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. 

 

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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

Lucy’s Little Village Book Club – Emma Davies

Any book that seems to be about books, book clubs, libraries or the way that others are brought together by books always seems to be a good choice to read. If like me you enjoy all these things then this is a book for you.

Lucy, temporary manager of the local library but secretly an aspiring writer thrives on the new book club that she started and the people she has grown fond of as they all arrive for different reasons at her group.

Callum, is escaping from home where he is bullied and cajoled by older brothers and lazy parents. He wants the simple things in life.

Single mum Hattie, needs some adult conversation and has her own demons she needs to work out before becoming her sister’s bridesmaid.

Widowed Oscar, is lonely and misses his wife terribly but also knows that a secret they both kept for their entire married life is about to be the cause of some heartache.

Lia is caring for her mother who has dementia and is slowly retreating into her past. A past where she danced and it seems that Lia has a passion for dancing as well.

As the book progress so do the relationships and friendships between the characters, some interesting secondary characters are introduced to add more depth to the book. There is a lot that goes on, new skills are learnt, past loves are laid to rest, newer loves are found and at the heart of it there is the strength of family and friendship in all their forms.

This is the first Emma Davies novel I have come across and I enjoyed it. I am interested to read her other novels and see is they evoke the same strength of community and friendship in a world which at the moment seems to be lacking in it.

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

Lucy’s Little Village Book Club is out now. 

Books

Tremarnock Summer – Emma Burstall

I noticed that another book from Emma Burstall about Tremarnock was out soon and it prompted me to get ahead of the game or catch up – whichever way you want to look at it by reading the third novel in this superb series.

Having not visited since last year, I soon caught up with all the regular characters, Liz and her daughter Rosie. Rosie is growing up and realising that perhaps she will always be different from others. She seeks an unlikely friendship with Rafael who arrives in the village and seems to be the cause of a lot of problems.

But could he simply just be an outsider being blamed for all the strange goings on? Quite possibly.

Two new outsiders to the village come in Bramble and Katie. Bramble unexpectedly inherits Polgarry Manor from her grandfather. A man she was told was miserable, unpleasant and treated his family poorly. Not it seems if Bramble inherits this old, tumbling down manor house and the resident, housekeeper, Maria who has a touch of the Mrs Danvers about her. It seems Bramble has a lot to learn about the house, the village, its residents and her grandfather.

She sets about to see if perhaps she wants to stay this far away from London and make something of her life. But it is not going to be easy and alienating some of the locals is perhaps not the way to go about it.

Of course the book is touched with humour and romance. However there was some sadness and it showed me how invested in the characters, the book and the author I have become since reading the first in the series: Tremarnock

You do not have to have read the previous two novels in this series to enjoy this book, however why deny yourself two very good reads before you get to this one!

I was interested to see the outcome for Bramble, it was not what I thought, I had her going down a completely different path! I was a little bit frustrated that perhaps some people did not get their comeuppance and am still worrying about some who are still in need of their happy ending. Of course that could all be in book four and so I am ready to read it..though I have a few months to wait.

The first 3 books in the Tremarnock Series are out now. 

 

Books

Spring on the Little Cornish Isles: The Flower Farm – Phillipa Ashley

I first went to those little Cornish Isle and met Maisie and all at The Driftwood Inn in the first in this series of books. Maisie’s friend Jess worked on the flower farm with her brother Will and this book is all about them. You do get to catch up with Maisie, so it was good to know she was doing okay, but this is the story of Jess and Will.

Jess and Will wanted to escape the islands, they had plans but when their father left and left their mother with them, twins and a flower farm, a busy flower farm they had to put all their dreams on hold.

But it looks like some dreams are coming true, especially for Jess. Things are going well with her boyfriend Adam and it is reassuring to know that love can be found on these small islands.

However Adam receives some news. News that he does not tell anyone about and soon Jess is wondering if she knew the man she had started to fall in love with.

Will on the other hand, doesn’t believe in such love nonsense, that is until he meets his match when Gaby a temporary worker comes to the flower farm.

Gaby is fulfilling a dream and hiding all at the same time and whilst to some she seems stuck, being at the flower farm is just the stepping stone to bigger things – trouble is a relationship with Will might not be big enough.

This book allowed me to escape to another place and the idea of a flower farm, was created as an idyll, an idyll that was a lot of hard work and long days to enable flowers to reach the mainland. Somehow it was this which kept Jess and Will strong and only allowed in those who could cope with it all.

I enjoy Phillipa Ashley’s novels, she writes with such warmth, that it feels that I am transported to wherever she wants to take me and I become part of the story which is why I can read her books so quickly. The only downside being I then have to wait ages for the next one! I either need to read slower or Phillipa needs to write quicker!

For anyone that enjoys Holly Hepburn or Cathy Bramley then you will enjoy this series of books as well as The Cornish Cafe Trilogy.

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

Spring on the Little Cornish Isles is out now.

Books

Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery – Cathy Bramley

Hetty has reached a point in her life when she thinks she might want more.

She still wants what she has, Dan her hardworking farmer husband, Poppy her bright and energetic daughter, her best friend Anna there to listen to all of her woes as well as all the people she bakes pies for. But Hetty feels that she has not made an impact on the world – just on her little inner circle and doubt has set in as to whether she has actually achieved anything as Hetty Greengrass and not as a mother, wife or friend.

Hetty has done nothing other than work at the sheep farm, apart from a short sojourn of working in a Cornish pasty shop when her life suddenly changed for a while, meant she learnt the art of pastry but brought back to Cumbria to the man she loves, she simply continued that by baking the best pies – or so everyone says,

When she gets the chance to enter one of these pies into a local competition it throws Hetty into the spotlight and all of a sudden those around her are left in the background. Poppy is thrilled for her mother, but Dan does not understand why Hetty cannot be fulfilled with what she has.

Throwing caution to the wind, Hetty goes forth with her pies and faces from the past suddenly appear and questions that need answering. However tragedy strikes at home and everything pie related is but on hold as the tragedy starts a chain of events which changes lives.

I could see it coming and this is no reflection on Cathy Bramley’s writing or plotting. The book is well written and you could see that the author has reflected on all the characters and the effect the tragedy would have on them. This was not simply about one person’s issues and the rest of the characters faded into the background you got the full effect and you almost had to decide what you would perhaps do in that situation?

This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions as I almost wanted to scream at Dan for his chauvinistic pig headedness and but then felt for him so much later on in the book. Poppy has so much determination it was great to see a young girl portrayed as such and not one which was simply a whiny hormonal mess – although that might be to come. I could mention more but  then that would spoil the book for you – go read it.

A book that you can curl up with and lose yourself into a throughly good read – like a pie baked to perfection!

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

Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery is out on 22 March

 

Books

The House of Hopes and Dreams – Trisha Ashley

Welcome to the latest novel from Trisha Ashley, being luckily enough to receive it for review, I got stuck straight in. I didn’t even look at the blurb on the back to see what I was going to be reading about as I knew it didn’t matter as I would instantly be involved in the story.

And so I was.

Carey is recovering from a serious cycle accident, he has lost his job, his girlfriend and is very much down on his luck and feeling sorry for himself. When he unexpectedly is left a house , in fact his ancestral house, Mossby he decides that perhaps this is the change he needs.

Angel is an artist, a stained glass artist and has been happy in her workshop creating pieces of work alongside her partner Julian. When tragedy strikes for a second time, Angel is left without a home, money or even a workshop to earn money in she is cast adrift.

Carey knows Angel is the woman he needs to help with the rather unique pieces of stained glass windows in the house which also have a story to tell, Carey finds her a roof to seek sanctuary under both to live and to work.

Perhaps being involved in restoring and creating a home, both Carey and Angel will start to restore and create something better in their lives.

This story has it all, different plot line, characters to equally love and despise. Within the first few moments of meeting Nat, Julian’s son and his girlfriend I had the measure of them and seethed quietly about their actions as I watched Angel struggle to come to terms with so much in a short space of time.

Add into the mix, Clem the Mossby gardener and Ella who has an obsession with only cleaning the wood panelling in one part of the house. Molly and her modern meals on wheels, as well as Nick the tv producer wanting to capture it all on film for posterity (and money). This book has a lot going on and I learnt about the stained glass process in a lot of interesting detail which did not come across as a dry textbook information; rather from someone who had hands on experience or at least thoroughly researched.

This book has everything you might want in a book, romance, death, big houses, dogs, cake, quirky characters, history and laughs. Not sure you could ask for more really?

A favourite of mine for 2018 and it’s only February, I could in fact go back to the beginning and read the whole thing again!

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

The House of Hopes and Dreams is out on 8 March 2018.