Finding Happiness at Heritage View – Helen Rolfe

I must admit to being more than a little excited to have been given the opportunity to read and review the latest book by Helen Rolfe – Finding Happiness at Heritage View. I have read many books by this author and I have enjoyed them immensely, so I am trusting that this offering will not disappoint in any way. I am also looking forward to bumping into some ’old’ characters, as well as meetingsome new favourites.

I have often said that I can tell whether or not I will enjoy a book, by it’s cover, going against the old adage to not judge a book by its cover. indeed I found myself drawn to the happy picture painted on this front cover. What I am confident of, is the fact that this latest Heritage Cove book will be equally great as a one-off, standalone read, or as part of the Heritage Cove series. What’s not to love.

I was delighted to be reacquainted with Lucy the blacksmith, and I immediately warmed to her friend Hazel, who ran the village stables with her Brother, although there did seem to be an air of mystery about her; some kind of equine accident in the fairly near past.

The book starts with Lucy and Hazel attending a life drawing class, with the opportunity to draw a rather delectable male model. We swiftly moved to Awkward Moment 101 the next day, when The Model turns up at the stables the next day to enquire about livery for his horse. If that weren’t excruciating enough, it transpires that The Model is Gus, the new village vet! Gus also seems to come well equipped with his own mysterious ’issues’, including a ten year old Daughter, Abigail, who has been in an accident and has a badly scarred face. I did feel for Abigail and her suffering – at such an impressionable age, too. Other children can be very cruel too, which must always be at the forefront of Gus’s mind.

I found a lot of hidden meaning in the book – when considered properly, the whole story is a lot more deep and meaningful than it appears on the surface, with some very intelligent writing.

Peter is a lovely boy – he personifies Hazel’s issues, having been bitten by a horse when younger, yet being willing to take lessons and learn to ride properly. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’. Parenting is a prevalent issue throughout the book, with Levi’s Father at one extreme, and others such as Gus, Daniel and Hazel’s parents at the completely opposite (more attractive) end of the parenting spectrum. We are however warned not to write people off, with the euphemism of Hazel putting a bad apple on the compost heap, yet being warned not to immediately write off all other apples. This trait – I guess it could be badged as the art of forgiveness, is reflected in Gus and Abigail’s treatment of Julie, and their ability to forgive her – and indeed Sarah being able to forgive herself.

There are lots of questions that need answering – that you will need to read the book for yourself, in order to resolve.

  • Why is Hazel wary of teaching Abigail?
  • What is the mystery in Gus’s life?
  • What had happened to Abigail – why is she scarred?

What I found lacking, was any information on Arnold’s life, and I thought that a deeper look into his life would make for a great next chapter in this rather marvellous series of books.

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