Oh what a dream. I have always had a penchant for the unusual – coveting houses with turrets and unusual shaped windows, strange looking attic windows, and on a more feral level, the ugliest, mankiest looking pet hamster or rabbit so I understood on so many levels, the appeal of owning and living in a lighthouse. Oh to have the inconvenience of having to order curved kitchen units, or a non-straight bed? Oh how I understood where Meredith was coming from!
I loved that despite the frosty nature of her Mother, Meredith had been brought up by a wonderful grandmother, to whom she had been very close; it ultimately seemed so appropriate that an inheritance from her beloved grandmother had provided Meredith with the means to buy such a dream of a property, in the lighthouse. I had to laugh when ‘the Mother’ told Meredith how irrational she had been in moving to the lighthouse, whilst inviting herself to stay, in the next breath! I could certainly empathise with being in your 50s and treated like a child at times! I do enjoy a good old belly laugh though, and ‘knob’-gate, certainly fitted the bill!
It was a mystery to me at first (and to Meredith, I suspect) as to why some of the villagers were so foul towards her – what a horrendous, inhospitable way to treat fellow human beings! Just who had Meredith beaten to buying the lighthouse, to cause so much upset? Were the villagers closed to outsiders anyway, regardless of who had bought the lighthouse?
The friends Meredith did make, more than made up for the haters. James and Lucy, Gemma, Vi and Clem, were all worth their weights in gold, even if the friendships with Clem and Vi were slow starters!
Needless to say, I enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was simply a delight. I loved the main characters, especially Meredith and Clem of course, although I wasn’t so keen on the Meredith haters at first! I honestly felt as though I was on holiday at the Cornish seaside, and lapped up the descriptions of the food and the scenery, and I know that I would love to read more about Meredith’s story.
Living in a bustling farmhouse with her mum, aunt and uncles, cousin and too many dogs to count, surrounded by the breath-taking Cotswolds countryside, she knows she is privileged and protected.
But all families have secrets, and the Travers family are no exception. Their farmhouse sits in the grounds of the Juniper Meadows estate, passed down through the generations and now being made to pay its own way with a myriad of businesses and projects. When a construction crew uncover what appear to be historical ruins, the history of the Travers family is put under ever closer scrutiny as a dig gets underway.
Hope may have found a blossoming romance with local archaeologist Cameron Ferguson who is running the dig, but when things start to go wrong around the estate and family secrets begin to be revealed, Hope wonders if she’s made a big mistake in digging up the past.
I have previously ALWAYS enjoyed Sarah Bennett’s books and so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review this new book; it really piqued my interest, wondering whether it was a one-off book, or the start of a new series. I genuinely love Sarah Bennett’s use of language and vocabulary – it always feels as though I have learned something, when I actually have to look a word up – for example ‘hellion’pups and ‘ear worms’; her storylines and characters are always the most perfect amalgam. In my mind, reading one of Sarah’s new books should be approached in the same manner as eating your favourite chocolate bar. It should be savoured and devoured slowly, in order to make it last as long as possible, allowing you to fully appreciate all it has to offer, as opposed to greedily consuming it all in one go – and then it’s gone in the blink of an eye and you will feel sad, despite the initial sugar rush, that it has all gone so quickly!
I was immediately struck by the sense of family in the Travers household and loved the idea of different generations of the same family living and working together, looking out for one another. Hope’s relationship with her Uncles and Cousin seemed exceptionally close. I had immense respect of their love of animals and the way they treated their ‘pack’ and I was somewhat in awe of the way that whilst the members of the family had undoubtedly been born into privilege, as adults they had all become part of running the strands of business of the estate, in their own way. The whole family were wonderful, but Rowena really shone out for me; the way she behaved with lacking in confidence Scott was totally heartwarming. As for the way the family helped Amelia – I struggle to find the right words…..The start of dig barbecue seemed a fantastic summer affair and it’s description was such that if I closed my eyes I could almost imagine I were there – and on a cold March evening, I find myself hard pushed to imagine somewhere I’d rather be! I like humour in my books and I must confess to laughing out loud at the thought of Rowena snorting, and its ‘indelicate’ adjective – the perfect description! I also had a major league giggle at the provenance of Barnie’s given forename!
I warmed to Hope fairly instantly, such was her endearing character, and I was equally charmed by Cam’s social awkwardness, especially around the beautiful Hope.
I so wanted the hints of romance between Hope and Cam, to blossom into something serious; whilst from different backgrounds, they seemed the perfect fit for each other, manifested by the way Hope’s hand was the perfect fit for that of Cam.
With a family as historic as Hope’s there was bound to be plenty of family history, but the truth about the more recent history of the family eluded Hope, in particular the truth about her Father, which her Mother was not at all keen to impart. I couldn’t help but wonder why? What could be so bad that the facts needed to be kept from Hope?
Cam is a kind soul, an example being how he treated Scott, a student of his who had previously cheated. Cam and Barnie seemed to have a really solid friendship, that had started when they were students, and they seemed to work so well together, complementing each others skills. Their relationship did seemed to perfectly held together with just the right amount of banter, having had its foundations built upon from when they first met. They came from different backgrounds, but learned that they both had attributes to bring to the table that was their friendship; and whilst not every attribute had a monetary value, every building block had been a priceless contribution to their solidarity. I enjoyed Cam’s relationship with the lovely Cassie and I admired the fact that Sarah Bennett didn’t adhere to the most obvious storyline with her.
This story evoked a whole range of emotions in me, and it felt as though even the darker moments were just described with such empathy. At times I felt pretty emotional, and had to remind myself that this was ‘just’ a story; it was more than that – a lesson to us all that you don’t need to be cut from the same cloth, in order to be the perfect match in life.
I mentioned savouring this book slowly – and I really didn’t want it to finish. Two gorgeous professional people at the stage in their lives when they know what they want, in an unsurpassable location; two people that almost seem to belong together – what could possibly go wrong?!
Please join me and read this wonderful new book for yourself; and the only thing I am giving away, is that this is the start of a new series, and I can’t wait for the next instalment!
A classically trained pianist, Steph works as a recording engineer for a small studio when she’s offered the job of a lifetime – travel to the Italian Riviera to help world-famous band, Royalty, record their reunion album after a decades-long hiatus.
Steph could definitely do with the distraction. Her boyfriend – who also happens to be her boss – is increasingly unreliable and erratic, and she’s awaiting news from her doctor after a recent biopsy. So an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy is the perfect escape.
What she doesn’t expect is an instant connection with Rob, the son of Royalty’s lead singer. With her career – and her heart – at a crossroads, what path will Steph follow?
I have enjoyed so many of TA Williams books before; I love his complex yet complete characters, and his storylines and their settings are second to none. As for the gorgeous black labradors in every book – I confess to being hooked! I was therefore delighted to be given the opportunity to read and review TA Williams latest book.
Steph was a believable, likeable character from the start; a decent, hardworking woman, put in an increasingly impossible situation by her partner – something I am sure many can empathise with. Adding into this, the pressure of waiting for biopsy results – Quite frankly Steph was a bit of a Super Woman in my opinion, for merely holding things together. The Author illustrated incredibly powerful characters and I was confident that those in a similar situation would empathise with her and find solace in her behaviours. I must admit to liking encountering good strong women in my reading!
Ethan, Steph’s partner was not so likeable. I hated the way he often behaved as if Steph wasn’t even there! Waldorf was of course a total love, and his owner Rob seemed pretty special too. I loved the way Steph was so professional, and adored the way she brought so much to Royalty, with her music. She deserved every professional laudit she received.
Steph ends up in a difficult situation, what life to choose, having become closer to Royalty’s lead guitarist’s Son, Rob; how can she possibly choose between the commitments she has made and the commitment she would like to make?
This was a real feel good read, and I do hope that you will read it for yourself, if only to enjoy the scenery and the food – oh the food – mental note to self to stop drooling on my Kindle while reading! This book has everything – a fantastic storyline, wonderful characters and strong, professional women. What’s not to love!
Pia Temple has always had a soft spot for Jackson Moody following a passionate teenage love affair that burnt out over one long summer, more than ten years ago. First loves can be hard to forget, and the devastatingly gorgeous Jackson, is harder to forget than most.
After putting aside her ambitions while she cared for her parents, it is finally time for Pia to thinkabout herself. So, whenshe’s offered the perfect job running the social calendar at Primrose Hall with a dreamy flat included, how can she refuse? There’s only one problem… The new owner of the refurbished seventeenth-century manor house set in the idyllicy Primrose Woods, is none other than Jackson, the man she’s thought about every day for years.
In a whirl of weddings and craft fairs, literary festivals and tea parties, Pia blossoms in her new role. But with the delectable Jackson a daily distraction, maybe this isn’t the dream job after all – especially when Jackson’s unfeasibly beautiful ex-girlfriend Tara, comes back to visit the hall.
I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to enjoy Jill Steeples latest book, having so enjoyed her past novels. Indeed The Author seemed to have struck the perfect balance between writing a new, self contained book, and enticing readers of her previous book with some tempting references to some erstwhile characters like Sam and Abbey and places like the Treetops Cafe. For me it felt a little like catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen for quite some time; whilst feeling that I needed to reacquaint myself with them, I felt unequivocally comfortable in their presence.
I both liked and felt for Pia from the very start; she was in a most unenviable position, having devoted the last ten years since leaving full time education to caring for her parents – having to clear and sell their house and then find a new job (with no real work experience). It was testament to Pia’s kind soul, that she seemed more bothered about how this move could affect her friend Wendy, than she was about her own prospects, The other part of Pia’s life that been neglected over the last ten years, is her love life – (lack of).
Pia’s memories of Jackson were totally idyllic – a real boost to my ‘mush factor’, although it’s a bit of a mystery as to why the old friends haven’t seen each other for so long. Pia did seem to feel that she had been somewhat abandoned by Jackson though. Pia’s Brother knew that Jackson was back, having bumped into him recently, with his Girlfriend in tow. Pia seemed deflated at the talk of a Girlfriend, so I hoped (in my open romantic little mind) either that he was mistaken, or it wasn’t a long term/permanent arrangement.
Ronnie, Jackson’s Mother, was an eclectic character. She was introduced very cleverly – to the extent that I was completely floored when it became apparent that she was female and not a man. Daniel the fireman was initially a welcome addition; at the risk of sounding sexier, what’s not to love about a firefighter! But could he be right for Pia? It’s somewhat ironic, Pia’s potential love life could be likened to public transport – the likelihood of a bus turning up seems remote, when suddenly two appear, in hot pursuit. There was however something about Daniel that I didn’t like – although I’m not 100% sure what it was; perhaps his attitude regarding his ex wife? I also found him to be a bit needy – i think he would drive me batty fairly rapidly! I’m not convinced that Bertie was that enamoured with Daniel even – and I thought he loved everyone! I just hoped that Daniel didn’t turn out to be some kind of bunny boiler type person!
Regardless of outside interests, I really loved the way that the new people such as Pia and Mateo. settled into Primrose Hall; it was starting to seem like it’s very own village community, safe and secure within itself. Pia mentioned similar feelings; I too felt almost as though I was on holiday, as I inhaled the pages of this book, greedily absorbing its narrative, as though I didn’t know where my next page might come from! I have to say though, that my favourite page was where Jackson offered Ruby his barn for her wedding. It was as though the pages had come to life, popping off the pages; I felt so emotional, and any vaguely lingering doubts I might have had about Jackson, dissipated immediately. He was such a kind, engaging young man; a real gentleman.
The new job seemed absolutely made for Pia, and I was so pleased that it ticked so many of Pia’s boxes, even allowing her to take her neighbour’s dog Bertie (Whom she was looking after temporarily) to live with her up at the ‘Big House’. Does the awkward moment with Jackson up at the ‘The Hall’ change their relationship for ever? Is the change for better or for worse?! Taking off changes, the atmosphere at the Hall certainly goes up a gear, upon the arrival of Rex, Jackson’s Father. Ronnie is fuming and threatening to leave, and Jackson is most unhappy. What has Rex done in the past to upset them? It almost certainly involves alcohol to some extent, since Rex makes a point of mentioning his three years sobriety. I just hoped that Rex wouldn’t let Jackson down
There are so many questions as a reader, but I don’t want to spoil it for you but revealing too much before you read this great book for yourself.
Do you ever get over your first teenage love? Indeed, do Jackson’s memories of teenage life reflect those of Pia at all?
Who/where is the Mother of Daniel’s Daughter?
Why is Tara back at the Hall
Has Pia made a mistake, living in the same place as she will be working?
If Simon comes home, is Pia at risk of ‘losing’ Bertie?
Is there some kind of ‘Lady Chattersly‘ type thing going on between Ronnie and Mateo?
Is Jackson really a ‘commitment-phobe’ or is it just that the right woman has never come up before?