Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
The first thing that came to mind after reading a few chapters was how on earth does this author’s imagination work! Even though she’s goes beyond the ridiculous with the development of her characters' personalities, getting to know their quirky traits was an exceedingly good treat. All of them fitted like a glove in a plot which is to say the least, quintessentially English, and we couldn’t help but laugh our socks off at their antics.
Then meeting the leading man from across the pond just seemed to add extra hot spice to what was for us, more like a film script than a book. And of course, the scenery. Alice's setting is surrounded by an English garden and breath-taking countryside, Borne manor was an absolute pleasure to stroll around considering we weren’t even there. Nevertheless, it most certainly felt like it!
"I don't suppose this place has a drawbridge hidden around somewhere to pull up in case of emergency?"
"Fraid not, cowboy. No moat either."
How very easy it was envisaging this English rose trotting across her garden in red wellies to her new place of abode. She’s making the best of a bad situation and not doing too badly at all. For that, we had to take our hats off to her. We could honestly hear her thinking out loud; how she was going to fight to save what she loved and become her own person after being totally disillusioned by whom she thought was the love of her life.
"This house was never Brad's dream. It was always mine. We didn't get to make that many good memories here in the end."
You’re most likely aware that us Brits have a daily obsession with the weather and is cause for much conversation. Hot summers are atypical for us so regardless of whether meteorological predictions are in our favour or not, we strip off at the hint of this special word; sunshine! Figuratively speaking, the temperatures go up when a gorgeous six-foot-something cowboy in brackets walks into the scenario.
"And then there's you, all blonde hair and rosy cheeks, living in my garden like a pixie."
Alice isn’t the only one trying to cool down! Does she let her golden locks down, take her booties off, and does he disrobe to show us his glorious offerings? Grab your fans ‘cause you’ll need them.
"Straight from talking about the weather to talking about sex. Slow down cowboy."
Laugh out loud… poor Robinson Duff wants peace and quiet, wants time to get his act together, come to terms with the past and ignore his upcoming obligations. Wary of everybody, he is. Nevertheless, little does he know what he’s let himself in for. We can’t put into words how much we connected to him. He’s grumpy, peeved off with life in general, but attentive when he comes round. Smile folks. Although our hearts went out to him, Alice’s neighbours will bring out the best in him. And maybe that English rose who he has put his trust in has the formula to convince him that all is not lost or as grim as he thinks.
"Out with it, Goldilocks. There's something on your mind. Tell me what it is."
We have to mention that if there were ever anyone’s sensitivity underlined in a read of this calibre, who had her head well-placed on her shoulders, it has to be Alice. She eventually finds her outlet which is a twist and a half in this story, too. We had to agree with her and couldn't have been more pleased that she did what she did.
"For a girl with such slender shoulders, you sure have a lot resting on them."
Grinning from ear to ear is guaranteed. So much so that our personal messages actually gave us jaw ache. Why? Simply because the secondary characters in this theatrical play, and that is exactly what this book is, left both of us enchanted with this tight-knit group of friends. Never, ever will you be able to imagine how an ex porn star wears his peculiar accessories in such a ludicrous manner, how a so-called witch conjures up magical potions or how a bird mimics secrets and swears like a trooper. Not forgetting to mention Alice's bizarre bestie, Niamh, who's a dab hand with a brush and doesn't want to miss out on the tiniest bit of gossip.
Apart from the humorous scenes which flow like the River Seven through the valley of Shropshire, this read has a moral story to tell. What we loved more than anything was the comradeship. The acceptance of whoever you are, whatever weird and wonderful ways you choose to live, your respect and love at the end of the day, conquers.
Gripping from the first page until a finale which you really have to find out for yourselves, what more can we say other than Bravo!