Where We Belong – Sarah Bennett

On paper, Hope Travers has an idyllic life.

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.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3jQEYqg

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!


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