Country Rivals by Zara Stoneley

Today I am over the moon to be a part of Zara Stoneley’s blog tour for her third instalment in the Tippermere series, „The Country Rivals„. After reading my (gushing) review for the book you are for a real treat, as Zara has told me which actors would she want to play her characters, should Tippermere series was made into a film!


Country Rivals

by Zara Stoneley



Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th May 2016

Series: Tippermere #3

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!.

Number of pages: 392

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



A hilarious, sexy rom com for fans of Jilly Cooper and Fiona Walker!

Dashing eventer Rory is ready to button up his breeches and settle down. His gorgeous wife, Lottie, wants a bank balance in the black so she can protect the beautiful family estate for future generations.

But with the wedding business at Tipping House going up in flames, and rumours that it was arson not accident, Lottie begins to wonder who she can trust with her future.

Tranquil Tippermere is under siege as movies moguls and insurance investigators invade the countryside, and as events gather pace rescue plans start to look too good to be true, and intentions may not be as honourable as they seem.

As a moody, but definitely marvellous, polo player enters the fray and squares up to the eventing hero of Tippermere, does Lottie stand to lose her husband as well as her home?

‚A great treat for readers…jam-packed with sexy men and horses.’ Bestselling author Fiona Walker.

Rating: 5/5


„Country Rivals” is the third book in the series but you can read it as a stand – alone – there are enough flashbacks into the past that help to explain some situations and events, and are a great reminder for those who read the books, and also, like in all previous books, there is a list of characters at the beginning, so you can easily follow who is who or, if you are already a regular in Tippermere, just like me, you can only refresh your memory, but nevertheless I’d advise you to read all the books, as you’ll be missing too much on Zara Stoneley’s brilliant humour, fantastic romps set in a picturesque, brilliantly brought to life Tippermere. And let me tell you just at the beginning that I have so loved this book that I really didn’t want to put it down for a single second! I adored all the previous books in the Tippermere series, but I think that „Country Rivals” is my favourite so far. It mixes everything best from all the books – the lovely, larger than life and down – to – earth characters that kept me entertained for so many hours, brilliant setting, the most crazy moments and of course horses, dogs and men in jodhpurs without T – shirts. I would love this series to be turned into TV series, I’d be the first to turn my TV on!

This time it is a film crew arriving at Tipping House Estate that is going to cause some problems. They are there because the family is rather short of money, and so Lady Elizabeth got them a deal, allowing to let them film there. There happens so much in this story! As well events as characters. It was so incredibly fast – paced and character – driven story, and there was not a single moment flat. Next to the characters that I grow to love and adore, Zara Stoneley introduces us to new characters, and all of them vivid, full of life personalities, that felt so realistic. Rory was the one that surprised me most, I think – without losing his boyish charm and humour he seemed a little more grown up and he adored Lottie and the land she was treading and he was not only her husband but still best friend, and those two are for me a couple made in heaven.
Lottie seemed so sad almost all the time, but no matter, she didn’t lose her inner light, happiness and to be honest, this sadness was truly justified, as she had some problems („some” is an understatement, really. There were serious money troubles after the fire, Rory losing his sponsor didn’t help, then the filming crew with the lovely (NOT!) Panda, then Black Gold, then Rory and his desire… I was wondering how much this girl is able to undergo). I adore Lottie right from the very first book in the series and I would love to have her as my best friend – she has a great sense of humour, she is loyal and she would do anything for you, and she has horses! My heart fell for her during her battle to keep the house, and at so many dilemmas that she had, and I can only tell you that I truly, fully understood her, as I had the same problem as she has (this family problem. Not money problem. Though, after some consideration, I also have this problem every once in a while. Like, always).
But I think that the star of this novel was Sam! If you have Sam on your side than you don’t need to be scared of anything, and she proves that she is the best friend Lottie could wish for.
And this time, you know, I really warmed to Elizabeth. I think I’ve finally appreciated her wisdom and silent help.
What I also so adored was the fact that even though Zara Stoneley introduced new characters to us, she hasn’t forgotten about the old ones, and even if there were only a few scenes, we were re – acquainted with Amanda and Dominic for example, and there was even Pipps, maybe not in flesh but in soul, and she’s made a significant piece of work as well.

This time Zara also proved that she can write incredibly touching scenes, and she had me in tears thrice. I haven’t expected it, at all – both the scenes and that I’m going to cry not because of laughter when reading the Tipperemer books. But even though those scenes really broke my heart, I loved them, as they were so beautifully written, so poignant and well, I didn’t like to have them in the book at all but I appreciate that the author has decided to twist the plot with them. Zara Stoneley really had me quite emotional for a moment or two, really, but to be honest, if there are animals involved, I am to cry in any case. Because as usual, Zara Stoneley excels in creating the animal characters. She has so much feeling and understanding towards animals, and her descriptions of them, their behaviour, expressions are just spot – on! And you know what they say – don’t work with someone else’s children and animals (though I’d worked with both and it’s not so bad :) ) – and after reading the book you will know why they say so :)

The writing style is, again, so full of enthusiasm and feelings, it’s just flowing, it’s fluent and light and I really have a feeling that Zara Stoneley has put her whole soul into writing this story. It is addictive, unputdownable and it makes you feel so, so good – even with all the problems, troubles and bitchy characters. Tippermere is, as usually, brought to life with the meddling vicar, with village fest and shops selling calendars with sexy firefighters. Also, Zara Stoneley really knows what she writes about, and the descriptions of the horses and horse – riding, and horse – gear, and polo playing were so authentic.

The plot is full to the brims and the story flows at almost a break neck tempo and it is full of turns and twists. This novel has taken me by surprise more than once, guys, and it is really not so easy to surprise me these times. I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next. And the twists and turns are very clever ones! Think also picturesque, idyllic setting, great country houses and many different breeds (and not!) of dogs, horses, horses, and horses again and it was great to admire again how well the author captures the animals and their behaviours, and even when she writes about them blinking, it sounds so realistic. But think also characters that you root for, that you love or love to hate, and this all in this fabulous, engaging Zara Stoneley’s writing style. A gorgeous, delicious read, „Country Rivals” is a perfect mix of comedy and drama, love and heartbreak, fun and sadness and fantastic characters – and I really, truly hope that there is going to be a next instalment in the series, as there is so much potential and so many possibilities (Zara, hope you are taking the hint, wink, wink). It is another win from Zara Stoneley and really, if you were wondering about perhaps selling up and moving to the countryside, then you will do this after reading „Country Rivals”, ha.



If Country Rivals was made into a film, which actors would you want to play your characters?

I would love Country Rivals to be made into a film (or in fact I’d rather like the Tippermere books to be made into a TV series – as more than one reader has suggested!).

Here’s my dream team for the main characters.

Lottie – Emilia Clarke, when she smiles she looks so likeable and fun, down to earth but also the perfect ‘lady’ when she’s dressed up. Never underestimate Daenerys!

Rory – Henry Cavill, he’s been my perfect Rory from the start. He looks as good dressed down as in a suit, and he’s got the ideal Rory grin.

Xander – Aiden Turner, or I’d always settle for Kit Harington if Aiden was busy J

Pandora – Natalie Dormer, I reckon she has that full range of looks – from the beguiling to the withering!

Seb – Tom Hiddleston, just as he was in The Night Manager!

Lady Elizabeth – Maggie Smith (who else?)

Sam – Scarlett Johannson, fun, pretty but a bit girl-next-door.

And… Ella the wire-haired dachshund would be played by herself!