Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley
Publishing Date: 26th May 2017
Series: Love in Langtry Meadows #1
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 404
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley
When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.
Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge?
But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…
Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.
But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?
A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.
There is a popular saying at the beginning of “Summer with the Country Village Vet”: “Never work with children or animals”. Well, I work with both, ha, so this here plus the fact that it is Zara Stoneley that has written this novel, made me feel sure that I am going to love it. This book really has it all – beautiful, idyllic setting, more than likeable characters, funny animals with their antics so realistically written, adorable children with their belly – aching banter and the wonderful atmosphere. This all written with this lovely, warm and inviting Zara Stoneley’s writing style – it is already so recognizable, that I can bet if you were given this book not knowing the author, you’d guess it immediately.
I loved our main character Lucy’s passion to her job – the same as Charlie’s, to be honest. They were the right people in the right places. Lucy, just like most of Zara Stoneley’s heroines, was just my kind of a girl. She was a great teacher, she loved her job and she thought about her students and not the bureaucracy. She was clever, witty but she had her own demons and skeletons in the closet and this all made her character so beautifully complex and adorable. There is this brilliantly interwoven subplot of Lucy’s childhood, so we get a chance to learn where all her insecurities are coming from – I really liked that she finally started to ask questions. However, she didn’t let the insecurities to overwhelm her and on the outside she was a sunny, lovely girl that everybody loved and nobody could say “no” to her. Really. You’ll see for yourself when you read the book.
And let’s not forget Charlie, the moody and broody village vet. Oh my, he was GREAT! I’ve no idea how Zara Stoneley does it but with every new book her male characters are even more gorgeous, with a swoon – factor. Absolutely devoted to his job and also with past demons that suddenly start to surface… To be honest, there were moments that I wanted to bang his head on the wall, not too much of course, but that he stopped brooding and behaving the way he behaved towards Lucy because he made her feel so confused, and better don’t mess with me when you confuse Lucy, because Lucy is too nice to be messed with. So there. But apart from that Charlie was perfect, guys, but not perfect in this boring way, no, he was adorable, gorgeous and had a distance to himself and all the pets’ female owners.
I also adored the banter between Lucy and Charlie and the way they were around each other – it was so, so realistic! The will they/won’t they was brilliantly solved, you really couldn’t be sure what’s going to happen, as there were so many obstacles in their way, and even though there were moments that I SO wanted to bang their heads together, especially Charlie’s, I still could fully understand their reluctance and uncertainty.
But not only the main characters were brilliant, Zara Stoneley writes them all so well. The whole Langtry Meadow community, starting with the school staff, the nurse in Charlie’s surgery, the village busy body, knowing all and everything Elsie Harrington – they were all larger than life, warm, quirky and so true and genuine.
There wouldn’t be Zara Stoneley’s book without some gorgeous, mischievous animals. Next to newts we have all the animals that Charlie looks after in his surgery (the chihuahua. The chihuahua!) and also the bunch Lucy is baby – sitting. I absolutely loved the fact that each and every one animal that Lucy was baby – sitting was given a scene or two. We have Gertie the Goose who is very attached to very pink wellies, we have a pony Mischief, a pig that likes to be taken on walks, and many, many others. Again, they were written with so much heart and understanding, it was a real joy to read about them. Those animals have more than once stolen the show, really, but this all had such an authentic feeling to it. As much as they say “never work with children or animals”, we could advice some authors please don’t write about animals and children because it’s not as easy as we could think, but Zara Stoneley has mastered it, and both animals and children feel so authentic and genuine in this book.
I absolutely liked that everything was so neatly wrapped up in the end, that all things were explained, that Lucy had this huge talk with her mum and that she started to feel better after that. It was a fast – paced story and there was all the time something happening and I more than often found myself thinking, only one page more, and then, hours later, realised it’s time to bring the little one to bed.
I love all Zara Stoneley’s books, she really can do no wrong and I hope she’ll keep them coming and coming. There is always such a feel – good factor to them all, they so effortlessly transport you to the fiction world of the characters’ and you immediately want to move to the place where the book is set. It was the same with Langtry Meadows – I immediately fell in love with this place, with all the villagers and the author has so easily brought this place to life – with May Pole dancing, with the pub and cosy cottages, village greens and the cosy school. “Summer with the Country Village Vet” was so heart – warming and it was so easy to fall in love with the place and all the characters. I loved all the challenges they were facing, some of them very normal ones, such as what kind of animal are the children going to bring in their pockets to school, or more difficult ones, such like coming to terms with a difficult past, finding peace and letting the demons go. I had no problems to immediately feel a part of the Langtry Meadow community, they were all so easy to fall in love with. This story was a real breath of fresh air, it was as colourful as cover of this book but with a depth and some emotional moments.
But what is best is that this book is the first one in the series! I can’t wait to visit Langtry Meadows again as soon as possible!