Books

Four Weddings and a Festival – Annie Robertson

If you immediately misread this title as Four Weddings and a Funeral then you are going to enjoy the book immensely. In fact if you are a Richard Curtis fan and have enjoyed Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones then this is definitely the book for you. It is littered with references which whilst I got some only a true fan would have got them all.

Friends; Bea, Kat, Lizzie and Hannah joked for many years about all getting married in the same summer and when one engagement leads to another, it looks like this might well be the case.

However, Bea starts to have doubts. She turns down her engagement because she does not think that Simon is the man for her. She thinks she might have found that makes her go weak at the knees when he takes her photo at the first wedding of the season, but it seems he has a promise to fulfil.

Lizzie the first to get married, in the fields with a very countryside themed wedding is marrying the man she is clearly in love with, doting and besotted with. Except that he is about to go back on tour and that will mean leaving her behind.

Hannah is beyond excited about being a wife but has failed to point out to her grandparents who are paying for the wedding, that Remy her partner is in fact female. They might notice at some point all her friends keep telling her.

Kat is practical and certainly doesn’t want any of the fuss and trimmings of other weddings. But does that mean she is not committed? And is Henry feeling the same?

But when events at a festival take life on a different turn and a wedding you never saw coming happens then will these four women find their happy ever after just like in the Richard Curtis film.

This is a lighthearted book very much in line with the films that it liberally refers to throughout, great as a beach read but not if you want something with a bit more depth which I generally do.

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

Four Weddings and a Festival is out now. 

 

 

 

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

A Postcard from Italy – Alex Brown

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.

To do this though, Grace is going to have to step right out of her comfort zone and embark on a journey leaving behind all that she knows and is familiar.

One person not happy about this is, Grace’s mother Cora who has come to rely on her daughter to do everything for her as she is now unable to do anything for herself and is housebound. Encouraged by her work colleagues and friends, Grace makes the decision to go to Italy on this journey and leave her mother behind with some interesting consequences.

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.

This is a different novel from Alex Brown, if you have read any previously. There is a dual time aspect to it and whilst it is not defined through separate chapters like some books using the same narrative but from the items that are found, jewellery, paintings of the Italian powder pink villa and the letters and diaries that were kept. It is through these that you get a sense of a story, a sense of a person and whilst for some it may not have worked, it has here for this author.

If anything this book combined my love of fiction and history nicely into one and all of the characters brought something to the book whether they were from the past or the present. I was that irritated with Grace’s mother, Cora from the outset, I would have quite happily put a pillow over her head if it meant Grace could escape. I was in team Grace all the way even when she was in Italy, kindly finding out about someone else’s life and without realising it making a new life of her own.

This is a great holiday read and if you are new to the author this would be a great place to start. Avid fans will simply just lap it up and hope for more soon.

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

A Postcard from Italy is out now.

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

Expectation – Anna Hope

In what I feel is a enormous change of direction from this author, my expectation was that this book was not going to work. Her previous two novels very much set in the historical fiction genre – this one, modern fiction. Was it going to work?

My fear was it was not –  they were unfounded and I found this a very interesting and engaging novel and at times quite uncomfortable reading.

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are friends, we see the story weave between present day and their lives now and the past where you begin to understand the past behind the present.

Brought together through different means but living a world where you have little or no responsibility, to be able to fight a cause with passion and to live the world you want to live.

Then life changes, the friendships between them change as they all deal with what is in front of them.

Hannah – married, desperate for a baby and despondent by the fact that nothing has worked. The strain is starting to show in her marriage, especially when her friend Cate has a baby.

Cate is struggling with being a mother, stuck in Kent away from her friends and dealing with a child that she thinks she can never protect enough.

Lissa, a failed actress still trying to make it in a world where she still seeks approval from her mother who clearly made the wrong sort of impact on Lissa as a child. Still single, she envies those in stable relationships.

None of these women’s expectations for being an adult resemble everything they talked and dreamed about.

Can their friendship survive such changes both small and large and can your expectations ever really be met.

I was captivated by this book as I could not see where it was going and what it was trying to do or achieve but I felt this was the intent of the author. No one can see where we are all going or where we might end up as expectations change as the world and people change around us.

A novel to read that brings great discussion about the friendships and dynamics of such in your own lives. When you have finished the book, give yourself time to digest and reflect you may well start to look at things differently and expect something else.

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

Expectation is published on 11 July 2019.

If you are intrigued by Anna Hope’s previous novels then do check them out.

Wake 

Wake is a word that conjures up different meanings and images.

The wake held after the funeral of a loved one.

Wake when you emerge from sleep

In the wake of what has happened.

In fact in Anna Hope’s debut novel, all three of these meanings have been woven into a moving  story which will stay with you long after you have finished it. In fact the tomb of the unknown soldier and the cenotaph are there as permanent reminders.

The Ballroom

John comes from Ireland. He had a past which he has lost and he has ended up far from home.

Ella had thrown something through a window. Her actions mean she has ended up away from home.

Charles wanted to prove himself, wants to make an improvement in people’s lives through music.

All three are captured in the heat wave of 1911.

They are in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.

Their paths cross in different ways.

John is a threat to Charles.

Charles thinks that Ella can eventually leave

John and Ella normally segregated are brought together in the Ballroom.

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.