Because Mummy Said So by Shari Low / Blog Tour + Guest Post

Because Mummy Said So by Shari Low


35820113Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 25th January 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Parenting & Families, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 07.02.2019)



The era of the yummy mummy has finally gone and in order to celebrate this, Shari Low has taken a baby wipe to the glossy veneer of the school of perfect parenting and written Because I Said So to show us the truth about motherhood in all of its sleep-deprived, frazzled glory. This is a book that every experienced, new or soon-to-be parent will relate to – well, hallelujah and praise be those who worship at the temple of Febreze.

For over a decade, Shari wrote a hugely popular weekly newspaper column documenting the ups, downs and bio-hazardous laundry baskets of family life. Because I Said So is a collection of her favourite stories of parenting, featuring superheroes in pull up pants, embarrassing mistakes, disastrous summer holidays, childhood milestones, tear-jerking nativity plays, eight bouts of chickenpox and many, many discussions that were finished with the ultimate parental sticky situation get-out clause… Because I Said So.

My Review

“Because Mummy Said So” is close to life, painfully realistic and hilarious read. It is a compilation of short essays the author has written for her column and they tell us about life with two young boys, about being family – in a very realistic and brutally honest way. Oh yes, Shari Low really tells how it is – that life with young children can be very, very embarrassing but she also shows the soft side of such life, of being a part of family and how richer and fuller your life becomes when the children arrive. 

I am also a mum and I’ve also experienced many, many embarrassing moments with my daughter so I could really relate to those essays.However, I don’t know if it’s because Shari Low is a writer that she can simply better notice such situations or her boys are much more accident prone than my daughter because I can’t remember SO many embarrassing situations in my life.   

I could really relate to this book and often identify with it. Some of the stories were funny however some were a bit hit or miss for me, and some felt a bit too overdone but altogether it was a nutshell manual of how it is to be a parent nowadays. The writing style is light and engaging and funny. I would recommend it if you’re a parent and in need of a good laugh and to see that you’re not alone. Refreshing and eye – opening, showing that the era of perfect mothers is truly and really over – hallelujah!


I don’t think we’ve ever lived in more judgemental times. With social media, reality TV and glossy advertising campaigns, it seems like we’re constantly surrounded by examples of impossibly fabulous lives.

Not that having a skewed idea of perfection is a new concept.

Growing up, I always thought being a writer would be an impossibly glamorous life. I wanted to have the excitement of a Jackie Collins heroine, wear leopard print on a daily basis, and live a scandalous existence being wooed by heartthrobs who hung on my every word.

And did I mention I’d have twelve nannies for my perfectly behaved children, who would think I was the best mother ever?

Sorry. I’ve always been both shallow and deluded. It’s a personality flaw.

Of course, the reality bore no resemblance to those adolescent fantasies. I didn’t start writing until I was thirty, when – by some miracle – I managed to get a book deal and found out I was pregnant on the same day.

Ah the thrill! Followed by the wonderful but daunting reality check of real-life motherhood. Two babies in two years later, ‘excitement’ was getting through a whole day without at least one child being sick on me. The only ‘scandalous’ activity was smuggling them into a fast food restaurant for some chicken nuggets and pretending I’d fed them organic rice cakes. My dealings with leopard print involved a costume for the school show, hastily constructed with six hours notice, and David Attenborough wouldn’t have been impressed with the results. Those nannies and the perfectly behaved children? They never materialised. Instead I got two hilarious wee boys, and the husband and I muddled through, careering from one parenting mishap to another. Oh, and absolutely no-one hung on my every word. In fact, by the tenth time I’d asked them to brush their teeth in the mornings, I began to wonder if I was invisible.

However, I loved every minute of it. Even the ones that came with sleep depravation and a toxic laundry basket.

Along the way, I wrote more than twenty novels and a weekly column about the perils of parenting.

You see, I’m not afraid to admit it. My name is Shari Low and I’m an imperfect parent.

My weekly tales were a fight back against that illusion of perfect motherhood, a giggle for those in the same boat, and a rude gesture in the direction of those who judge us mums for making mistakes.

Now, my very favourite episodes are all together in Because Mummy Said So, a collection of memories spanning pregnancy to the day my eldest left home last year. Sniff. Every hilarious disaster, crisis, and mortifying moment is in there.

It’s a pick me up for the exhausted new parent, a giggle for mums who are navigating the minefield of the school years and a bit of nostalgia for the empty nesters.

And most of all, it’s a funny, real life distraction from all those impossible, manufactured images of perfection.




The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton



51edslbgozl-_sx323_bo1204203200_Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 600

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover






A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860s until the present day.

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

Rating: three-stars

In “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” it is 1862 and a group of bohemian artists spend their time at Birchwood Manor. Its owner is the gifted artist, Edward Radcliffe. The relaxed visit is interrupted by a burglary and murder of Edward’s fiancée and a disappearance of his muse, Birdie Bell. Edward’s life is shattered to pieces.
It’s 2017 and young London archivist, Elodie Winslow, comes across a satchel hiding a photograph of a Victorian woman and a sketchbook with the drawing of a home by the river that feels very familiar to Elodie. She starts to dig and soon she is to discover a story that it’s also connected to her family, full of secrets and tragedy.

There are many different settings and the story jumps between times, however it is always underlined in which period we’re finding ourselves in, so I didn’t have any problems here and I didn’t feel confusion. Where I was a little confused though was that under all those description and many colourful and eclectic characters lay a mystery that was a brilliant idea and was incredibly captivating, yet it was somehow forgotten because of all the many other things and events. The author’s writing style is beautiful and elegant though, almost lyrical, and it wonderfully conveys the atmosphere of all the times she’s writing about.

There are many characters introduced to us – probably too many, to be honest, and instead on action this book mostly focuses on telling us their stories over a century – and this is probably where the mystery has gone a little lost. All of the characters had their own, diverse and hooking stories and maybe this was too much for this story, as it sometimes felt too overfilled. One little example, I found Elodie’s subplot starting very strong and interesting but then it lost its impact and focus, which is a shame as it was an interesting one. This tale is told through multiple narrators and with them we slowly and painstakingly learn the story and background of Birchwood Manor, its history and its residents – this especially through the eyes of the ghost, Birdie. She tells us a tale full of mysteries, murder, lies and secrets, theft, tragedy and drama that the house witnessed through generations. All the characters in this book are somehow connected to this house.

The end is beautifully and neatly wrapped up, it brings almost all the threads together, though I also had a feeling that there are still some questions open, especially about the characters from the present times. But it could be that I’ve missed something, I admit, because guys, and it pains me to tell this, to get through all the descriptions was incredibly hard and so I skipped some passages. What I didn’t miss, though, was the name of the Clockmaker’s Daughter – I was desperate to learn it.

“The Clockmaker’s Daughter” was a very complex book and I can only imagine how much research went into it! It was a very captive story, very rich in descriptions that were so eloquent and vivid, effortlessly helping to bring the setting and characters to life. It was, however, not as wonderful as I was expecting. Kate Morton has many fans out there and one of my fellow bloggers that I value very, very much always rave about her book, and so I though I must finally read a Kate Morton novel! Sadly, I couldn’t find this wow – factor and felt a little disappointed after reading it, but probably I should have started with another book of hers – I will for sure getting back to her whole previous catalogue.There were also incredible twists in this book and it brings everything you’re looking for in good historical fiction – incredibly well research, mystery, murder, romances and a hidden treasure. Please, don’t get me wrong – this book had its brilliant moments but I think it would be a real winner if it was shorter and the number of characters was reduced. I just have a feeling that the potentials of this gorgeous plot has not been made use of.
It was full of imagination and creative, a book different to any other books, filled with many interesting characters, beautiful descriptions, luminous writing, complex plot and beautifully written, and even though it was not this what I was expecting, it was still a wonderful read and a great escape into the fictional world.

The Not So Perfect Plan to Save a Friendship House by Lilly Bartlett

The Not So Perfect Plan to Save a Friendship House by Lilly Bartlett



40813139Publisher: Harper Impulse

Publishing Date: 31st August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 229

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback






Meet Phoebe, who’s 28, and Laney, Dot and Maggie, who are 68, 78, and none of your business. Together they’ll prove that age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship, belonging and an unquenchable zest for life.

A hilarious, uplifting novel about the ties of community, the strength of love and how nobody is truly ordinary.

When Framlingham’s famously all-female senior living home goes co-ed, a war between the sexes is declared.

Stuck in the middle, chef Phoebe Stockton is desperate to help her friends plot to keep the community that means so much to them. It’s become her life raft, too. She finds comfort in her beloved career that might finally make her parents proud. But Phoebe’s darling Nick is lining up on the other side of the battle, and their relationship is suffering collateral damage.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. If the home’s owner can’t improve business by moving the men in, he’ll have to evict everyone.

The women aren’t about to let that happen.

Rating: three-stars

Phoebe is a chef at all-female senior living home. She loves her job and she loves the home’s residents, so when the new owner Max concocts a plan of opening its doors to male residents as well, together with her best friend June – and the women at home! – she decides to do something against it. She also works hard to make her parents proud of her, and there is also Nick – can there be a happy end for them?

Personally I had a problem with Phoebe. I just couldn’t warm to her, and sadly it didn’t change throughout the whole book. The way she was everywhere around the house was for me a little confusing because well, she was a cook, right, not a manager or something like this and I just couldn’t stop thinking that she was just meddling, she just wanted to know everything. I could understand her being a part of the Book Club but her taking part in all the confidential meetings? For me – too strange. Also, I couldn’t help the feel that she’s very pushy, that she’s expecting all people to like her and do as she wishes. The way she was around Nick – though it can also go the other way round because Nick was not much better – was incredibly childish, she was assuming things and she also was expecting things without telling a word. Phoebe’s family was also not the most charming one, what with her father’s first questions when she came to visit was what food did she bring this time for example. The whole thing with her mother who seemed not to value and appreciate her daughter’s job – why can’t you simply tell your daughter that you’re proud of her, instead leaving her in the belief that she’s a disappointment to you? Somehow strange, somehow not working for me.
The promised plan to save the Friendship House appeared on the pages somewhere around the middle – relatively late for my liking. Except for one or two chapters where the characters tried to sabotage the owner’s new plan there was actually nothing more on this subject. Sadly – it could be brilliantly refreshing. Some of the things happened so out of the blue, like the chapter when Phoebe meets Bill – it happened so suddenly and only because it was needed for the rest of the story, to complicate things a little – so convenient.

The intrigue was such a great idea however it lacked in execution, but throughout we got to know the residents of the house much better – and it doesn’t happen often but personally I think that the characters in this book were better developed than the plot – , together with their secrets and often poignant pasts. But there are also other things to keep you hooked to the pages, as there is are also some romances with happy – or not – endings, some broken hearts, some family secrets and lies.

It was this kind of book where – unfortunately – synopsis is better than the story. I loved this blurb and I started reading this book with great expectation, hoping for brilliant antics and fun. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m expecting too much but if a book doesn’t work for me then it simply doesn’t work. altogether it was a light and uplifting read about friendship and second chances, about accepting people just as they are. If you like your characters to be a little overdone and for the things to go smoothly with a few predictable twists and turns, then don’t hesitate and go for this book. It has this feel – good factor to it and the background characters – the residents of the house – are wonderful, colourful bunch of characters, with their foibles and habits, that add tons of humour to this book.


Lush by Gabrielle Fernie

Lush by Gabrielle Fernie



39204431Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 16th August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






adj. Very rich and providing great sensory pleasure (Oxford English Dictionary)
n. A habitual drunkard (Oxford English Dictionary)

‘Arms linked, just as we did when we were seventeen, we teeter our way to the club, pausing to tug Emma’s stiletto out of a drain cover and sling our empty wine bottle into the bin. For the first time in a long while I feel truly happy. I want to be standing arm-in-arm with my best friend, both completely pole-axed, for the rest of my days. And then it comes to me, with a stab: this is possibly our last night out together as free women…’

Gabby and Emma have been best friends since primary school in Wales. Emma has a stable job, a nice home and has just got engaged. Gabby has had a succession of disastrous one-night-stands and five awful jobs since drama school . . . and she has just been diagnosed with scurvy. She has one year until the wedding to pull herself together and prove to her friends and family that she can be a proper grown-up.

Described by Caitlin Moran as ‘filthy, immoral and incredibly funny’, Gabrielle Fernie’s blog,, catalogued her life as a struggling actress with a taste for gin. Here, in her first book, she shares more of her most raucous stories with eye-watering honesty. It is a refreshing, frank and laugh-out-loud account of a young woman trying to find her place in the world; ultimately realising that it’s fine to play at being an adult until she properly figures it out.

Rating: three-stars

Gabby and Emma are best friends. While Emma has just got engaged and has a stable life, Gabby is working in a job that she hates, she dreams of being an actress (she has finished a drama school!) and goes on one disastrous date after disastrous date. However, she promises herself to grow up in time for Emma’s wedding.

I’ve requested “Lush” after reading the synopsis – I loved it. I’m already not in the author’s age range but well, I still remember some of the antics and troubles I’ve got myself into and you really don’t want to know where I threw up once. Those were the times…
However this book didn’t work for me, sadly. Gabrielle, our main character in this novel, wanted to change. So far, so good but a) I didn’t fully get why she wants to change – only because her best mate is getting married?, b) why write a book about it. There are many, many people out there living the same life as Gabrielle so, theoretically, they all could also write a book about their (miss)adventures? Blame it on my age, please, but some of the antics and Gabrielle’s approach didn’t make me laugh, they made me cringe – sometimes if felt much too overdone and as if the author has really tried too hard. Partly, it wasn’t funny anymore for me. However, I absolutely appreciate the fact how honest it was, and, in some ways, relatable.

But. I of course can so well understand that this book is going to speak tons with the younger audience. It so brutally honestly shows how it is to try and fail, to try again and to fail again but still not give up. The writing style was hilarious, engaging, sharp and hooking and the story itself was partly funny and partly touching and some of Gabrielle’s adventures were hilarious, I especially liked the TV episode or the bootcamp part. So even if I’m in two minds about this book, I’m sure that if you’re in your 20’s, you’re going to enjoy this memoirs about being single. Yes, hands up, it rang a bit to my own experiences, and I’m really glad to have read this book, even if it turned out that it’s not the perfect read for me, but you’d better try it for yourself.

The Book Ninja by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus

The Book Ninja by Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus



40185858Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 9th August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Paperback





**Could you find your perfect man by looking at his book shelf?** 
Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person. It’s not that she hasn’t tried – Frankie is the queen of online dating. But she has had enough.
Deciding to embark on the ultimate dating experiment, inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Bookshop, Frankie places her hope in her favourite books to find her the perfect man… Secretly planting copies on trains, trams and buses, Frankie hopes to find the man of her dreams through a mutual love of good books.
But one spontaneous kiss later and Frankie begins to fall for a guy called Sunny. There’s just one tiny problem – Frankie is strictly a Jane Austen kind of woman and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Seriously, obsessively into it…
Can Frankie overcome her book snobbery for the man of her dreams? Or will she be left searching the trains for her modern-day Mr Darcy forever?

Rating: three-stars

Frankie Rose works at Little Brunswick Bookshop together with her best friend Cat. With her love life being totally in the dumps, she decides to try an experiment – she starts to leave some of her favourite books, with a little note with her name and phone number, on the trains. She hopes for men to read the book, see the note and contact her – well, you can already see what’s coming, right? So Frankie starts a blog, where she writes about her dates, that soon turns into a very popular one.
In the meantime, Frankie also meets a very attractive Sunny Day (I know. I KNOW), who also seems to like her. The first time they meet Frankie kisses him accidentally on his nose, but it also turns out that he reads YA fiction – he can’t be Frankie’s perfect match, can he?

The idea of finding a boyfriend through leaving books with a note in it all around Melbourne was a brilliant one. I think if the story focused on this, on the dates, and ignoring some of the other issues, it would be a much better read. It’s just, with all those things that were supposed to entertain us, to complicate the story it felt as if the authors have tried much too much and they have overdone. Some of the things were simply tasteless and I was all the time wondering why they’re there at all, what’s the point, some were bonkers, like Frankie’s parents, but this kind of bonkers, that’s just weird, just doesn’t work for me.

I think those few dates that Frankie got herself, and then the full blog posts about them were the strongest elements of this novel. Because the dates were hilarious and my favourite date was the one with people on the pictures looking like the third cousin – it was brilliant.

The problem was that I also couldn’t warm to the characters, couldn’t connect with them and, simply, probably just didn’t get them. Theirs was sadly not my kind of humour and I seem to see world in different ways to them. I don’t want to mention what it is that bothers me so much as I don’t want to spoil the reading for you but those who have read the book will certainly know what I’m talking about – I mean here especially Cat and also Frankie and her double life. I was also wondering what’s the point of some of the characters – to show how lovely and beloved Frankie was? How popular among 17 – year – old boys?
Frankie and Cat were working brilliantly together and they complemented each other. Their friendship was easy and genuine and I really appreciated it, even if they were not flawless and I didn’t understand some of their choices. Frankie was very accident prone and this feature of hers often got her into even more troubles and embarrassing situation. She also liked to jump to conclusions very much and rather be offended than simply talk. And she’s a real book snob, which didn’t sit so well with me. Do not judge a book by its cover and do not judge people on the genre they’re reading, pretty please Frankie.

Altogether “The Book Ninja” was a light – hearted read about finding love not exactly there where we’re looking for. I thought it’s going to be a kind of a bookish haven for such a bookworm like yours truly but it left me rather cold. There was a lot of banter about books, and there are many references to books – old and new ones – which was a real thrill. It was entertaining read, even if sometimes it stretched credibility, really verged on the ridiculous and too overdone. But if you’re looking for a funny and light read, then try “The Book Ninja”.

How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt (Blog Tour)

How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt


37806850Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 28th June 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 4384

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 20.09.2018)





From the author of bestselling phenomenon Daughter comes a thrilling exploration of a marriage consumed by ambition and revenge . . .

The perfect couple

Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband; an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.

The perfect marriage

Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.

The perfect storm

So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge . . .

She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.

But how far will the fall take them?


My Review


Albie and Beth are married. Unknown to Albie, Beth has had a relationship with Albie’s boss, Ted, that ended rather dramatically. Between Albie and Ted, they have potentially found a cure for a fatal children brainstem tumour, however Albie doesn’t know what to think when Ted starts to take credits for his development, discoveries and hard work – Ted is more than a boss to Albie, he’s his mentor and friend, so he’s really hurt. This is where Beth senses her chance for a revenge – but is this going to change her and Albie’s lives for ever? How far will they fall?

The characters in this book were not the most likeable ones. They were all full of flaws, keeping secrets and telling lies and in fact not a single one of them would hesitate to bring the others down in the name of their career or revenge. But I think that Ted was the most obstinate of them all, being at the top of his game and being able to do anything to remain there. The story is mostly told from Beth and Albie’s points of view. Right from the beginning we know that something happened to Beth and she’s seeking revenge. We can also have a guess what it was that happened and with whom, and all my suspicions were confirmed. Beth was dreaming of a career as a surgeon but she’s a theatre nurse, however right now she’s enjoying her life, spending most of her time in her garden. Albie is a surgeon, working hard on finding a cure for cancer. Meeting him was like a fresh start for her – however here, guys, I am still not sure if Beth truly loved Albie from the beginning, or was it only the awareness that he was Ted’s best friend that made Albie interesting for her? Nevertheless, their characters were not too straightforward and it was so very well described how they affect each other. However, she brilliantly showed how human her main characters are – how lost they are, how helpless in the world and angry, but also how calculating they can be. Shemilt captured in an incredibly great way the conflicts of the characters, how tangled they felt, how important loyalty was to them and how far would they go to not inflict problems.
However, I think I’ve never warmed to any of them. They might have been in relationships and had feeling to each other but somehow they came across as clinical and without emotions, without conscience. I just didn’t get them fully – as well as the end, that didn’t sit with me at all.

But I don’t know guys, I can’t put my finger on what it was but I just felt confused by this story. However, it was a read with a difference and I can certainly say that never before have I read a story like this. It was confusing for me, yes, but it also was intense and interesting. It was dark and mysterious, and there were many moments that it was too medical for my liking, with many, many very detailed descriptions of procedures. There was also the case of the rats, like in animal testing, and while it felt really uncomfortable, hats off to the author for pulling it off like this, giving all the options and presenting both points of view, those of the researchers and those of the petitioners, without judging them. But back to this medical stuff – it was very literal and especially some of the descriptions of operations were really realistic. and I mean, really.

“How Far We Fall” was a thought – provoking story about ethics, morals and how far we – yes – fall to get our revenge. About power and revenge and ambition. It wasn’t predictable, oh no, on the contrary, I had no idea how it will proceed and in which direction it’s going to take us. The author has incredible way with words, the story is written in simple, short sentences but they’re exceptionally eloquent and she easily brings to life all the things she writes about. You’re going to feel hate, uncertainty, repulsion, anger and compassion. It was slow – burning but multi – layered. Tense and taut, and full of provocative questions about ethics and the author has created a claustrophobic, dark and heavy atmosphere and complex, multi – layered story. Recommended!




A Winter Retreat at the Paris Cheese Shop by Victoria Brownlee

A Winter Retreat at the Paris Cheese Shop by Victoria Brownlee


39294807Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 3rd May 2018

Series: The Paris Cheese Shop #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 69

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle




Who needs love when you can eat cheese?

Heartbroken and on the cusp of turning 30, Ella decides to pack her bags and move to Paris, somewhere she had visited when she was a different, more adventurous person.

It’s on the streets of beautiful, romantic City of Light that she finds her heart’s true desire: cheese. For Ella, her local fromagerie becomes a safe haven and she finds herself being drawn back there day after day.

But in a strange city, being friendless and not able to speak the language, has she bitten off more than she can chew?

A heart-warming and joyful romance, for fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Sophie Kinsella.

Rating: three-stars

“A Winter Retreat at the Paris Cheese Shop” is the first instalment in the four parts “The Paris Cheese Shop” series by a brand new and very promising author Victoria Brownlee. It quickly sets the scene and introduces us to Ella who, like many, many other literature heroines, thinks she’s living a dream with her boyfriend in the sunny Melbourne and lovely apartment, making plans for the future and waiting for THE question to be popped. However, as it often happens, everything suddenly changes. After quickly coming to terms with the new situation, Ella finds herself in Paris, starting her new life there.

It was the cover of this novel that made me click the “request” button – it’s simply gorgeous, I just love the pastel colours. Well, this and the fact that it’s about cheese, and not about another shop selling cupcakes or another bakery – big brownie points for choosing cheese as the snack here!
The characters’ introduction seemed very, very brief and very, very quick, actually everything in this novella happened like a flash. There was not will they/won’t they, should she/shouldn’t she and so on, no, there was the idea and its immediate realisation. I couldn’t help thinking that Ella would do much, much better without Paul, who came across as very selfish and unlikeable. I can’t say much about Ella herself, to be honest, as I just have a feeling that I wasn’t given the chance to get to know her yet. But she seems a nice, determined girl who hasn’t forgotten how to be spontaneous and how to enjoy life.

Everything in this short story happened very conveniently and run smoothly, there weren’t any twists or surprises. The writing was very easy to follow but I was missing some depth to it and I didn’t warm to it completely but I do hope that in the next parts the missing “something” is going to appear on the pages – because this novella left me wanting to read the next parts to see what’s going to happen.