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Vita’s gift shop would do better if she ran it as a business, not as somewhere to daydream. But she’s not one to tell herself off–she leaves that to Tim, her ex, who still co-owns the shop. He cheated on Vita and broke her heart. Could she ever give him another chance?

Oliver, an experienced and successful tree surgeon, runs his home as calmly as his business. However, his heart is still with the mother of his child, even though it’s been three years now. He won’t take a chance on love again.

Then a pear tree brings Oliver to Vita, and as spring turns into summer they are given choices and chances. Will they grab them or walk away?

‘Chances’ begins with leading lady Vita trying unsuccessfully to get over her cheating ex-fiancé Tim, the pair having separated almost a year ago. She isn’t helped by the fact that they own a shop together: as neither is financially able to buy the other out, they’re stuck as business partners.

Our heroine has recently moved into Pear Tree Cottage and is just beginning to feel settled when the fruit of the house’s namesake begins to grow. Grow and attract parakeets. Not only do these birds wake Vita up early each morning, they also cause the fruit to fall drawing a multitude of angry wasps. Vita’s terrified, and in desperation calls upon the services of Oliver Bourne, a widowed tree surgeon. She finds herself falling in love with Oliver, but is she destined to be hurt again, as she once more falls for a man with another woman on his mind- even if this time the lady in question died three years ago?

Oliver’s sorrow over his deceased wife is treated very compassionately: he’ll never forget his wife but is doing his best to move on with his life, something he’s not finding easy. Freya North does a beautiful job of describing how it’s often the simple, everyday things, which can cause the biggest waves of grief.

I liked both the main protagonsists, although I did find Vita a little childish – the woman needs be more decisive and stand up for herself! Childish, but very kind, as we see illustrated by her dealings with the delightfully dotty old lady who regularly pilfers things from her shop.

The character of Oliver’s son, Jonty, was wonderfully written; I really got a feeling of the love and support he gives him father, and of the gap left in his life by the loss of his mother. His encouragement of Vita and Oliver’s romance is very sweet. The scene where Jonty and his dad are cooking their ‘chops and chips’ dinner for Vita is a wonderful example of the great relationship between father and son.

All in all, I do have to say though that I’m a little cross with Ms North at the moment: I had a busy day planned before my copy of this book dropped through my letter box, but thanks to this engaging and compassionate story, my poor children and loving husband were somewhat neglected for the best part of a day and my house remains unhoovered. Thank goodness Freya’s not able to produce a book a week, else my home really would fall apart!

4 stars

When dynamic, power-dressing Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work. But none of them could have predicted the fierce bond of friendship that her leadership would inspire…Anna, 39, is reeling from the loss of her fiance, who ran off with a much younger woman. Her pride in tatters, these days Anna finds it difficult to leave the house. So when a handsome, mysterious stranger takes an interest in her, she’s not sure whether she can learn to trust again? Then there’s Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because, unable to have children of her own, she fell in love with his motherless brood. Grace worries that Dawn is about to make the same mistake: orphaned as a child, engaged to love-rat Calum, is Dawn more interested in the security that comes with his tight-knit, boisterous family? When a sexy, footloose rock singer catches her eye, will Dawn have the courage to follow her heart? At 28, Raychel is the youngest member of their little gang. And with a loving husband, Ben, and a cosy little nest for two, she would seem to be the happiest. But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so guarded and unwilling to open up? Under Christie’s warm hand, the girls soon realise they have some difficult choices to make. Indeed, none of them quite realised how much they needed the sense of fun, laughter, and loyalty that abounds when five women become friends. It’s one for all, and all for one!

“A Summer Fling” follows the lives of four women who, in perhaps a first for a chick lit novel, work in the bakery department of a supermarket chain. They’re all a little nervous at the imminent arrival of their new boss Christie but don’t confide their worries to one another, none of them having ever really spoken to each other before, despite working together five days a week. Christie has a huge job ahead to mould them into a team and teach each team member to support and rely on her comrades.

The oldest of our ladies is Grace. In her fifties, she feels stifled by her husband and pressured by him to take early retirement, retirement from the job that provides the only escape from her loveless marriage. Thirty nine year old Anna was devastated when her fiancé left her for a much younger model and now only leaves the house to go to work, spending her time daydreaming about her lost fiancé coming back to her. Dawn, at 33, has been desperate to have a family ever since she was orphaned as a teenager. Engaged to the dreadful Calum and deeply attached to the security she feels this brings, Dawn seems impervious to all of his many, many flaws. The youngest of the women is Raychel, 28, who appears to have a blissful marriage to her childhood sweetheart Ben; but why haven’t they had children, and why is Raychel so quiet and withdrawn?

It took me a chapter or two to get properly immersed in the book, but once I was there I was really hooked: there’s loads of excitement and intrigue, with plenty of secrets to be uncovered as we discover more about the protagonists.

My favourite character was Grace; I felt so sorry for her with her awful husband wanting to permanently whisk her away to a caravan. I loved how her story developed and I thought the relationships between her and her stepchildren were brilliantly dealt with.

Some of the novel’s other great personalities were Dawn’s future family-in-law, who were hilariously awful, and her fiancé, who has to be one of literature’s laziest bums. It’s a true testament to Milly Johnson’s writing that you could really empathise with Dawn and understand why she’d stuck with these awful people for so long – a big, close family was what she felt was missing from her life.

Part of the novel that I particularly enjoyed was Anna’s transformation; not just the physical changes, her care of herself and her smiles, but the mental alterations, how the scars of her fiancé leaving heal. Anna’s love interest, the vampire character, was a little bizarre, but if Milly wants to add a little Gothic vampirism to her text then who am I to complain?

There were some aspects of this book that really made it stand out. I especially felt that making the women differing ages gave the novel a wide appeal and I found it interesting to see events from their various perspectives. I enjoyed having Barnsley as the setting; it gave the story a very different feel to the usual metropolitan chick lit.

This is the first of Milly Johnson’s books that I’ve read, and I’ll be working my way through her back catalogue soon. It contained some brilliantly written characters and the intertwining plots were all captivating. Yes, there were parts of the novel that were a little far-fetched, but what’s wrong with a little escapism eh?

4 stars

Thirty-nine-year-old Kate had almost given up on love when she met her fiancé. Now she’s planning for the wedding she never dreamed she’d have. But things seem to be slipping out of her control.

Diana, born on the day of the 1981 Royal Wedding, never doubted that one day she would find her prince. Newly engaged, and with daddy’s credit card in her grasp, she’s in full Bridezilla mode.

Against the backdrop of the other couple getting married in April 2011, both women prepare for the most important day of their lives. But will each bride get her perfect day? Or will it all become a right royal fiasco?

Kate is getting married. No, not THAT Kate, I’m talking about Kate Williamson.  At 39 our Kate was beginning to think that her ‘prince’ had forgotten to turn up for their ‘happy ever after’, but then she meets loyal, dependable Ian, who proposes to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Kate is thrilled, though pretty soon she’s finding that her family are organising a far bigger wedding than she had planned, and Ian isn’t exactly being the supportive fiancé that she’d imagined. Ian’s seeming indifference to anything to do with the wedding, combined with Kate changing job and her mum’s illness, mean that Kate begins to wonder whether getting married is really worth all the hassle.

Buying her dress from the same bridal shop as Kate is Diana, who, we learn, was born during the 1981 Royal Wedding. Diana is proposed to after she issues her boyfriend Ben with an ultimatum – we get married or we’re over. She’s determined that everything should be princess perfect on her big day, but will Diana’s quest for wedding flawlessness push Ben away for good? Just how many Titantic themed photos will he pose for before he begins to seriously reconsider his relationship?

An interesting sub-plot is provided by the story of Melanie, who got married on the same day as Prince Charles and Diana and who runs the bridal shop which Kate and Diana both buy their gowns from.

The forthcoming Royal marriage served as a brilliant and original backdrop, and didn’t overpower the story at all. I thought it was a very clever idea to tie such an iconic, contemporary event into the book and thought that it worked well, especially in the case of Diana’s story, as the Royal Wedding means so much to her and is the benchmark against which she measures her own nuptials.

The contrasts between the two brides were wonderful: Kate just wants a simple wedding, surrounded by her closest family and friends, whilst Diana has to be one of the finest ‘Bridezilla’ characters ever created: poor Ben is well and truly henpecked and Diana’s plans make those for Kate and Will’s wedding look positively understated. I particularly liked the scenes where they were having their engagement photographs taken

The only complaint that I could possibly have about this book would be that I wasn’t overly enamoured with either of the romantic leads: Ben was too much of a wimp for my liking and Ian was a bit useless when Kate’s mum is ill. However, this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel in the slightest as the female characters were so fantastic.

‘Kate’s Wedding’ is great, frivolous fun complete with tiaras, tantrums and runaway unicorns rampaging through a town centre. I doubt that even THAT Kate’s wedding on April 29th will be as entertaining.

4 stars

 

They drive each other crazy. And they both have something to hide. But we all have our secrets. It’s just some are bigger than others! Joe has a beautiful house, a great job, no commitments — and he likes it like that. All he needs is a quiet house-sitter for his rambling old place by the sea. When Tess turns up on his doorstep, he’s not sure she’s right for the job. Where has she come from in such a hurry? Her past is a blank and she’s something of an enigma. But there’s something about her — even though sparks fly every time they meet. And it looks as though she’s here to stay!

Joe has a job that he loves, and a woman waiting for him in every country his work takes him to. He’s very set in his ways and a confirmed bachelor. So when he advertises for a housesitter to look after his house and dog whilst he travels, he doesn’t expect to find himself hiring Tess – a woman running away from her problems in London with a baby in tow and seemingly determined to lock heads with him at every opportunity.

He suddenly finds his life, and his house, being turned upside down by Tess and baby Emmy’s arrival. And what’s worse, he rapidly becomes intrigued by Tess and what exactly she’s running away from. Will Tess be able to keep her ‘secrets’ to herself whilst living with Joe? And is it possible that Joe could have some secrets of his very own?

Joe was a fantastic male lead: very sexy and brooding. His job, building bridges, made his character interesting and led to some brilliantly original scenes and a very perfect ending to the book. Unfortunately however, the man just doesn’t seem to know what’s good for him: I found myself almost shouting out loud with frustration at how he treated Tess, he was so infuriating! I just couldn’t put the book down until he sorted himself out and did what I wanted him to do, which took a while! Thank goodness he got there in the end.

Tess came across as a little weak at the beginning of the novel but then really came into her own. There’s one particular scene where she thinks that Joe is going to leave after an argument and she completely turns the tables on  him – he will forever after have a fondness for Iggle Piggle.

The way the relationship develops between Tess and Jo is beautifully written, and I love that Freya North isn’t afraid to have the main characters come together in the middle of a novel so that the reader can watch their new relationship grow.

The setting of Saltburn-by-the-Sea was another great aspect of the novel. The descriptions of the region were captivating and it’s easy to see that it’s somewhere thought of with great fondness by the novelist. It’s not an area that I had heard of before, but I would now love to visit if I ever get the opportunity.

This is the first book I’ve read by Freya North; I’ve been meaning to try her writing for a while but just hadn’t got round to it until now. I found ‘Secrets’ a lovely, very romantic novel, with an incredibly sexy lead man and a cute dog and toddler chucked in – what more could you ask for? I’ll definitely be on the look out for more of Freya’s work.

4 and a half stars

Four women, one wedding and a day to remember – or rather forget …Anna’s world is rocked when she receives an invitation to her ex Toby’s nuptials – Toby was The One, The Love of Her Life, The One That Got Away. Will attending his Big Day finally give her the sense of closure she so desperately craves? Or will it only re-open old wounds? Clare is Anna’s best friend, the person who was there for her when she and Toby split all those years ago. But little does Clare know that Toby’s wedding day will also change her own life for ever. Ella is a classic femme fatale. She loves men and leaves them without a backward glance. But the one person who’s never fallen for her charms is Toby. As he prepares to get hitched, is it too late for a last-ditch attempt to win his heart? Finally, Rachel is the blushing bride-to-be. This should be the happiest day of her life. So how come she feels nothing but a terrible sense of foreboding?

‘RSVP’ is the debut novel of Helen Warner, the Head of Daytime TV at Channel 4, and it’s a real corker.

Anna, our heroine, never got over her first love, Toby, whom she dated whilst at university and still considers her soul mate. She and Toby seemed perfect together but broke up just before they graduated – mainly due to a rather nasty piece of work called Ella, who’d been desperate to get her clutches on Toby for ages. Ella seized her opportunity at a party one night, and when Anna refused to listen to Toby’s explanations, the couple split up.

Ten years later and Anna is a teacher living with her career-driven best friend Clare. One night Anna goes to a university reunion and bumps into Toby, who invites her to his wedding to his fiancée Rachel. Anna’s convinced that going to Toby’s wedding will give her the closure she needs to get over him and move on with the rest of her life; she resolves to attend, however much it will hurt to see the love of her life marry someone else.

Will Toby marry Rachel or realise that Anna is the right woman for him? How will Anna feel coming face to face with Ella and her devious nature again? And will Clare find someone who can compete with her beloved career?

The lives of the characters overlap throughout the book and Warner is very good at building the dramatic tension, choosing the exact moment that the reader can’t bear to change character… and then promptly changing it – a great way to ensure that a novel isn’t put down until the end! The first half of the book contains a lot of time-jumping which I enjoyed – it’s always better to ‘be there’ with the protagonists at the time rather than just hearing about their reactions to something many years later.

I liked all the main personalities, although I found Clare’s behaviour a little bizarre during the second half of the book. Ella was probably my least favourite character, but then if you like Anna then it’s inevitable that you have to dislike Ella, at least a little bit! I did, however, appreciate the way that she developed throughout the novel.

Another character which was dealt with very well was Toby: Warner does a very good job of making sure that he always comes across as a ‘good guy’ in his dealings with both Rachel and Anna – it would’ve really turned the reader off Toby if he’d treated either of them badly and yet he does have to choose between them and as they both love him, one of them is going to get very hurt.

The flashbacks of Anna and Toby during their student days were very sweet; they really were the idyllic university couple, though so much so I was almost pleased that Warner had Anna and Toby argue a little when they meet up again: they were so adorable as the student couple but it was good to see that in the ‘real’ world they’d developed something of a more regular relationship, especially with Anna’s insecurity regarding Toby’s relationship with Rachel.

‘RSVP’ contains some lovely characters and an interesting plot with lots of twists, turns and flashbacks, making for a very enjoyable read. I shall definitely be on the look out for future books by Helen Warner; she’s going to be an author to watch.

4 stars

 

 

Liza Haven couldn’t wait to escape the small village where she grew up with her perfect identical twin sister, Lee. Her life in LA as a stunt woman is reckless, fast and free – and that’s just the way she likes it. But when a near-fatal mistake drives her home, she finds Lee gone and everyone in the village mistaking her for her twin sister. Liza has to deal with her ailing mother, the family ice cream business, and Lee’s dangerously attractive boyfriend. Liza’s always been the bad twin, but as she struggles to keep up the masquerade and puzzle out where her sister has gone, she realises it’s not so simple. She’s spent her whole life getting away with it – is it finally time to face up to who she really is and where she really belongs?

Lee and Liza Haven are identical twin sisters, but appearances are where the similarities between the two end.

Liza lives in L.A. and is a film stuntwoman; she loves danger and adventure and does everything she can to stay away from her childhood home of Stoneguard, the cosy little town where she built up quite a reputation as the bad girl.

Lee, meanwhile, still lives in Stoneguard. She’s the exact opposite of her twin – responsible, organised and loved by everyone who knows her. She’s constantly busy: running the family ice-cream business, caring for her mother and helping out in the local community.

The story begins with Liza losing her job after making a major mistake which almost costs her her life. She soon finds that news travels fast in the film world and no one will employ her. When Lee begs Liza to return to Stoneguard for a visit she reluctantly agrees, but when she gets there she discovers that Lee has disappeared, leaving Liza to cope with all of her twin’s, often over-whelming, responsibilities.

When everyone assumes that Liza is Lee, Liza decides to carry on the charade and discover what it’s really like to be the ‘good’ twin. Liza thinks it’ll be easy enough to be Lee for a while, until that is, she discovers that Lee’s dating the irresistible Will Naughton.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Liza’s experiences as she lives her sister’s life and how they change her. My only quibble being that I would’ve liked the same amount of attention to have been paid to Lee, who also goes through a lot emotionally whilst she’s away and is a very interesting character in her own right.

Cohen really has created a wonderful cast of characters living in Stoneguard; I particularly liked Ma Gamble, with her attempts to keep the whole town regular and her earthworm preservation meetings. The townsfolk are wonderfully nosy and old-fashioned, and very cleverly written – you can understand why Lee adores them and Liza hates them, at least to begin with.

Another noteworthy aspect of Cohen’s writing was the way she dealt with and made use of the twins’ mother having Alzheimer’s: this really was a brilliant way to soften their mother’s character, and it also served to bring out a little more of Liza’s good qualities. There’s one scene in particular which is particularly touching where Liza’s finally understands and comes to terms with her mother’s illness.

I became really immersed in this book, which to me is always the sign of a very good story. Some of the passages describing the English countryside were very beautifully written and the description of Liza’s accident is very dramatic and intense –  there was no way that I could have stopped reading until I knew the outcome.

This is a lovely, really heart-warming story with a superb compliment of characters, and it came with the added bonus that I now know how to make a crop circle – I’ll definitely be on the look out for more of Julie Cohen’s books in the future.

4 star

Heartbreak, headlines and Hermes – welcome to Brooke’s new world… Brooke and Julian live a happy life in New York – she’s the breadwinner working two jobs and he’s the struggling musician husband. Then Julian is discovered by a Sony exec and becomes an overnight success – and their life changes for ever. Soon they are moving in exclusive circles, dining at the glitziest restaurants, attending the most outrageous parties in town and jetting off to the trendiest hotspots in LA. But Julian’s new-found fame means that Brooke must face the savage attentions of the ruthless paparazzi. And when a scandalous picture hits the front pages, Brooke’s world is turned upside down. Can her marriage survive the events of that fateful night at Chateau Marmont? It’s time for Brooke to decide if she’s going to sink or swim…

 

‘Last Night at Chateau Marmont” is the story of Brooke, a regular, ordinary New Yorker whose life is turned upside down when Julian, her musician husband, finally gets his big break and quickly becomes very famous. Brooke is a nutritionalist, working two jobs to support Julian whilst he concentrates on his music career. Brooke has faith in her husband and knows that he’s very talented, but not even she believes that he’s really ever going to become a superstar.

Then, almost overnight, it happens: Julian’s suddenly hot property. His single is flying high in the charts and he’s touring America, appearing at major award shows and on national television. Before long Brooke finds herself loathing the gossip columns, columns she used to love poring over with her friend. She’s missing her husband, who always seems to be away; she’s in trouble at work because of all the time she’s had off to support Julian and she can’t go anywhere without being photographed. Worst of all, Julian seems to be changing into someone that Brooke really doesn’t like very much. Will Brooke, Julian and their marriage be able to survive Julian’s sudden rise to fame?

The book is written purely from Brooke’s point of view, which makes for a very personal account; the reader experiences everything with her and so really understands what she’s going through. Her reaction to Julian’s behaviour when he becomes famous is very cleverly written, and the reader understands Brooke’s reaction completely, whilst accepting that Julian could ultimately be forgiven, thanks to their knowledge of Brooke and of her relationship with her husband.

I have to admit that I wasn’t overly taken by the characters in this book; none of them really stood out for me or were very original, the only one who I thought might turn out to be really interesting was Nola, who we don’t get to find out anything about: her role in the book seems to be purely as a sounding board for Brooke. It would have been good to have seen a bit more of her and have her supporting Brooke a little more directly. Perhaps the most disappointing character was Brooke; I did like her, but at times she was so ‘normal’ that she just came across as a little boring. The way she deals with Julian’s fame is a little irritating: she whinges and isn’t very supportive, she never actually sits down with Julian and explains how she’s feeling, never tries to work out how to make it better.

The storyline of this book was original and engaging – yes, the ‘sudden celebrity’ thing has been done before, but I haven’t read anything dealing with how the star’s spouse in particular deals with it. The section concentrating on the time before Julian becomes famous was particularly well done – although not the most exciting section, it’s a very important part of the story, and serves as a wonderful contrast with the crazy life that the two end up with once Julian is well-known. It’s particularly good at showcasing how happy and content Brooke was, and how stable and secure their marriage was then.

I really like Lauren Weisberger’s writing, and this novel certainly kept me gripped until the very last page, but, for me, it wasn’t quite as good as her first novel, “The Devil Wears Prada’; everything else that she has produced since is very good, but just not quite in the same league.

3 stars

Julia and Mark are stuck in a loveless relationship. Julia thinks a baby will help, but perhaps that isn’t the answer to her problems. Maeve is totally allergic to commitment – she breaks out in a rash whenever she passes a buggy. Then a one-night-stand results in an unwanted pregnancy. But just how unwanted is it? Samantha is besotted with her new-born baby. But how is husband Chris coping with his suddenly unavailable wife, and is Samantha’s obsession as healthy as it seems?

‘Babyville’ is the fifth novel by authoress Jane Green, centring around the lives of three women, Julia, Maeve and Samantha.

Julia’s got a great career and lives with her long-term boyfriend Mark in his beautiful house, but despite this pretty perfect life, she’s still not content. Julia believes that her unhappiness stems from her inability to conceive and she’s rapidly becoming obsessed with becoming pregnant – but will a baby repair what’s wrong with Mark and Julia’s relationship?

Maeve has just moved to London from Brighton to start a new job. She’s not looking for a man and is determined to concentrate on her career – that is however until she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant.

Samantha totally adores her new baby, George; so much so, that her husband Chris is wondering what on Earth has happened to his loving wife. Samantha wants only the best for her baby, and that means doing everything herself as she feels that Chris has suddenly become completely useless. Will Samantha remember how great her husband is or will she start looking elsewhere?

’Babyville’ is divided into three sections, one for each of the main characters. This gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters individually and become very involved in their personal stories. Whilst I don’t think that the book’s plot is particularly awe-inspiring, it is well-written and very entertaining, despite the often underlying seriousness.  The characters are intriguing – Mark, in particular, is lovely and I would defy most women to read this book and not develop at least a little bit of a crush on him. For me, Julia was the weakest character in the book and I really didn’t identify with her very much, though I did find satisfying how things pan out between her and Mark!

The novel isn’t so much about babies, but rather about what babies [whether you can have them or not] do to your life, and how people react to those new circumstances. And it’s certainly a book which would appeal to a wider audience than just new mothers. It’s not as funny as Jane Green’s earlier books, such as ‘Jemima J’ or ‘Mr Maybe’, and has at its core some quite serious issues which are dealt with realistically and sympathetically.

I would certainly say that ‘Babyville’ is a good and entertaining read. In my opinion it’s one of Jane Green’s better books, and I’ve read it a couple of time when I’ve wanted something easy and comforting to relax with.  I would advise any chick lit fans to give it a try.

4 stars

A rural idyll: that’s what Catherine is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains. With her divorce in the past and her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and her dream is to set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you’re no longer just here on holiday. There is French bureaucracy to contend with, not to mention the mountain weather, and the reserve of her neighbours, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. And that’s before the arrival of Catherine’s sister, Bryony…


Catherine is a 48 year old divorcee building a new life for herself in France. She finds herself settling near the small hamlet of St Julien in the Cevennes; an area with fond memories from childhood holidays.

Naturally Catherine knows that moving to a foreign country by herself is not going to be all plain-sailing: for a start she’ll miss her family in England, and then of course there are the language and cultural barriers – she does speak pretty good French, but how will her neighbours, few though they are, take to an English woman moving into their neighbourhood? And will her French be up to dealing with all the bureaucracy which goes alongside setting up her soft furnishings business in a French national park?

Of Catherine’s new neighbours, one stands out to her in particular – Patrick Castagnol, a handsome, mysterious and, most importantly, single man. Before long a friendship develops between the two, and Catherine begins to realise that she really likes Patrick. However, who should then turn up to visit? None other than Catherine’s younger, and very pretty, sister Bryony. Bryony is a city girl through and through, and seems unlikely to forego what she considers the only really worthwhile entertainment in the area.

Patrick is certainly a very satisfying romantic interest to read about, especially in his rather sexy scene towards the end of the book: just what a girl would expect from a handsome French man. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the author’s explanation of why he’s back living in the region, but I decided to let that slide in favour of my pure enjoyment of the novel.

The very different way of life that Catherine has chosen is meticulously described, as is the area in which she decides to settle. The locals and location are idyllic in many ways, and the author quite obviously knows the region and the people very well, their good points as well as the bad! The book is slow-paced, but it mirrors the way of life in the region and so suits the style of book. I particularly enjoyed Catherine’s visit back to England when she has to make the decision whether or not to return to her life in France, isolated as it is, or take the easier route of staying in England with her family nearby.

This really is such a beautifully written book: the type that transports you into it, and leaves you a little bewildered at coming back to reality when you close it.

It’s both enjoyable and uplifting, even worth renting a cottage for in the middle of French nowhere, just to immerse yourself in it completely and enjoy it to its fullest.

4 stars.

Love is a rush when you fall for someone addicted to speed…Daisy has been dum ped, unceremoniously jilted. Not by any ordinary guy, no…Daisy has a secret in her past that she won’t even tell her best friend, Holly. She’s given up on men – and on her own family. But life still has to be lived and where better to recover than as far away from home as possible. Grabbing a chance to see the world, Daisy packs her bags and joins the team catering to the world’s highest-paid, supercharged racing drivers on the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. From Brazil to Italy, from Melbourne to Monte Carlo, life passes in a dizzying whirlwind. But nothing – and no one – can stop Daisy from falling again…this time for a man who is prepared to risk his life, and his heart, for the sake of speed, danger and ultimate success.

Paige Toon’s third novel is one of my all time favourites; I could quite happily read it again and again. And again!

The action takes place across the globe as Daisy and her pal Holly travel the world with a Formula One team as hospitality girls – otherwise known as ‘Bun Tarts’. Daisy has had her heart broken and is sure she’s in no position to fall for any man any time soon, but she didn’t bargain on meeting Will Trust, one of the two new drivers for the team. Daisy finds that she can’t resist Will’s charm, and he seems interested in her. There are just two problems – Will’s long-term girlfriend, Laura, and Luis, the other new driver, who just won’t keep his nose out of Daisy’s business.

I loved the character of Daisy; her colourful language and quick temper make her very entertaining. As for Luis, I must confess he really is my ideal hero; he’s funny, sexy and mysterious, and how Daisy can fall for the far less exciting Will at the beginning of the book I will never know – silly girl! Daisy’s Italian grandmother is also fantastic; her little plans to help Daisy with her love-life are inspired and very giggle-worthy!

I’ve never been a fan of Formula One, but it gave the story a very unique backdrop and I ended up really enjoying that aspect of the book, it made a nice change from the usual ‘single girl in London/New York’ scenario. The settings are glamorous and original, and there are a few drama fuelled racing scenes which really kept me gripped, including one with a very shocking, and completely unexpected conclusion.

I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough to chick lit lovers. Lots of laugh out loud moments combined with some great drama and real edge-of-your-seat racing scenes makes for a brilliant read. It’s also got just about the most perfect ending of any novel I’ve read; the final scene never fails to make me smile and cry in equal measure. When I finish reading ‘Chasing Daisy’ I‘m always left with just one question – how much fun must Paige have had researching this novel?

5 stars

 

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My Single FriendBreaking DawnStill Thinking of YouBetrayedMarkedThe Truth About Melody Browne

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