The delightful, well written story of Ava, a young woman trying to keep her Mother’s beloved animal charity shop running, in sometimes less than optimum situations. Ava’s problems though, are the readers gain, in a touching book, full of fun, laughs and surprises, as well as tinges of sadness. As a reader I warmed to the author’s portrayal of Ava, to the extent that I felt fully invested in her outcome; I found myself really caring about how her story might end. This was the first book by Carol Thomas that I have read, but judging by how much I enjoyed the book, I can assure you that it will not be the last of her books that I choose to enjoy.
I adored the way Myrtle was described as being such a comfort to Ava. I thought that the author had captured that way that pets instinctively know when their human companions are upset or in pain and instinctive,y comfort them, perfectly; this part of the book will surely resonate with any animal lover or animal companion.
I thought that the scene where Ava realises that she wasn’t ever second best, to her Mother’s rescue animals, was very emotional and I felt myself welling up. The author described Ava’s realisation beautifully and with empathy and as a reader I couldn’t help but get caught up in a Ava’s emotions. I also considered the meeting up of Ava and Henry, when they hadn’t seen each other for years, to be almost sparking, such was the obvious emotional chemistry between them.
Owing to the illness of his Father, the estate owner who owns much of the local property, the future of Ava’s shop ends up being in the hands of her former love, Henry, who suddenly turns up out of the blue. The reader is left guessing as to whether or not he has some kind of ulterior motive, with his actions. I loved that Ava still had faith in the Henry she knew of old and was convinced that Henry wouldn’t do anything to deliberately hurt the villagers. Henry might have had initial thoughts about the village that wouldn’t have been welcomed by Ava and three villagers, but on reflection, Henry was determined not to let Ava down again (he let her down when they were caught together by his mother years ago, only for Henry to be shipped off to boarding school). He felt he had let Ava down by not keeping in contact with her. Henry is truly torn between doing something to improve the dire financial situation of the estate, and causing harm and distress to his estate’s tenants by putting their rents up, when they are mostly only just making ends meet. This dilemma is relayed articulately abc with passion. Personally I think that this only increases Henry’s likeability factor.
Henry had an aristocratic upbringing, growing up in a stately home, and I felt that the author had captured stereotypical aristocratic behaviour, when Henry ‘found the dog’s enthusiasm about his return more honest than that of his mother’. Being a Mother myself, I felt rather bereft at this comment; despite my sadness however, I thought that the sentiment was portrayed perfectly.
I enjoyed the author’s portrayal of Henry; he seemed like a really nice chap, the kind of person you might choose as a friend; I found myself desperate for Henry to finish the story as a good person, rather than as the kind of scoundrel that was hinted at from time to time! I find that my enjoyment of a book depends to a large extent on how I feel about the characters. In my opinion, there is a real skill in writing, in making your characters likeable and believable, to the extent that the reader really cares about their outcomes and wants to read the book right to the end. Carol Thomas really achieved that kind of empathy in this book.
To find out the outcomes of these lovely character and purchase this book for yourself, please use this link: http://getbook.at/SOSCAmazon