The Village of Happy Ever Afters – Alison Sherlock

I am struggling to put down on paper, how happy I am to be returning to the village of Cranbridge, to catch up with some former friends and hopefully meet some new, equally charismatic characters in this wonderful world, where covid doesn’t exist and we do not have to discuss wars of any kind.

When we first meet Molly, she is wearing an itchy bunny costume, for an Easter Egg hunt. Volunteering to do this sums up to an extent, the kindness of Molly and she immediately endeared herself to me, by the way that she checked that there were no small children around, before she removed her hot, prickly bunny head and threw it into the road. what a shame she didn’t think to look out for vehicles though!

Molly loves Cranbridge and it seems as though she wouldn’t ever want to live anywhere else – but I get the impression that she is missing something in her life – be it on a professional level or on a more personal front. Although she enjoys her job, she would rather be baking cakes, and her love life is lacking somewhat. She also feels that her friends have somewhat taken her over in The Game of Life; all either married or at least settled with a partner and all in seemingly dream jobs. It’s not without reason that Molly has started to feel the odd one in her group of friends.

Logan seems an interesting chap; a potential love interest for Molly? But what is it about his past that he doesn’t like others talking about? It all adds a bit of mystery to the book. It seems that Molly is the only person (apart from us readers), oblivious to Logan’s woes, but her new ’friend’ isn’t going to start filling her in on his misfortune. I felt sad that Logan prefers his own company to that of others and even sadder that he doesn’t really trust anybody. He knows he isn’t going to let himself down! Olivia adds another element of mystery to proceedings. Is Molly being too soft, giving her a chance? Is Molly too trusting, compared to Logan’s lack of trust? Is there a happy medium?

I liked the humour in the book – for example When Amber is teasing Molly about bridesmaids dresses. This book is very cleverly written – the way that Molly’s group of friends seem so down to earth. The writing almost makes them pop out of the book at you, and personally I started to feel part of it – as though I actually knew them, and was party to the group’s inner secrets. ’Dodgy Del’ always made me laugh too, although I think he was well intentioned – for the most part, at least!

A friendly face did appear, in Geoff, a former school teacher of Molly’s. I did find myself wondering if he could possibly hold the key to dragging Molly’s Mum out of the dark pit into which she had fallen? It certainly felt as though Stanley and Geoff might join forces to try and bring Rachel, Molly’s Mum out of herself a little.

I loved that Molly’s group of friends were so strongly behind her creating a tea garden for a month, in the hope of realising her ultimate dream of opening the eatery on a more permanent basis. The plans gradually start to come to life, but with far more of a community slant, which feels so much more appropriate for such a close-knit village.

If nothing else came out of this story than to encourage people to stand up for themselves and to believe in themselves, like Molly, then it is an assured success. Indeed it felt to me as though Molly saw a little of a reflection of herself in Olivia, which must surely count as a success in itself, as she encouraged the younger woman to be more confident.

The initial opening of the tea garden was less than satisfactory, but can Molly turn this situation around? Molly has such amazing friends and neighbours, that if anyone can help guide Molly to her happy ever -afters – on a professional level, as well as on a personal level, they can, although particular mention should be made of Logan (who of course has no romantic interest in Molly at all!) and Ben and Adam, Molly’s dear twin Brothers.

Eventually, as is par for the course, everything is actually on track to do well. What could possibly go wrong…..

You will of course need to read on for yourself to find out how these particular rabbits are pulled from the hat.

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