Today I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Emma Davies’ new release, The Little Cottage On The Hill. Thanks to Kim Nash from Bookouture for inviting me to take part. I’ll be sharing my thoughts after we’ve taken a look at the blurb.
About the Book
There’s blossom in the trees and daffodils as far as the eye can see. Maddie is looking forward to a fresh start in the countryside, but there’s just one little problem…
Following a scandal at her high-flying PR agency, twenty-six-year-old Maddie flees London to help promote what she thinks is going to be a luxurious holiday retreat in the countryside. Everything is riding on her making a success of this new job…
Yet when she arrives, Maddie is horrified to find a rundown old farm in a terrible state. The brooding and secretive owner, Seth, spent all his money on leasing the land when he fell in love with the beautiful, dishevelled farm cottages and the very romantic story behind them.
When Maddie discovers an old oil painting by the original owner’s wife, she unlocks the secret of the farm’s history and quickly realises she must start getting her hands dirty if this very special place is going to have any chance of survival. As she and Seth begin working together, the stunning view from the top of the hill is not the only thing that’s leaving her breathless…
After weeks of hard work the dream looks like it might become a reality, until a secret from Maddie’s past threatens to snatch it all away again. Can Maddie find a way to save the business and herself? Will she finally find a place to keep her heart within the crumbling walls of the little cottage on the hill?
Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson who are looking to escape to the countryside and fall in love watching the seasons change.
I do love me a little local literature and with The Little Cottage On The Hill not only being by a local Shropshire Lass but also set in the county, I couldn’t resist taking a look. And I’m very glad a did as what I found was a really fun, heart-warming story of second chances, peppered with a sprinkling of feel good romance.
From the minute I met Maddie I was uncertain how I felt about her. You could already see the makings of conflict, the oh too perfectly poised and coiffed woman in the wild setting of the Shropshire countryside – it was a clash just waiting to happen. Introduce a surly outdoors type in Seth who was angry to make her acquaintance and far from prepared for her ideas for his farm and you knew exactly where this story was heading. But oh it was such fun getting there.
Maddie is an out and out city type, hired to breathe some life into a planned-to-be state of the arr meeting and conference venue. She has never seen the site, recruited remotely from the safety of the city. What she finds when she arrives at Joy’s Acre is far from the site of her dreams and from the sounds of Seth’s vision for the place, it will never come close. Caught in the middle of a conflict between Seth and his not so silent partner, Maddie still dreams that she can totally transform the site but she needs to make some sacrifices along the way. How many and how far it will push her from her dream of a fresh start remains to be seen.
Despite my initial misgivings about Maddie, she’s an easy person not to like, especially when pushed out of her comfort zone, she really did grow on me quite quickly. It is clear from the off that something has happened, something to force these new beginnings on her, and that she is running from her past as fast as her fancy convertible will carry her. She has grand designs for Joy Acres that would impress Kevin McCloud but everything she suggests seems out of kilter. She is all clean lines and bright sterile design whereas Joy’s Acre is more about tradition and heritage. The stick out like a sort thumb in this environment and some of her mistakes did make me chuckle. But there is something also vulnerable and endearing about her that made me want to see her come good, not least because of the clear chemistry with Seth.
Now Seth – he’s a dark horse. It was hard to place him initially, and I’ll be honest, I had visions of a much older man than he turned out to be. The way in which his character contrasts with Maddie’s is a pure delight – it makes for what turns out to be a deliciously slow dance of will they won’t they. He is secretive, reserved and again there is clearly something that he is not telling Maddie, a secret that she, and us as readers, must wait to learn. He is charming, in his own gruff way, and every bit as stubborn as Maddie appears to be. But of you are a country girl at heart, like what I am, then you cannot help but fall in love with his vision for Joy’s Acre, and understand his need to preserve the heritage of the old place.
As the story progresses you learn more of the farm’s beginnings and the stroy which Seth is trying to preserve. There is so much beauty and romance in this story alone that you will start to see another side to Seth, just as Maddie does in the story. Parts of it, especially when they truth about Seth and his friends is revealed, may bring a tear to the eye, but as many elements will make you smile and chuckle. It’s one of those kinds of story.
This isn’t all about Seth and Maddie though and you’ll find as that Joy’s Acre is a magnet for the ‘waifs and strays’ so to speak. Clara, Trixie and Tom are brilliant characters who all have their own stories, their own reasons to be drawn to the farm and their stories, Clara’s especially will definitely move you. This really is a story of second chances, of the power of family and friendship, but also of enduring love. If this doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside then I don’t know what will.
I’m also hoping there is a recipe book to accompany at some point as I have to be honest, some of Trixie’s dishes sound delicious. Not that I cook, but it’s the thought that counts …
My thanks to publisher, Bookouture, for the advance copy of the book for review. It is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.
After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea.
Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her).
Make sure to check out some of the other blogs taking part in the tour.