About Last Night… by Catherine Alliott / #tacklingmytbrpile

About Last Night … by Catherine Alliott

 

Publisher: Michael Joseph 32872657._sy475_

Publishing Date: 25th April 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adults)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The funny, enthralling and heartwarming story of a woman who gets a second chance in life – but will she have the courage to take it?

Molly has moved from London to rural Herefordshire chasing the Good Life. Swapping the tube for the saddle, she is living the country dream. Apart from it isn’t really her dream. It’s her husband David’s. And David is, well, rather dead now.

Then a distant relative of her late husband kicks the bucket, leaving a London townhouse in her possession, and Molly dares to consider chucking it all in. Quitting the Good Life and going back to her good life. But there’s a problem. A rather tall, handsome problem. In the shape of a man already living in Molly’s new house. And when a face appears from her past, Molly is more confused than ever. Will Molly’s London dream replace her muddy reality?

Do any of the men in her life really have honourable intentions? And has she said goodbye to country life too soon?

Rating: five-stars

 

Molly Faulkner has been a widow for five years already, living in a ramshackle house on a farm that actually is not a farm, with her three children: Lucy, Minna and Nico. The farm has been her husband’s David dream and because Molly owed it to him, she decided to change her life and move with him to Hertfordshire. But then he suddenly died, leaving her in the mess, constantly struggling for money, raising lambs, selling horses and lavender soap and underwear, anything that will keep the (friendly, thanks God!) bailiff away. Nevertheless, the bills start piling and Molly struggles to make ends meet, especially as all the animals are verging on elderly and are always in need for a vet, and the local vet ist he best, sure, but his bills are astronomical. Moreover, he dislikes Molly since she stood him up for a date, which was absolutely not like that because Molly simply forgot that she’s supposed to go on a date with him… But then, out of the blue and totally unexpectedly, Molly inherits not only a small fortune but also a house in London. And when she also meets Felix, the handsome art dealer, is her life finally going to change for better?

The characters were absolutely brilliant, larger than life, jumping off the pages and authentic. Molly’s family is hilarious, starting with the interfering, fortune telling in a caravan mother and the bossy, judging children. Yes, Molly’s children grated on me a little but on the other hand they were also incredibly sharp and amusing, and so I’m not going to debate over their rudeness to their mother. I think the author here has really well captured the dynamics in this family, because there comes an age when the children think they know all better and are not afraid to say so loudly while their parents simply keep their mouth shut because they are those who know better, and one day the children realise it. It was actually funny to see the role reversal, the children and Molly swapping places in looking after each other.
Molly is so well written that you can easily sympathise with her and her feelings and emotions. Her life is a chaos: after David has died only six weeks after they moved to the country, she stayed there for his sake, feeling she ows him this. The house is a mess, the animals are a mess, the children are a mess, with opinionated Lucy living in London, Minna having her heart broken all the time over and over again by the local lothario and Nico hanging around the house with his mates, drinking and smoking weed, and the bills piling up. I immediately warmed to Molly. Sometimes she was more than gullible, sometimes she was a doormat, sometimes she was overhwlmed with her children and her life, sometimes she was much too naive but on the whole she made me laugh out loud and this naivety of hers made her even more likeable.

I think this is this kind of book that you must be able to read between the lines and not take everything so literally. I absolutely enjoyed it, even though there were moments that I felt truly desperate with Molly and her decisions – really, she was making more wrong decisions that I can count but that was Molly for you. There were also moments that the book dragged a bit and the humour felt a little too forced but on the whole the book kept me entertained and laughing at the characters’ antics. I loved the humour there, it was clever, sarcastic and not so obvious.

There is so much going on in this book but the author has everything under control, and the events are flying, there is all the time something going on, yet you don’t feel overwhelmed or confused. The writing style is just my cup of tea, quick, sharp and straight to the point, with brilliant, witty dialogues. Till the end you can’t be sure how it’s going to end, to be honest. And I absolutely loved the potential romance candidates’ thread in this book. The book had plenty of laugh – out – loud moments and believe me, I’ll be checking twice what I wear before I ride a horse again. I loved the country side of the book. I myself am more of a country girl, and I really liked how well the author has captured all the ups and downs of having your own land with animals and how difficult and hard it is sometimes to look after them and what this looking after them really involves.

„About Last Night…“ is a story about second chances, regrets and overcoming them, about trust and finding what is really important in life. It’s about the importance of friendship and family. And it’s not only fun, fun, fun, there were more serious moment as well, feeling of sadness and nostalgia brilliantly mixed with the more humorous ones. It’s a great read that I highly recommend!

A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott / Blog Tour

A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott

 

43805734Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 13th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 448

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Flora’s been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he’s been married to someone else for the past fifteen . . .

Now she’s been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.

There’s just one small snag: she’ll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.

And Flora discovers she’s not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags.

Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families with the woman who stole her husband’s heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it?

Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

If you like Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella, you’ll love this heartwarming read.

Rating: four-stars

 

Flora is a single mother, divorced for 17 years already but still crazy in love with her ex – husband Hugo, even though he’s married to his second wife for 15 years and they have twins. Nevertheless, Hugo remains a large part of her, and their son Peter, lives, taking care about his education and holidays. Now Flora is about to return to Cornwall, to Hugo’s family home, as she has been commissioned to paint a portrait of her former father – in – law. Soon it turns out that it’s more a family and friends reunion, as there are literally everybody significant to the Bellingdons’ life. But forced to confront her feelings to Hugo, Flora is going to discover some hidden family secrets.

The book introduced us at the beginning to many characters – and I really mean, many – but incredibly quickly I got to grips with them and didn’t have any problem with identifying who is who and to whom they belong in the family dynamics, so really hats off to the author for making it as uncomplicated as possible. Flora is the main one and the whole book is told from her point of view but it works. Though I must admit there were plenty of moments that I have found her frustrating, watching her living half a life and waiting for something that was impossible to happen. But altogether, she was likeable, even believable, kind and funny.

It is a relative slow burner. It felt as if the first half was this long introduction but providing us with this much needed information, dynamics, relationships for the second half that, thanks to that, felt much quicker to read. Although I must admit that it took me only one day to read this book – yes, admittedly, I had time to do nothing than read (finally!) but also it kept me glued to the pages, I simply wanted to know what’s going to happen and I was engrossed in the story. It was absorbing, and set against the lovely, vividly and colourfully described Cornish coastal setting, the writing flowing beautifully and leading to a rather satisfying conclusion.

I wouldn’t describe this book, like in the blurb, as “hilarious” romantic comedy. Yes, it was light – hearted, easily written and it had its moments, but it also touched upon some much more serious issues and the general tone was steady and maybe not deliberate but also not too light. What I missed was the promised tangled web of relationships. I was hoping for more interactions between the ex – wife, the present wife and the mother – in – law, I actually expected pulling hair out and deceiving each other. Some more interaction happened at the end of the story but, to be honest, I would love more. Also, as a horse lover I adored the scenes where the characters were riding out, the descriptions of horses and their habits but, totally frankly, the fox hunt for example went on and on, and I think, do I need to know, blow by blow, the chase, who did what and when?

Altogether, “A Cornish Summer” was a captivating, rich in details and descriptions story with an epic bunch of characters that you adore or love to hate, about old friendships, a great family saga with some twists that I didn’t see coming, with sailing, horse – riding, painting and finding love there where you’re not looking. It was full of secrets, lies, manipulation and social expectations that mixed altogether made a brilliant, perfect summer read, holiday escapism, with a great sense of place, about confronting your feelings, moving with your life. It’s perhaps not the most light – hearted romance, as the subject matter is quite serious, but everything works really well. Truly recommended!

 

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