I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review Jessica Redland’s latest book, Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn. I must admit, it was a surprise that Fizz from the Hedgehog Hollow series (you simply must read the series, if you haven’t already) turned up – but it was a lovely surprise and I immediately felt as though I was among friends. Barney simply had to be a decent guy, if related to Fizz and I instantly warmed to Amber and her family too.
If I was thrilled at Fizz’s part in the book – well – words alone cannot really convey my excitement at Samantha and her hedgehog rescue centre being involved in this book!
Amber was just the perfect Sister to Sophie, and I so wanted get to be lucky in love – but was Dan really the man for her? In fact I loved Amber’s whole family – such a wonderful, tight unit, within which anyone would surely feel loved. But what on earth had happened to Sophie when she was younger? Barney was an equally loveable character, but I was left in no doubt as to who would be the best love match for him!
Jessica Redland got just the right balance between introducing us readers to a new series of books, and giving us a few snippets from a previous series, and I am sure that this series will prove just as popular as her last series. I am very much looking forward to reading about Amber’s TV series about wildlife rescue centres!
I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review this latest book by Daisy James and I quickly warmed to its characters, but oh how I felt for them after the fire, and poor Tilly had yet more trauma to endure – it wasn’t surprising that she jumped at the opportunity to go and help out at her Sister’s Tuscan Teashop – surely anything, to get away! As for her erstwhile ex Josh – let him rot in his own Instagram mire!
The gorgeous Matteo is surely enough to make anyone feel better – he certainly helped to lift my January blues! How could Tilly not succumb to his manly whiles, although she was going to certainly be kept busy, preparing for the cafe’s entry to the San Vincente’s food festival, going up against the obnoxious blaggard, Rocco.
How was Tilly going to cope, working in the tea and cake industry, when she had an extreme dislike for both, all the while dealing with the disaster that is Eduardo? I could only hope that Matteo would ease the pain somehow, in my perceived panacean role for him!
I loved Tilly – she was a solid, honest character with immense likability. I also loved the location for most of the book and found myself happily enveloped in the sights, sounds and smells of Tuscany. Like Tilly, I prefer coffee to tea, but at even found my mouth watering at the descriptions of some of the teas. Saliva are us!
But who is trying to undermine Tilly’s success in the teashop? Can she overcome the efforts of her nemesis?
You will have to read on for yourself to find out?
To say that I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to review Maddie Please’s latest book, would be a gross understatement, as I always so enjoy her books.
I immediately warmed to our Heroine, Elin, loving her take on life in airports to start with. ‘Go through those gates and anything could be possible’. What a wonderful outlook on life and living. Elin had quite rightly been rewarded with a hefty bequest from an elderly friend that she had cared for, with the condition that she must use some of the money for travel – what better way for Elin to live life a little, after her divorce. Incidentally, I was really taken by the title of the book, and it’s more literal meaning – about a group of older people getting together and travelling together (how much actual surfing takes place, is anyone’s guess), as opposed to the more modern assumption that we are talking about grey haired folk ‘surfing’ the internet. How utterly refreshing! Above all, as with the other Maddie Please books I have read, I was overwhelmed at the fact that our Heroine, Elin was not the stereotypical ‘twirty-something’ star.
Tom, Elin’s ex Husband was incredibly shallow and needy, downright needy and unpleasant despite having a new, younger Wife, and I thought that Elin deserved a medal for the patient way that she dealt with him despite him being the kind of man who acted as though he was the only person on earth who had ever had a newborn baby in the house! I mean really – babies cry, need need nappy changes and don’t seem to sleep an awful lot; get used to it! Elin’s Son, Dan may have inherited some of His Father’s neediness, with his washing?! However this book left me entertained from start to finish. I must confess to laughing out loud at the lasagne conversation! ‘Daily Mail’ sad faces also gave me a fit of the giggles; and as for the New Forest Hen party……..just a few of the countless LOL moments!
There were also some poignant moments, in the book that made me feels rather sad, such as the elapsed time since Elin had actually seen her Australian family, and the way that Tom had, over time, eroded at her self belief. The way that he had instilled such self-doubt in her was terrible – tantamount to domestic abuse really. I loved the way that Elin enjoyed her long flight, with nobody to answer to and I could truly empathise with her particular enjoyment of any kind of meal that she had no part in preparing, cooking or clearing up after! As for being without Tom, it really tickled me that Elin loved it when she tried surfing – her enjoyment exacerbated when she thought about how badly Tom would have reacted to her enjoying herself! I laughed, but deep down, what a potentially devastating reaction from Tom. Elin really was so much better off without Tom in her life – and the sooner he could stop trying to contact her so frequently, as though she owed him some kind of favour, the better; his behaviour since the divorce was, quite frankly, outrageous.
I found myself kind of overwhelmed at Elin’s joy at seizing the opportunities to try new things, such as changing her wardrobe and driving her Aunt and Uncle’s camper van. I just found myself wanting to share even a tiny bit of Elin’s elation, such was her obvious thrill. I did laugh though, once she was ensconced in the camper van, at Elin’s thoughts about a place called civilisation, where toilet cassettes neither exist nor need attention! Elin’s ‘quickest route possible’ camper van trip, swiftly became a more scenic tour – could she possibly be falling for Kitt’s charm? My only concern was that he seemed too good to be true; how many genuinely available men of his calibre were available at his age? Could Kit really be the antithesis of Elin’s ex, Tom?
Once in Australia, I was blown away by the way that Rowan’s partner Shane’s face lit up when Rowan came into the room. Surely we all deserve to have someone in our lives to react like that when they set eyes on us!? As for Kit – what a pleasant surprise – or was it? ‘Will the real Kit Pascoe please stand up’! I kept on having to remind myself that this was just a book, but regardless I spent an inordinate amount of time willing the charming Kit on the plane to be the ’real deal’. Kit’s true personality was one of my big questions from this book – was he a good guy, or a money grabbing miserable so and so! Oh I did so hope for the former!
This comment is totally out of context on every level, but I do feel compelled, reader, to let you know that thanks to this book and Mr Google, I now know what a ‘Brush Turkey’ looks like, and indeed that it is a genuine species!
Elin’s holiday wardrobe seemed to reflect how she felt about herself – full of dull boring clothes that fit, as opposed to her loving them. I liked the idea of her filling her life with vibrant, fun things to wear, with this seeping out into her life in general. It was as though her first night back in Australia barbecue gave her an insight into how much fun her life could be, after so many years of living in the shadow of a grey, boring, controlling man, without even realising it.
However Elin felt about Kit, he most certainly seemed to be everything that Tom was not, and on their travels together, Elin was seeing more and more of the charming Kit she had first met; indeed the more we learn about him and his frustratingly lazy Brother, Shane, the more I think we can start to understand why he is so prone to grumpiness, especially concerning business matters with Shane.
As Elin and Kit drive slowly back to real life, they need to consider what that ‘real life’ will look like? Whilst she might be ecstatic to be living in a different country to Ex Husband Tom, how does Elin feel about living on a different continent to her Son, even if initially his only worry about her going to be in Australia, seemed to be how to get his washing done.
This is a wonderful story about rediscovering one’s self worth, having had it rather neatly, unceremoniously trampled into the ground for the last 30 years or so, hopefully proving that it’s never too late.
But are the sunny skies of Australia the catalyst for this rediscovery?
Could Elin continue as her new self back in the UK?
Would some kind of distant relationship work with frequent flyer Kit?
Can Elin cope with living in a different continent to her gorgeous but older (and potentially more unwell due to the that age) relatives again, now that’s she has rediscovered them and spent time with them and their ‘Silver Surfer’ friends?
Is what Shane is saying about Kit still true?
Skye rocks! She was marvellous at dealing with Tom!
Is Kit who he really seems? His reasons for going on the trip might have been true at the time, but surely his feelings have changed now? I think that I know who I would trust most, out of Kit and Shane; Shane seems hellbent on causing trouble for others, especially his Brother, and I wasn’t convinced that he was faithful to anything or anyone other than the ocean’s surf.
Who is Sukie, and will she please withdraw her talons from Kit!?
Can Elin stand up to herself against newly single Tom?
You really must read this fantastic life affirming book for yourself to have some laughs and find out the answers to these questions and many more. You will not be disappointed – apart from when the book ends!