Book Review: The Little Cottage On The Hill.

Thelittle cottageRolling my eyes at the main character of a book in the first few chapters wouldn’t usually end well but, actually, part of the joy of The Little Cottage On The Hill, by Emma Davies, is seeing how Maddie changes and grows.

She starts off not listening, being judgmental and condescending and completely ignoring what our hero, Seth, is saying but gradually the beauty and magic of the place (and people) does its job – and she turns into someone I wouldn’t mind being friends with.

Once again Emma has created a supporting cast who are engaging and immensely likeable – I can see at least three more spin off stories I’d like to read from this one book.

Here’s the blurb:

There’s blossom in the trees and daffodils as far as the eye can see. Maddie is looking forward to a fresh start in the countryside, but there’s just one little problem…

Following a scandal at her high-flying PR agency, twenty-six-year-old Maddie flees London to help promote what she thinks is going to be a luxurious holiday retreat in the countryside. Everything is riding on her making a success of this new job…

Yet when she arrives, Maddie is horrified to find a rundown old farm in a terrible state. The brooding and secretive owner, Seth, spent all his money on leasing the land when he fell in love with the beautiful, dishevelled farm cottages and the very romantic story behind them.

When Maddie discovers an old painting by the original owner’s wife, she unlocks the secret of the farm’s history and quickly realises she must start getting her hands dirty if this very special place is going to have any chance of survival. As she and Seth begin working together, the stunning view from the top of the hill is not the only thing that’s leaving her breathless…

After weeks of hard work the dream looks like it might become a reality, until a secret from Maddie’s past threatens to snatch it all away again.

Can Maddie find a way to save the business and herself? Will she finally find a place to keep her heart within the crumbling walls of the little cottage on the hill?

Described on the lovely front cover as a “feel-good romance” I’d say it’s pretty spot on, I definitely felt good once I had finished and the romance, though gentle, still had me sighing with pleasure.

This is a warm, sweet tale, written in a lively way that makes it hard to take a break.
I loved learning the back story of the previous inhabitants and the way everything came together felt magical.

The ending left me with a massive grin on my face – although that was after a few tears (both happy and sad) too.

Another great book from Emma, I can’t wait for the next.

Format: Kindle.

Price: 99p (via Amazon).

My rating: Four and a half stars.

With thanks to Bookouture for the ARC in return for my honest review.

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Book Review: Lucy’s Book Club For The Lost And Found.

lucy.pngA book club is something I’ve often thought about joining but never have, which is a shame if they are anything like Lucy’s Book Club For The Lost And Found.

This lovely story, by popular author Emma Davies, follows the lives of library manager Lucy Picklescott (great name) and her motley crew of four participants.

It’s written in the third person and follows each of them at different points, which I really liked.

Here’s the blurb (I’m using the Good Reads one because I like it better than the others).

Once upon a time, a woman called Lucy ran a little library with a big heart. It only took one look at the members of her book club for Lucy to see how she could make all their dreams come true…

Full-time carer Lia dreams of learning to dance, but as her mother becomes more reliant on her, that wish may never come true.

Widower Oscar is longing to find the daughter he put up for adoption as a young man, but does she even want to be found?

Single mum Hattie is overweight and unhappy since her cheating ex-fiancé humiliated her at their engagement party.

Sensitive soul Callum is a hopeless romantic and the black sheep of his family. Will he ever find the courage to fight for what he wants?

Lucy kicks us off and seems much older than her 24-years, as does Callum, who is 19 going on 45. Lia and Hattie were very well written and I immediately warmed to them, maybe because they are more my age, while Oscar was probably my favourite of them all.

The intertwining stories are what really create the magic in this book. Oscar’s, in particular, was heartbreaking (I cried real tears) but I was so pleased with the way his ended – not exactly the way he hoped but certainly a good deal better than when he started.

And Lucy, who is so set on helping everyone else, eventually realises she has some work to do on herself – leading to a rather lovely conclusion.

If you’re looking for a feel-good read which is perhaps a little bit deeper than usual, this book is for you.

Format: Kindle.

Price: 99p.

My rating: Four stars.

With thanks to Bookouture (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Christmas At Hope Cottage.

ChristmasathopecottageIf Lily Graham ever fancies a break from writing contemporary fiction (and I hope she doesn’t) I think she’d make a brilliant food writer – as highlighted in her latest book, Christmas At Hope Cottage.

I guess when your main character does it for a living you also need to know your stuff but it’s more than just dropping the odd technical term in, she makes food seem magical.

That’s just one of the things I enjoyed about this book, which I found very hard to put down.

Here’s the blurb:

When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.

Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them.

As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.

The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?

Poor Emma, it never rains but it pours. I don’t want to give anything away but she has more than just broken bones to contend with. I did find keeping up with where she was in the healing process a little confusing at times – although I was quickly distracted from pondering her injuries by her wonderfully eccentric family. They don’t live an easy life but it is a purposeful one, full of love and laughter.

The story switches between past and present with ease and you get a real sense of why Emma is the way she is. There are some darker moments in this book but it’s all the better for them.

Lily very cleverly steers you in different directions and just when you think you know how you want things to play out, she inserts a little doubt here and there and you change your mind. Thankfully, in the end, it all works out just as it should (or at least just as I felt it should).

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Four stars.

With thanks to Bookouture for the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for an honest review.