Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn / Blog Tour

Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster43537210

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 455

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of A Year at the Star and Sixpence, perfect for all fans of Cathy Bramley and Jenny Colgan.

Roaring fires, cosy nooks and friendly locals, welcome back to the perfect village pub… 
It’s September and the new season is bringing change to the village of Little Monkham. Nessie has moved in with the lovely Owen and his son Luke, leaving her sister Sam next door in their renovated pub, the Star and Sixpence. But is all change for the good? Sam and Joss have gone their separate ways and he’s left Little Monkham for good.
New chef Gabriel Santiago is causing a flutter among the women of the village but Sam is determined not to make the same mistake again and keeps things strictly business between them. But an inconvenient attraction to Gabe is the least of Sam’s worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the Star and Sixpence. Who is Laurie Marsh and what does he want from the sisters?

Rating: five-stars

 

“Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence” is the follow up to “A Year at the Star and Sixpence” and covers a year in the lives of Nessie and Sam. It takes us back to Little Monham and the lovely, atmospheric village pub. Nessie has moved in with Owen and Sam is staying at the pub but not alone, as the sisters have just hired the Michelin star chef Gabe. Nessie’s love life is stabilized but Sam’s not, and what with Gabe, who’s not only the top notch chef but is incredibly handsome, and lives in the pub as well… But after what has happened with Joss, Sam is cautious – or isn’t she? The sisters also discover a new member of the family – but is he the one he claims to be?

I loved being back in Little Monkham, with all the quirky, warm characters, it was great to see how they were getting on and what has changed for them. There were some better changes, there were some heart – breaking moments for them, but they were written in a way that I was experiencing it all together with them. I loved Nessie and Sam’s closeness and it was so sad to watch them experiencing all the things, not being able to open to each other when they went through really tough times. Gabe is not the only new character in the book, but in comparison to the other one he was absolutely adorable and I liked him from the word go, with him being a little snippy but nevertheless always fair and honest – which I can’t say about the other character, and I’m sure he’s going to make you pretty suspicious, just like me.
The community spirit felt even stronger this time, as the girls settled in the village, all rallying around each other – it was so heart – warming and nice to see.

The pub goes from strength to strength (just like Holly’s writing and storytelling!), it’s like a character of its own, and I loved all the events the two sisters were organizing. The pub itself was, again, so inviting, a lovely, cosy place to spend time, and it was even better at the end when Sam adopted a dog.

It was a wonderful, cosy and comfortable read – simple like that. Holly Hepburn has managed to capture the lovely atmosphere and the overall feeling of this book is so uplifting, and not all authors can write like this – there was this “something” that is so difficult to describe but that makes the makes outstanding and perfect. This time it was a real roller – coaster journey full of emotions, touching upon so many poignant, difficult but also much lighter issues – family, friendship, grief, opening to each other, lies and secrets, and this all wrapped up in vivid, rich descriptions. Holly has amazing way with words, and she captured all of the emotions in such a way that I suffered and enjoyed together with the characters. And the addition of Gabe was a perfect idea, though don’t read the book when you’re on a diet – his food sounded delicious! A gorgeous summer read – highly recommended!

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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A Year at Castle Court by Holly Hepburn

A Year at Castle Court by Holly Hepburn

 

39859029Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 27th December 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 480

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The brand new novel from bestselling author Holly Hepburn, perfect for anyone who loves Jenny Colgan, Veronica Henry and Lucy Diamond.

Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester’s bustling streets.

They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn’t think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there’s support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb‘s cocktail bar on the third floor!

Rating: four-stars

In “A Year at Castle Court” two main characters, best friends Cat and Sadie, make their dream of owning and running a business together come true and start “Smart Cookies”, a shop specialising in selling hand – made biscuits. However, not all of the other businesses at Castle Court welcome them with open arms. There is a secret scandal, an almost ex – husband and many other troubles and challenges on the girls’ way to happiness.

I loved the friendship between Cat and Sadie, with all its ups and downs, supporting each other but also with the little conflicts, which only made it feel more realistic. They were both strong women and life was not a bed of roses for them. However, I think that I could relate more to Sadie, no particular reason why, just because. I wanted to give her a standing ovation for the way she has proceeded with the situation with her husband, not immediately jumping at the chance and making her life comfortable again, oh no, she’d rather followed her intuition and decided to give it time, which, let’s be honest, doesn’t happen often, right? Cat and Sadie were going from strength to strength, deciding to set up their own business, overcoming the reluctance of some of the neighbours from the close – knit community of Castle Court, and generally dealing with many, many challenges that life decided to face them with. They were strong and independent and I liked that they didn’t look for a man at any cost, that they were ambitious but also they weren’t afraid to ask for help when they needed it, and in the end their successes were their own.

The setting in this book was simply brilliant. I adored Castle Court, with all the little shops and businesses, and as much as I’d love to stop there by, it would be dangerous for my shape. As opposed to many, many other books where the characters open either a bakery or make cupcakes, Sadie and Cat specialise in biscuits, wonderfully decorated biscuits. I have to admit, after reading the book, I’ve spent a lot of time watching blogs or films on YouTube and incredibly admiring the art of icing. The things people can create, it’s simply amazing, and Sadie was exactly like that. Now I can even better imagine all those little wonders that she concocted, although they were of course so vividly described by the author – the colours, the ideas, it was simply fabulous and delicious.

The thing that didn’t sit so well with me was the fact that all the twists were solved in few sentences, at least in the same chapter. I like when there is a little tension and not knowing what’s going to happen, when the events stretch out through the story. I understand that the book was initially published as a four – parts series so probably it needed the quick action, but in a full – length story it just simply doesn’t work so well for me. And there were moments that I really missed the plot to develop, just like with the restaurant next door for example and the way the character just got away with it – it was as if the author simply didn’t have an idea how to continue this thread, which is a pity to be honest.

The story is full of little dramas, that usually happened so quickly and unexpectedly, keeping the pace aloft but also small wins and successes. You could really say that it was action packed and the characters have more than enough on their plates, and sometimes I simply couldn’t stop thinking, oh no, not this, please let them take a breath! Altogether, “A Year at Castle Court” was a lovely story about having confidence and courage and not giving up. It was a light – hearted read and I really enjoyed reading about the close – knit community, about the friendship and the dramas. Holly Hepburn’s writing style is so bright and optimistic, eloquent and colourful and it’s a joy to read her books, so I can only recommend this book to you – go an treat yourself!

 

The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn

The Picture House by the Sea by Holly Hepburn

 

35716672Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre:   Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The brilliant new series from the bestselling author of The Star and Sixpence series. Perfect for all fans of Cathy Bramley.
The little picturehouse by the sea is the Palace at Polwhipple – a lovely art deco cinema, nestled in front of azure Cornish seas. But it is long past its heyday now, and its only saving grace is Ferelli’s, the family run ice-cream concession in the foyer, which is widely known as the best ice cream for miles.
So when Ferdie, the owner of Ferelli’s, falls ill, his granddaughter Gina drops everything to come and help out. But when she arrives she is dismayed by the state of the cinema, which she remembers fondly from summer holidays when she was little, and she is determined to give it the makeover it deserves. Along with local builder Ben Pascoe, she sets about reviving the Palace to its former glory.
But the cinema needs more than a lick of paint. Its very future is under threat from a developer with greed in his eyes. Can Gina save the place before it is too late?

Rating: five-stars

 

“The Picture House by the Sea” is Holly Hepburn’s second full – length novel that I had a pleasure to read – because after reading and enjoying “A Year at the Star and Sixpence” I just knew I have to read the new one, no matter what. There is such a lovely feel – good vibe to this beautiful cover, don’t you think, it makes you want to go and visit the place pictured there, and the synopsis sounds so inviting – well, the story promises ice – creams and cinema, so nothing can go wrong there, right? What I personally loved in this book was the fact that the book didn’t feel like being previously published in parts – mostly, when the novel is first published in instalment, when you read it as a full – length there are many repetitions, which is understandable but often just bothers me. This time however it didn’t feel like that, and that’s a real brownie point.

The next thing that I really liked was the fact that each of the four parts of the story introduces us to a new old movie and even though I’m not a great cinema fan even I have heard (and seen!) those films, so I could really get into the atmosphere and I understood all the references or nicknames. Also, next to the films there is also a new ice – cream flavour and a cocktail being introduced and oh my words, guys…! They sounded so innovative, so different, so intriguing and so, so good! I would do lots to try them all, really.

Holly Hepburn has created brilliant, warm characters that you love or love to hate. Gina was lovely, she was full of passion and determination and she never gave up, even when life was getting in the way. Was there a thing she couldn’t do or organise? I don’t think so – impossible was nothing for our Gina, but in all this she came across as down – to – earth, normal young woman. I adored her ideas and how quickly she always got the feeling of what is needed to help. Ben is Gina’s friend from the times she was coming to her grandparents for holidays and now they catch up. Ben … *swoon*. Helpful, honest, with an unusual hobby of stream trains but at least it was something different and not so obvious. And of course all the background characters – full of good vibes, personalities and I just felt good in their company.

It was light, a little predictable read – but it didn’t spoil the reading this time because I was too caught up in the story for it to bother me. There were moments that I had a feeling the narration is going too far with descriptions or concentrating on things that are not so significant to the story but altogether the pace of the story was quick, there were many things happening, there were plenty of events and it kept me hooked to the pages. The writing was rich, vivid and colourful – you could really see why this art deco cinema used to be a local landmark and why Gina was so desperate to bring its brilliant days back – and the author brought all the ice – creams flavours to life and also the descriptions of the Picture House were detailed but full of charm and atmosphere.

Altogether, “The Picture House by the Sea” is really a lovely, warm and inviting story that has it all: vivid, living, bubbly characters, battles to fight, gorgeous setting, some romance and troubles. It’s about being determined, about not giving up, about friendship old and new and family bonds, and I truly enjoyed it. A perfect summer read, full of charm and vintage dresses and I can only highly recommend it to you all, guys!

A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

 

32944218Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 29th December 2016

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

Number of pages: 3517

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The perfect escapist read, for all fans of Cathy Bramley and Scarlett Bailey.
When sisters Nessie and Sam inherit a little pub in a beautiful country village they jump at the chance to escape their messy lives and start afresh. But when they arrive at the Star and Sixpence, it’s not quite what they imagined – it’s pretty much derelict, ruined by debts, and it’s going to be a huge job to get it up and running again. But they are determined to make the best of this new life and they set about making the pub the heart of the village once again. Their first year at the Star and Sixpence won’t be easy, though nothing worth doing ever is.
But when the sisters’ past comes back to haunt them, they start to think that the fresh start they needed is very far away indeed…

Rating: 4/5

So guys, this time I haven’t read the story when it was published as series but patiently, verrrry patiently waited for it to come out as one, big, gorgeous paperback – even though I am not against novels being published in instalments. There was really no reason why I wanted to read it as a whole, I just felt I can wait. I’ve already heard many good things about this book and I was really looking forward towards reading it, and let’s be honest for a moment, I immediately fell in love with this gorgeous cover as well.

So the story introduces us to sisters Nessie and Sam who have just inherited a pub in the countryside from their father – father that they haven’t seen or talked to for many, many years. However, they both decide that it’s time for something new, they both had some changes in their lives and so they soon find themselves running an idyllic pub and everything it involves – first of all, learning everything about running the pub, that’s it, and then all the amendments, power cuts, staff problems, winning the villagers over but also dealing with their own skeletons!

There are plenty of characters introduced to us in this novel, and there is this lovely feeling of community there as well. This is Little Monkham, a little village, where everybody knows everybody else and there is always one lady keeping all the strings in her iron fist and knowing why, where, who and with whom, and it was brilliantly captured in this novel – I totally bought it, even though I must have rolled my eyes once or twice, I was more like Sam there, taking things more with a pinch of salt but eventually accepting that some things will be done whether she liked it or not. But let’s come back to the characters – there were many of them but with this being a relatively long book it wasn’t so confusing or overwhelming. I loved some of the names, for example Father Goodluck, it’s a lovely name, isn’t it? The blacksmith Owen, cellar – man Joss Felstead… All the characters had their own stories to tell and they were really great developed, full of details, happy and sad moments and it was great that the author here and there was taking a break from the pub and the central characters of Sam and Nessie – even if they were lovely heroines! I love books about families, going into details about relationships between – this time – two sisters. Sam and Nessie were so different but both brilliant women and despite all those differences they loved each other and they were there to support each other. The dynamics between them were portrayed in such an effortless and realistic way, it was not only bed of roses but the girls had their misunderstandings, which only made the read much more realistic.

The author has nailed it with all the seasons or events perfectly and I’d love to spend a Halloween or summer fest at Star and Sixpence. Especially when a sexy celebrity is an added bonus! The blossoming romance aspects were full of twist and turns, there were more of them as on a winding road to be honest. The never ending will they/won’t they between Nessie and Owen could be annoying, as it took so much time and their attitude needed a lot of patience from the reader, but it was also incredibly sweet and innocent and it worked for me this time. I think it is because sometimes you just know that the characters are DESTINED to be together, so you’re willing to give them this little more time, even though you want to bang their heads together most of the time. No hard feelings!

I loved the sense of friendship and community in the story – it was so overwhelming that I immediately felt a part of this book, a part of Little Monkham. For such a small village it offered so much, starting with games of cricket, through wedding of the year to pub quizzes, with the pub always in the centre, and it all sounded so down to earth and so idyllic. There is so much love in the detailed descriptions of the pub, the author brought this place to life so effortlessly and I could easily see in my mind the interior or make myself comfortable and warm at the fireplace.

My only “but” is that some things were started, mentioned and then forgotten, or only shortly mentioned again. I know it did probably work well when the book was published in parts but in a story like this I like all the ends to be wrapped up and to know how exactly the situations were resolved, like for example this with Sam’s unfortunate affair (it’s nice to know that the person was rightly punished but I’d love to know what exactly happened), or Nessie’s ex – husband Patrick who so tamely agreed to Nessie’s decision, even though it looked like there was still a lot of fight to be done. There were moments that it felt too chopped and the things that were big and significant for the plot felt reduced.

“A Year at the Star and Sixpence” was a lovely, romantic, humorous and heart – warming novel, a great adventure with some really well developed characters. The world created by Holly Hepburn was inviting and warm and the story of the supposedly haunted pub, its locals and two sisters facing challenges in restoring it and bringing back to its glory allowed me for a few hours of a great escape. All the holidays, seasons and the small traditions were so lovely and captured with so much feeling. It is really a perfect book to snuggle up with in front of the fireplace, with a mug of hot chocolate. I found myself involved in the sisters’ lives and adventures and rooting not only for them but also for all the other characters. There is all I am looking for in a book – laughter and sadness, lovely, awkward romances, suspense and tension, adorned by believable, easy – going characters. Looking forward to reading much more from Holly Hepburn! Highly recommended!