Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Review - The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon.
Michelle had run away from her past, her bully of a husband Harvey and her family who think he's the best thing since sliced bread and has moved to a village called Longhampton, where she knows no-one but more importantly no-one knows her. She has bought a shop and called it Home Sweet Home which stocks lots of fabulous goodies to make your home beautiful.
Just when Michelle thinks she has no friends in the village, Anna's dog bursts into the cafe and snaffles Michelle's cake and Michelle and Anna become firm friends. Anna is married to Phil. Their plans to have a baby are on hold until they have been married for four years although their plans have been scuppered slightly as their lives have been invaded by Phil's three daughters who have come to live with them while their Mom spends two years in the States.
When the bookshop next door to Home Sweet Home becomes available, Michelle wants to expand her business so she speaks to the solicitor involved who tells her that it has to be run as a bookshop for the next year. She immediately believes that between her and Anna, they can turn this into a thriving business. Rory, the solicitor, becomes a person who she finds at first quite irritating but seems to be popping up in her life whether she likes it or not.
The village bookshop becomes a magical place where people can meet friends, drink coffee, and browse new and second hand books. Anna's life is not what she thought it would be as stepmum to three children and she begins to wonder whether her love for Phil is enough to get her through coping with this life that she signed up for. She is tested to the limit by these children that do not belong to her and by a husband who just expects her to take care of everything.
What happens when Michelle's past comes back to haunt her, and will she share her secrets with her new friends? Will Anna get her happy ever after? You know the rules - buy the book and find out! I know that you're going to love this book just as much as I did.
This book had me so mesmerised, I wanted to go into the bookshop myself and enjoy a cup of coffee and browse through the books. I wanted to meander through the knick knacks in Home Sweet Home feeling the luxurious fabrics and choosing gorgeous gifts for Christmas. I wanted to meet these wonderful characters that Lucy had created who lived in Longhampton. The way that the places and people are described made the whole book come alive for me in a totally enchanting way. What an amazing gift an author has to be able to create all of this with their words.
I became worried about the characters and what was going to happen to them and I was kept guessing practically to the end. I wanted to tell these children what a wonderful lady Anna was, putting everyone else before herself and not to treat her the way they were, that she deserved to be treated with courtesy and respect. I wanted to tell Phil to appreciate her more and not treat her like a doormat. This was another book that had me wanting to rush home from wherever I was to tuck up on the sofa and totally lose myself in this fabulous story which had numerous twists and turns along the way to keep my interest. I was actually really sad when it came to an end and still think about these characters days after I finished reading. I'd love to be friends with both Anna and Michelle, both fabulous ladies in their very different ways.
The book explored relationships, families, marriage, love and friendship. A tremendous read, and it's shameful to say that I've only just discovered this fabulous and understanding writer, but I am SO glad I've discovered her and am SO checking out Lucy other's books as soon as possible.
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