A Winters Dream by Sophie Clare

Thank you to Myrto Kalavrezou at Hodder and Stoughton for inviting me to join the blog tour for the new book by Sophie Claire, being published today. This is the third book I’ve read by Sophie Claire. I enjoyed reading The Christmas Holiday last year, the book that introduced Evie, who employs Liberty, at the Button Hole in Willowbrook. More recently I read and enjoyed A Forget-Me-Not Summer, the book that introduced Luc and Natasha, who also feature in this story (review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/04/a-forget-me-not-summer-by-sophie-claire/)

Synopsis:

Liberty has never been a risk-taker. She loves the routine of her quiet life in the charming village of Willowbrook, with her Labrador, Charlie. But the arrival of a mysterious gift prompts Liberty to make some changes: starting with a daily challenge to say yes to everything for the month of December…

Fearless and independent, Alex could hardly be a less obvious fit for peaceful village life. But after an accident cuts short his promising motorcycling career, he finds himself in Willowbrook in search of new direction.

When the pair become unlikely housemates, sparks fly at Damselfly Cottage. Will living together prove impossible – especially when the first snow falls? Or, cut off from the outside world, can they help each other find what it takes to be brave this Christmas? 

My thoughts:

I was thrilled to be given an early opportunity to return to Willowbrook, having enjoyed meeting the residents last year in The Christmas Holiday. Liberty is a lovely young woman who loves living and working in Willowbrook but is missing her housemate and best friend, Carys, who is in hospital in a coma.

To help pay her bills, Liberty takes in a lodger, Alex, who is a friend of Luc (from A Forget-Me-Not Summer). Alex is trying to deal with being told that his racing career is over after an accident, and can’t believe he is stuck in the middle of nowhere with an grumpy young woman and a dog.

The book looks at how Liberty and Alex learn to communicate with each other, and start to learn about moving forwards from each other. Damselfly Cottage sounds beautiful as does the Button Hole shop – both are full of colour and cosiness.

I loved curling up to read this story, full of great characters, friendships, romance and a lovely Labrador called Charlie. I’ve already read a few festive books this year and this is one of my favourites.

Author Bio

Sophie Claire writes emotional stories set in England and in sunny Provence, where she spent her summers as a child. 
She has a French mother and a Scottish father, but was born in Africa and grew up in Manchester, England, where she still lives with her husband and two sons.
Previously, she worked in marketing and proofreading academic papers, but writing is what she always considered her ‘real job’ and now she’s delighted to spend her days dreaming up heartwarming contemporary romance stories set in beautiful places. 

The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain



I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by Heidi Swain on my book review blog today. Thank you to the publisher for a digital review copy, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. I’m not sure why it took me so long, but I only discovered Heidi Swain’s books earlier this year (when I read and enjoyed The Secret Seaside Escape – see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/04/10/the-secret-seaside-escape-by-heidi-swain/ ). Therefore I hadn’t read the first two books in the Nightingale Square Series when I read this book (but have since and shared my reviews over the past few days). However I was still able to read and enjoy this book, so please don’t be put off by the fact there is a series of stories set in the area. This book is being published in the UK on 1st October 2020.

Synopsis:

Freya Fuller is estranged from her parents and has been following her childhood dream of becoming a gardener ever since. When an opportunity to design a winter garden opens up at a Victorian property in Nightingale Square, Freya jumps at the chance to make a fresh start. But while the majority of the residents are welcoming, local artist Finn seems determined to shut her out, and when Freya’s family make a surprise appearance, it seems that her new life is about to come crashing down . . .

The Winter Garden  is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley and Sarah Morgan.

My thoughts:

Heidi Swain has created a great cast of characters, the majority of whom are lovely and then there is Jackson. Green fingered Freya leaves her home of three years behind, after Jackson inherits the property from his aunt Eloise, and she heads to Nightingale Square to help Luke Lonsdale establish The Winter Garden. She meets a fabulous community of people and the new local sculptor, Finn – who in my head, looked like Thor / Chris Hemsworth.

This book includes romance, friendship, new beginnings, festive fun and a gorgeous dog called Nell. We also have a trip back to Wynbridge (featured in the Secret Seaside Escape). Heidi Swain also mentions how gardening is good for our mental health (especially with all the anxiety about the global pandemic) and refers to books by Emma Mitchell (The Wild Remedy is a lovely book).

I needed an uplifting book to cheer me up and this was the perfect choice. A fabulous festive five star read for Christmas 2020 – a virtual hug in a book. So grab a copy of the book, a soft blanket and a mug of hot chocolate for a relaxing escape from the real world.



View all my reviews

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons

Today I’m pleased to be sharing my mini review for this gorgeous book by a new author to me, Annie Lyons. Thank you to Claire Fenby at One More Chapter for sending me a digital proof copy via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family perfect for fans of Gail Honeyman

My thoughts:

I have to be honest and say that I nearly didn’t read the book after reading the blurb as I lost my brother to depression 5 years ago and tend to avoid books where a character is considering suicide.

However I decided to give it a try a couple of weeks later, and I’m glad I did. This is the first book I’ve read by Annie Lyons and she has brought the characters to life beautifully. So much so, that I had tears in my eyes towards the end. The three main characters, Eudora (age 85), Stanley and Rose (age 10) are such a great combination and are all in need of some friendship in different ways.

If you enjoyed Saving Missy by Beth Morrey or Away With The Penguins by Hazel Prior, with a strong elderly female character, then I recommend this book.

Author Bio:

After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published five books including the best-selling, Not Quite Perfect. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children.

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul

I’m pleased to be sharing my review today for The Second Marriage by Gill Paul (published as Jackie and Maria in the USA). Thank you to Anne from Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour and thank you to Avon Books for a digital proof copy via NetGalley. My thoughts about the book are my own and not influenced by the gift. To catch up on the other reviews, please see the details for the other blog tour members below.

Synopsis:

JACKIE
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…

ARI
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…

MARIA
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.

Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?

My thoughts:

This is my first Gill Paul novel and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I was aware that Jackie Kennedy had been married to Aristotle Onassis after her first husband, Jack died, but I knew very little about the story before reading the book.

Gill Paul explains at the end of the book how she has mixed factual details (such as the details of the death of Jack Kennedy in Dallas), with fiction. This is primarily a piece of fiction based on real people. Many young people dream of being famous but this book shows why fame and money don’t guarantee happiness. Mixed amongst the glamour is anger, addiction and infidelity.

Without giving away any spoilers, I found myself feeling sorry for both Maria and Jackie. Both experienced tragedies and betrayals, and both loved Ari in very different ways. I feel that Gill Paul has been sympathetic to the plight of both her main female characters. My opinion of Ari worsened as the book progressed but as Gill Paul notes, the era this book was set in was was very different to the #MeToo era of 2020.

I loved the detailed descriptions from the story, including the places they visited, the food and drink they enjoyed, the outfits they wore. I’m happy to recommend this as an excellent and enjoyable piece of historical fiction – with a reminder that it is not a true story.

Author Bio:

Gill Paul’s historical novels have reached the top of the USA Today, Toronto Globe & Mail and kindle charts, and been translated into twenty languages. 

They include THE SECOND MARRIAGE (titled JACKIE AND MARIA in the US), two bestselling novels about the Romanovs – THE SECRET WIFE and THE LOST DAUGHTER – as well as WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, which was shortlisted for the 2013 RNA Epic Novel of the Year award, NO PLACE FOR A LADY, shortlisted for a Love Stories award, and ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND, about links you might not have suspected between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana.


Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A HISTORY OF MEDICINE IN 50 OBJECTS, and she speaks at libraries and literary festivals on subjects ranging from the Titanic to the Romanovs.
Gill lives in London, where she is working on her tenth novel, and she swims daily in an outdoor pond.

www.gillpaul.com

Twitter @GillPaulAUTHOR

Instagram @gill.paul1

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (17 Sept. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000836625X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008366254

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Second-Marriage-Gill-Paul/dp/000836625X

Stuck on You by Portia MacIntosh

I’m happy to be sharing my review for the latest book by Portia MacIntosh as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books. Regular readers of my blog may remember that I have previously shared reviews for The Plus One Pact (https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/05/30/bookreview-blogtour-the-plus-one-pact-by-portia-macintosh-boldwoodbooks/), My Great Ex-Scape (https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/01/18/my-great-ex-scape-by-portia-macintosh/), Honeymoon for One (https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2019/08/05/honeymoon-for-one-by-frankie-collins-publication-day-is-6-august-2019/) and Home Alone on Hope Island (https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2019/11/18/home-alone-on-hope-island-a-fun-festive-novella-by-portia-macintosh/)

Synopsis:

Could a post-it note really lead to love…?

Sadie doesn’t have time for finding love. She’s too busy as PA for famous artist Damian Banks. When she’s not arranging exhibitions, she’s organising his dry cleaning or dumping his never ending stream of girlfriends.

But when she strikes up an unusual friendship with her desk share buddy, she finds a confidante and a new potential love interest. Problem is, they’ve never actually met…

With Christmas just around the corner, can Sadie put herself first for a change and find what she’s been looking for all along?

The brand new romantic comedy from top 10 bestseller Portia MacIntosh. Perfect for fans of Sophie Ranald, Mhairi McFarlane and Zara Stoneley.

Purchase Link – buff.ly/3f9Yy8M

My thoughts:

After reading back to back crime thrillers and historical fiction books recently, I was thrilled to see the latest Portia MacIntosh book on my NetGalley shelf. I’m pleased to say, that after first discovering books by Portia last year, I haven’t been disappointed. Stuck on You is another book full of romance and humour, and another visit to Hope Island over Christmas.

A great cast of characters. Sadie is working for (or pandering to every need of) Damian, a world class photographer. We also meet Sadie’s family (who live on Hope Island), Damian’s family in Oxfordshire and travel to the wedding of the daughter of a suspected serial killer.

Although I had quickly worked out one of the secrets in the story, it didn’t distract from the enjoyment of the story – this is an uplifting read, not a who did it thriller.

A relaxing story with a festive feel, to be enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate whilst wearing a pair of Elf pyjamas.

Author Bio – 

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them andHoneymoon For One. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

Social Media Links – 

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/PortiaMacIntoshNewsletter

https://www.facebook.com/macintoshportia

http://instagram.com/portiamacintoshauthor

http://bookbub.com/authors/portia-macintosh

View all my reviews

The Wartime Nanny by Lizzie Page

Today I’m pleased to be sharing my review for the latest book by Lizzie Page (a new author to me). Thank you to Bookouture for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

The Nazis are everywhere now. We must leave Vienna. It might be that soon our letters won’t get out anymore. Can you help, dear sister? Please, ask for us. Send news, and quickly. Please.

London, 1938. Sixteen-year-old Natalie Leeman takes the heart-breaking decision to leave her family behind in Vienna and travel to England to join her cousin Leah in service. Natalie is placed with a wealthy suburban family, the Caplins, as a nanny to their energetic six-year-old.

At first, Natalie is delighted by the huge house and beautiful gardens, but things aren’t as perfect as they seem. While Natalie dotes on their child, she is increasingly wary of Mr Caplin, whose gruff manor and fascist politics scare her. And then there are those still waiting at home – Mama and her two sisters, as well as a blossoming romance with her English tutor that had only just begun.

But when Vienna falls under Nazi rule, Natalie begins to fear for her family, especially her vivacious, tomboy little sister Libby. Then rumours of a possible escape route from mainland Europe called the kindertransport begin to swirl – can Natalie help her family escape the Nazis before it’s too late?

A heartbreaking wartime novel – emotional and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of The Alice NetworkThe Tattooist of Auschwitz and Before We Were Yours.

My thoughts:

Today I’m sharing my review for this historical fiction novel by Lizzie Page, a new author to me. Thank you to Bookouture for a digital review copy via NetGalley and for inviting me to join the blog tour.

As regular readers of my blog know, I enjoy reading books set during the first half of last century, a period I studied at school. I enjoyed The Wartime Nanny, a story following the life of Natalie, a young Austrian girl of Jewish descent, who moved to England to be a nanny to Hugo.

The story is primarily about Natalie’s relationships, those with her Austrian family and friends, her new employers (the Caplin family), the other staff employed by the Caplin’s and her cousin Leah, who has already moved to England. Natalie has to battle homesickness, prejudice and the misunderstandings that can arise when English isn’t your first language. As Natalie settles in, she starts to see that the situation in Austria is worsening for her family, and tries to help them flee the persecution of the Nazi’s. The story examines one of those questions I remember asking years ago when studying history – why didn’t more people leave Austria earlier?

Alongside all this Natalie has to deal with her employers, a couple who appear to have nothing in common, apart from their child Hugo. There are lots of twists and turns in this thought provoking, well written story and I will be looking to read more books by Lizzie Page in the future.

BUY LINKS:

 Amazon: https://geni.us/B089WHBTVJSocial

Apple: http://ow.ly/w91550A5Zef

Kobo: http://ow.ly/DQbi50A5ZcJ

Google: http://ow.ly/SGtT50A5Zhl

Author Bio:

Lizzie loves reading ALL the books and has always loved reading the adventures of women in the past so it seemed natural to her to write historical fiction.

She lives with her family by the sea in South East England. And with her dog. She enjoys travelling and lived in Japan for several years. Lizzie has had lots of different jobs from waitressing and teaching to admin and bingo-calling – but being a writer is her absolute favourite.

She’d love to hear what you think of her books – feel free to send her a message on twitter @LizziePagewrite or on FB or leave a review on Amazon.

Author Social Media Links: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizziePagewrite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.page.75

View all my reviews

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe by Jessica Redland


Thank you to Boldwood Books for the digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This book is being published today in ebook format.

Synopsis:

A few minutes of courage might change your life… 

Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company. 

Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’s thriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever. 

When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that. 

Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Jessica Redland and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However I did find myself craving for a hot chocolate and some freshly baked chocolate brownies in the middle of the August 2020 UK heatwave.

Great characters, a wonderful setting (I wanted to move into the cafe), a large house rabbit called Hercules and a young woman called Tara who needs to take some steps forward to start living her life again.

I’m happy to recommend this uplifting book – full of new beginnings, romance and cake.






View all my reviews

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my no spoiler review for the latest book by Steve Cavanagh, published on 3rd September 2020 and now a Richard and Judy BookClub pick. Thank you to Orion Publishing for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

Alexandra Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body, and needs the police right away. She believes her sister killed him, and that she is still in the house with a knife. 

Sofia Avellino has just found her father’s mutilated body and needs the police right away. She believes her sister, Alexandra did it, and that she is still in the house, locked in the bathroom. 

Both women are to go on trial at the same time. A joint trial in front of one jury. 

But one of these women is lying. One of them is a murderer. Sitting in a jail cell, about to go on trial with her sister for murder, you might think that this is the last place she expected to be. 

You’d be wrong.

My thoughts:

So I’m starting this review with a couple of confessions. Firstly, I hadn’t heard of Steve Cavanagh or the Eddie Flynn series until I started reading the digital proof copy. I also hadn’t requested the digital proof copy, but had shared a post about it to fellow book bloggers, and then had a copy sent to me via NetGalley.

However, I started seeing great reviews, so decided to put my blog tour books to one side and travel to New York to find out more. As a British Law graduate, I’m always fascinated by how different our legal system is to that in the USA. Twenty plus years ago I enjoyed reading John Grisham books, now I’ve discovered the storytelling of Steve Cavanagh.

I will now need to go back to read the earlier Eddie Flynn novels, but was able to catch up quickly on the story and read this without having read the previous books. Eddie is a great character, a lawyer with lots of contacts in unusual places, who wants to stop innocent people going to prison.

The story kept me guessing until the end, would it be Sofia or Alexandra (or both) who killed their father. Alongside this rollercoaster ride, we also have a sexism in the workplace storyline.

With an excellent storyline and superb storytelling, this is one of my 5 star reads of 2020.

Author Bio:

Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of the Eddie Flynn series. His third novel, The Liar, won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the year 2018. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, Twisted, is out now and is a Sunday Times Bestseller. 

The Eddie Flynn series can be read in any order, but the list in full in order of publication is as follows: 
The Defence
The Cross (ebook exclusive novella)
The Plea
The Liar
Thirteen

Standalone books – Twisted. 

Find out more at http://www.stevecavanagh.com or follow Steve on Twitter @SSCav

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for the latest book by Lucy Coleman. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that that I reviewed A Summer in Provence by Lucy in April and June 2020 (can be read at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/27/summer-in-provence-by-lucy-coleman/). Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Boldwood Books for a digital proof copy of the book.

Synopsis:

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina. 

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in. 

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases. 

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secretslog fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft.

My thoughts:

This is my first Christmas themed book to read and review in 2020. The setting sounded lovely – a rural area, with a marina and a community that takes care of friends and family.

My favourite parts of the book included the Santa Ahoy cruises – as my own children are teenagers now, I miss the magic of the young people when they believe in Santa, and Immi battling with a huge turkey, trying to fit it into her fridge, plus all the other Christmas food.

Immi and Gray are looking forward to spending Christmas together, after a year of changes. The story introduces us to their friends and families as the countdown to Christmas begins. Immi wants to create a perfect Christmas Day but events conspire to change everything. She also has secrets to discover which may alter everything.

This isn’t a ‘light and fluffy’ Christmas book, it is about a young woman trying to find happiness for herself whilst putting others first. A thoughtful and well written story, and a different feel to A Summer in Provence.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3fGdGvu

Author Bio:

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor

lucycolemanromance.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter

A Year at Appleyard Farm by Emma Davies

Today I’m pleased to share my five star review for this gorgeous romance novel by a new author to me. Thank you to Bookouture for a digital review copy via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free copy. The book is being published in the UK today.

Synopsis:

Down a winding lane lined with strawberry trees and wildflowers lies Appleyard Farm, a beautiful orchard in the English countryside. And in a little farmhouse in the furthest corner, a young woman has a difficult decision to make…

Life on Appleyard Farm is all Freya Sherbourne has ever known. Having spent her childhood playing in the emerald green meadows and berry picking until sunset, Freya intends to call the farmhouse home forever. But when her father suddenly passes away and Appleyard Farm goes up for sale, Freya’s world comes crashing down.

Holding back the tears, she starts packing boxes while waiting for a buyer. Now the river no longer sparkles, and the apples taste a little less sweet. Until Freya learns the exciting news that her best friends Merry and Willow are moving nearby to open a local shop. And when someone from her past re-emerges, handsomer than ever and offering to mend the cracks in her broken heart, Freya’s eyes begin to twinkle once again.

But falling in love is scary, especially when you don’t know what the future holds. And when Freya discovers that her new love has been keeping a secret, one that threatens both their fragile relationship and the farm, she risks losing everything.

With the clock ticking, will Freya choose to follow her heart or save the farm? Or can she find a way to do both?

Told in four parts, this is a gorgeous story about love, friendship and new beginnings. Fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson should grab a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and prepare to be carried away!

A Year at Appleyard Farm was previously published as four short stories: Merry Mistletoe, Spring Fever, Gooseberry Fool, and Blackberry Way.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

My thoughts:

After reading some dark thrillers and historical fiction novels recently, I needed to find something to make me smile and this book certainly did that.

As I said above, I haven’t read any books by Emma Davies before, but I will be looking out for them in the future. This book was originally published as four novellas – each set in a different season of the year but always linked to Appleyard Farm and Freya.

The four sections all feature different stories but link together perfectly. For the main characters, this is a year of huge changes in relationships, jobs and homes. Some need to let go of their past, whilst others need to help them. The book is all about friendships and leaves the reader feeling warm inside. I loved the development of the characters, especially Freya and Laura. Emma Davies brought the Somerset area and the characters (including a large dog) to life beautifully for me.

A 5 star read for me – this was a virtual hug in a book, perfect for an autumn evening snuggled up with a dog and a hot chocolate.