Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in the idyllic Cotswold town of Peasebrook, is a dream come true for booklovers. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous – but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention the loyalty she owes to her customers.
Sarah Basildon, owner of stately pile Peasebrook Manor, has used the book shop as an escape from all her problems in the past few years. But is there more to her visits than meets the eye? Since messing up his marriage, Jackson asks Emilia for advice on books to read to the son he misses so much. But Jackson has a secret, and is not all he seems… And there’s Thomasina, painfully shy, who runs a pop-up restaurant from her tiny cottage. She has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere between Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White. Can she find the courage to admit her true feelings?
I seem to affiliate Veronica Henry with trips to France for some reason. Some of you may remember my last review of hers ‘High Tide, which I read while sitting somewhere in Biarritz? Now I’m in the middle of Brittany; the weather isn’t as bright but the writing is strong. In fact the writing is so strong I’m not even sure I’m talking to Ms Henry any more.
When perusing NetGalley for a light holiday read I immediately searched for her as I thought of High Tide. I wanted some froth, something light and frilly that demanded no thought. I embarked on the first pages and immediately got dragged into the life of Julius: Julius with his motherless baby and his search for a new home. I could feel the pressure of the buggy against my hand. I could smell the mustiness of the damp derelict shop, I could sense his hope – and then she tricked me!
It was my own fault of course. I’d seen the date at the start of the chapter so the clue was there. I was dealing in the past, Julius’s past. But I was so wrapped up in this, Julius’s life I decided to ignore the hints – that is until I could ignore no longer. I turned that page and found death – I wasn’t expecting that!
Writers know all about hooks – Those first few words that draws a reader in so the story teller can silently work their magic. Without that hook the pages will be left unread, the book discarded like an unwanted toy. I’m not going to spoil it for you, dear reader but if you want to see how a masterly hook is written you need to read the start of Chapter One. So there I was little old me expecting light only to find dark, but what dark? What skill in writing about what, in truth is a difficult thing to write about. Like sex death is hard to produce on paper with any degree of realism, but again Ms Henry has stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenge with aplomb. She dragged me into that room so I could, with a lowering of my eyelids imagine I too was Emelia sitting on that hard seat sipping diabolical drinks.
Any more and I’ll ruin it for you, but there are many surprises within the folds of this brightly covered book. You’ll find romance, and not just one…
About Jenny O’Brien
Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland a very long time ago. She always wanted to write a book but decided to hone her life experiences first. One husband, three children and numerous cats later she finally went out and bought a notebook and pen! She now divides her time between Wales, France and Guernsey.She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her scribblings! You’ll find her Amazon Author’s page here.