What they say:
A perfect, feel-good summer read about love, life and family.
One long hot summer. Secrets never stay buried for long…
Portia is determined to restore Buttersley Manor, her family’s crumbling ancestral home, to its former glory. Yet she has a feeling that there are a few forgotten skeletons in the dust-covered cupboards.
Jenny has put her life on hold for far too long. It’s time to finally start living and to dig up those hopes and dreams she’s kept hidden all these years – but is she brave enough?
Rich is happily married with a beautiful wife and lovely daughter. In fact, his world is perfect until a very unexpected consequence of his past walks through the door…
Joe would like nothing more than to travel back in time to when he and Gina were happy. But is it too late to rescue what they once had?
One thing’s for sure, nothing’s ever quite what it seems when it comes to life in the country!
Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Cathy Bramley and Claire Sandy.
The review: I remember a time where I read a handful of books a year, mostly because I was busy studying and when I had free time I didn’t want to acknowledge the written word existed, let alone spend time ingesting it. Back then when I read chick lit, it was mostly as this one was, multiple stories co-exist and there’s a point of crossover where you go ‘oh’ and everything comes together. This was well done but due to my confusion over characters I’m afraid it didn’t give quite the impact I remember getting before.Sorry, I’ll go back to the start.
And at the start I’m afraid I was a little confused, which was a pity as I loved both the narrative and the warm, rich tone that I love to find in books with a cover such as this. Given that this is part two of a series, I would say that I felt like I was jumping into the middle of a book and so would recommend this as being read in order. We met Portia Pinkington Smythe facing some bad news from a solicitor. There was something about it all that felt like I’d missed something along the way. Next we met Rich Stephens being propositioned by a customer. The change over of characters within one chapter was a little disorientating, I think I’ve gotten used to there being changeovers where there is a relationship between the characters or the story-lines, but here there was a disconnect. We also met Jenny, whose story I warmed to greatly and conversely, Joe, a character I couldn’t warm to and I’d say, quite meanly actually, but it has to be said, that if the book hadn’t contained Joe I’d have enjoyed it a lot more.
Joe was a window cleaner working his way around every woman in the locality, and the book gave in to some very cliche stereotypes of bored housewives, with some of it quite tacky as they went looking to have some fun. The women, and Joe himself got on my nerves, I’m afraid, and by the time we were shown what an amazingly great guy he was in the eyes of the rest of the community he was lost to me, aided by the fact that he was seen as the local hero who could do no wrong (we were constantly reminded of this).
There were aspects of this book I loved, the warmth of it, the descriptions and the actual writing. Buttersley was lovely and some of the characters really made it come alive for me.
To be honest, Alice Ross is amazing at homely descriptions and if I knew there wasn’t a Desperate Housewives/ Hollywood Wives aspect in her other books, or indeed any canoodling(just as it doesn’t fit properly), I’d definitely read her work again. Also to me this book is probably the type of book better read in paperback for the flicking backward and forth aspect due to the huge amount of characters but then everyone’s different so maybe not. A very tough one to rate, I’d love to give it more as even when I read over my notes I realised how much I enjoyed it but then there was a little too much that niggled at me too. Thanks to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.