Thank you to Victoria Joss at Aria Fiction for a digital review copy of the latest book by Julie Houston. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. The book is published today and and can be ordered now at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B087JY3HCM/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_IuZEFb46HPJHF
As the Yorkshire village of Westenbury mourns the loss of one of their own, the women can’t help but contemplate who will fill the vacancy in one handsome widower’s life…
Grace Stevens has decided it’s time to move on without her husband. He’s off gallivanting around Cornwall in search of a new life, and good riddance. It’s time to go back to teaching, so Grace returns to Little Acorns and takes on an unruly class of pre-teens. As she deals with disasters in – and out of – the classroom including an accidental dalliance with her most troublesome pupil’s dad, helping track down a drug ring and keeping up with her closest girlfriends, Grace begins to wonder more and more about the sparkle in David’s eyes and the sparking chemistry between them.
Could Grace be the one to fill this village vacancy?
The first book I read by Julie Houston was A Village Affair earlier this year (primarily about Carrie Beresford), and more recently, Sing Me A Secret, (primarily about the Sutherland sisters). This book features these characters, plus many more from previous books about Westenbury.
It did take me some time to get to know all the characters, there seemed to be a larger number of main characters in this book compared to the previous couple I had read. I enjoyed finding out how everyone had got on after the last book, but life quickly changed for many of the residents again with a car accident, an illicit dalliance, marriage breakdowns, false accusations, toxic relationships and troubled teenagers.
There are many laugh out loud moments (especially with the children and the lovely lollipop lady), but also some darker moments, especially within the ‘county lines’ story and the toxic marriage.
I enjoyed my return visit to Westenbury, and I’m sure that many other readers of the Westenbury series will enjoy their return visit too.