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 Sight of You by Holly Miller


I’m pleased to share my review for this beautiful book, the debut novel of Holly Miller. Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for granting my wish to review a preview copy via NetGalley after seeing such many positive comments on social media – I now understand why so many people love this book.

Synopsis:

Joel is afraid of the future.
Since he was a child he’s been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what’s going to happen – the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again. 

Callie can’t let go of the past.
Since her best friend died, Callie’s been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn’t know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.

Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today. 
And though they’re not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing. 

Until Joel has a vision of how it’s going to end . . .

My thoughts:


The Sight of You is the story of Joel and Callie – I loved the way the characters developed and began to interact with each other. This is a really difficult book to review without giving away any spoilers – it should be read without any hints or clues about what will happen – and without any interruptions. I curled up on the sofa and ignored the family to enjoy the story of Joel and Callie.

As we currently live in very uncertain times (this book is set in non-Covid times so people can still socialise normally and sit in a cafe – if only!), this book gives you a break from reality to fall in love with Joel and Callie. This is a book that made me cry at the end – a good sign of being emotionally involved in the characters and their lives.

The Sight of You is published in hardback and ebook on 11th June in the UK, and in paperback in January 2021. One of my favourite books of the year, thank you Holly Miller. I totally agree with the Hodder and Stoughton marketing slogan – “the love story of 2020 that will break your heart”.

Amazon purchase links https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RHV8LF5/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_45G2EbMRY623E

Waterstones purchase links https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-sight-of-you/holly-miller/9781529324341



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A Forget-Me-Not Summer by Sophie Claire


I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by Sophie Claire today. Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for a digital advanced review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

It’s taken years, but Natasha Brown’s life is finally on track. Running a florists in the quaint village of Willowbrook, she’s put her short-lived marriage to Luc Duval far behind her. That is, until he unexpectedly walks through her shop door, three years after their divorce.

Luc reveals that he never told his family about their split, and now his father is desperately ill and demanding to meet Natasha. Luc needs her to come to France and pretend they’re still happily married. Natasha is horrified, but when Luc makes her an offer she can’t refuse, reluctantly packs her bags. 

The deal is two weeks on a vineyard with his family, but will Luc and Natasha be able to play the perfect couple after years apart? And in the glorious Provence sun, will the old spark between them be impossible to ignore?

My thoughts:

After reading and enjoying The Christmas Holiday in 2019, I’m pleased to say that A Forget-Me-Not Summer is a lovely read too. However before we look at the story, I want to say how lovely the cover of the book is – I hope our garden sunflowers will look so bright and cheerful this year.

The book follows the story of Natasha and Luc, who were married for a few weeks before divorcing after a tragic miscarriage, only to be reunited when Luc’s dad is seriously ill in hospital. Luc and Natasha have two weeks pretending to still be married, to look back at why their marriage failed and how little they actually knew about each other. Through a family wedding into the mix, and let the story evolve.

In addition to the characters, the descriptions of French towns, markets and food, make for a gorgeous book to curl up with and escape the modern world. This is a book full of missed opportunities, miscommunication and most importantly, love.

Already available in ebook format, the paperback will be published on June 11th 2020.

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