Escape to the Country by Alison Sherlock / Blog Tour

Escape to the Country by Alison Sherlock

 

39423188Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st May 2018

Series: Welcome to Willow Tree Hall #2

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

Number of pages: 458

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Everyone is running away from something – but will an escape to the countryside suit everyone? Full of warmth, laughter tears and heartache. Perfect for the fans Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews.

Journalist Eleanor McCartney leads a glamorous life in London exposing the sordid secrets of famous celebrities for Hot Gossip! magazine. But her perfect life is a sham. So when her world collapses, she has to reluctantly head home to her mum and friends in the quiet country village of Cranley.

Willow Tree Hall is still in the midst of extensive renovations under the careful eye of Eleanor’s best friend Annie and her fiancé, record producer and future Earl of Cranley, Sam Harris.

With a recording studio now in the grounds of the estate, it should be the perfect place for global singing sensation Tom Kingsley to hang out. But Tom is burnt out after a gruelling worldwide tour and is escaping the paparazzi after yet another scandal. Eleanor cannot believe her luck. A story on the world’s biggest superstar would be the ticket that gets her job and glamorous life back in London.

But soon both Eleanor and Tom begin to fall under the spell of Willow Tree Hall. Eleanor begins to wonder whether she can really betray his trust. And does she really want her old life back or is home really where the heart lies?

As a heatwave soars, friendships are made, truths are told and, with the help of a stray dog, perhaps love can be found as hearts are healed. By escaping to the country, maybe Eleanor and Tom have found their new beginning.

Rating: four-stars

This is the second book in the “Welcome to Willow Tree Hall” series and it introduces us to new characters but also some of the old ones that we got to know in the previous book are on the scenes as well. The first book, “A House to Mend a Broken Heart”, introduces us to Annie, the housekeeper to an Earl of Cranley, Arthur. Even though “Escape to the Country” is a sequel, it focuses on new characters who also fall under the spell of the beautiful Willow Tree Hall, and it can be read as a stand – alone.

After eight years of doing her job as a celebrity journalist Eleanor gets herself fired. Moreover, she also breaks up with her boyfriend, so the only thing that she can do right now is come back home to help her mum who’s broken her leg. Only a good story about a big name could get her back in the game but well, it’s not London where she’s living now, right? It’s only a tiny village. However, as it turns out, a big rock star lives currently at Willow Tree Hall, and who runs it? Only Eleanor’s best friend Annie! Is Eleanor going to revive her career with the unwitting help of Tom?

The characters were – again – really well developed. As I have already mentioned, there were characters from the previous book, Annie and Sam, Arthur and Rose, and it was really nice to get a glimpse into their lives as well, to see what they’re doing after their stories ended, and they didn’t disappoint, especially Rose with her antics and a corset – and they still had a story to tell, which was a double bonus. I liked how down to earth Alison Sherlock has created her celebrity. Tom was very understated and I liked his approach, he loved his music, and writing songs and he didn’t abuse his position. Eleanor is a celebrity journalist and her career is actually on a bad patch and well, she’s fired. Only a good story can save her career and as hers and Tom’s paths accidentally cross she hopes it could be his story.

It was a story about rediscovering the important things in life, to finding the real sense and depth of life and what’s important is usually hidden deep under the surface. It was warm and light – hearted, for me personally though the book could be much shorter. There were much too many moments for my liking that were dragging on and I just had a feeling that many chapters were added only to make the book longer, as there was nothing in particular happening, they were telling the same thing in other words. Nevertheless, it was a nice enough read about families, relationships and values, about realising what is really important and that sometimes it’s better to give up. It also touched upon second chances and new beginnings, so there was really something for all readers to find.It was funny yet wise, and I really liked this mix, it was perfectly blended. Sure, it was predictable, you knew from the very beginning how it’s going to end and what twists are going to try to complicate the characters’ lives but sometimes it’s nice to read such uncomplicated – and I mean in a very positive way – tale of friendship and values. Recommended!

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A House to Mend a Broken Heart by Alison Sherlock – #BlogTour

Hi guys, me again, with a new blog tour for you today! And guess who are we celebrating right now? Yesss! The lovely Alison Sherlock, who’s finally back with a new release, and really guys, it was worth to wait those three years! “A House to Mend a Broken Heart” is just typical, lovely and inviting story and if you are in a need of some relaxing moments, do not hesitate and read this novel!

A House to Mend a Broken Heart by Alison Sherlock

34813884Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st July 2017

Series:  Willow Tree Hall #1

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

Number of pages: 348

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Everyone is hiding from something…

Full of warmth, laughter, tears and heartache. Find out if there is a happy-ever-after at Willow Tree Hall. Perfect for the fans of Milly Johnson and Lucy Diamond.

Willow Tree Hall has seen much better days and has been the proud ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Cranley for centuries.

With no qualifications and escaping her past Annie Rogers takes the job as housekeeper to widowed Arthur, the charming current Earl of Cranley. After a bad fall puts Arthur in hospital, it’s up to a reluctant heir apparent Sam Harris, to lend a helping hand and try to find a sustainable future for the Estate.

With the house requiring a full renovation Annie suddenly finds herself completely out of her depth with a team of dodgy builders and Sam watching critically from the side-lines.

With Sam running from his past and Annie hiding from hers, just maybe together they can bring Willow Tree Hall back to life.

The start of a beautiful new series focusing on the lives and loves, trial and tribulations of all those who live and work at Willow Tree Hall.

Rating: four-stars

Oh boy, guys, it is already three years since Alison Sherlock has published a new book! Amazing… I’ve read all of Alison’s previous books and loved all of them, so having seen she finally has a new book out was like getting an earlier birthday present – there is always so much warmth to Ms Sherlock’s writing, and the stories are simple but always very uplifting. I really couldn’t wait to start reading “A House to Mend a Broken Heart”.

The stately home Willow Tree Hall was a character itself in this story. I really liked to see all the refreshing changes being done to it, and I loved how much the characters adored the house, how they loved it and couldn’t imagine living somewhere else. Of course, not all of them, and Alison Sherlock has truly well captured the difference between the generations and their argumentation, and really, you could see the reasons of both sides. I could understand that not all young people are interested in inheriting stately home, look after it and its tenants, that they had other ideas for their lives, but I also could understand the older generation who wanted the places to stay in the families. The characters were not too complicated or too complex, but as the whole story was relatively simple it just worked perfectly and there was enough depth and background to them to just fall for them. Annie was lovely and she wore her heart on her sleeve, although there were moments that she seemed so indecisive and doubting in herself and they were annoying, those moments, even though we knew where all those insecurity was coming from.
Sam, well, Sam. To be honest at the very beginning of the book I was dead sure that I know how it’s going to end and who’s going to be Annie’s love interest, but I was wrong. I think that I fell a little bit in love with Sam, especially in the second part of the book where he started to show his real self and turned out to be the perfect guy. But what I liked most in the characters was that they were developing, not staying in place.
I also adored the background characters, well, maybe with the exception of Cassandra, but there is no way you can like Cassandra, she was made by the author to be disliked, but the rest of them, Arthur, Alex or especially Sam Aunt’s Rose, were colourful and vivid, I personally think that there was more life in them as in Annie, but pssst, Annie was also lovely. I really liked how Rose liked to shock Will and Sam with her stories and telling them what she was up to, and her passion to her vintage clothes was shining through the pages.

Annie and Sam’s stories weren’t rushed and they were developing in just the right way, with the right amount of bits being revealed about their backgrounds, letting us understand what made them and what makes them tick. This relationship was slowly developing and growing and I liked it, because it was not too wishy – washy, too sweet, it just felt realistic.

There were moments that felt too far – fetched for my liking, for example with Cassandra, the way she treated people and how quickly her thread has ended, and the way the big music mogul Sam has managed to hire the first builder he set his eyes on to renovate the house, and maybe I’d love to see some more twists and turns, as the story was on a very steady level, but altogether I really enjoyed it. I love Alison Sherlock’s writing style, it is warm and inviting, that was getting better and better with the story progressing, and I didn’t have any problems to feel a part of the story.

So yes, altogether the story maybe was a little clichéd and predictable, but you know what? It didn’t bother me so much this time because it just worked – all the elements worked well together. It was an easy, adorable read with likeable characters, a prefect mix of funny and poignant. The ending seemed a little too rushed for my liking and when at the beginning it was so hard and difficult with the house, at the end it seemed as if it was renovating itself but “A House to Mend a Broken Heart” really was a lovely, peaceful story about families, second chances, expectations, hope and love – a brilliant, uplifting mix of romance, drama and fun. Recommended!

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