic fiction bookshop is still working.

A perfect book for romance fans.

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

True Love at The Lonely Hearts Bookshop is out now.