Today it is my great pleasure to take a break from all things crime fiction to bring you my thoughts on Clover Cottage, book three in the Love Heart Lane Series from Christie Barlow. I think we all need a little hopeful boost right now and this book is perfect for that task. My thanks to publisher One More Chapter for providing an advance copy for review and to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the tour. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
A page-turning new cosy novel in the bestselling Love Heart Lane series – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Phillipa Ashley and Milly Johnson!
Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.
When Vet Rory Scott inherits ramshackle Clover Cottage in the quaint village of Heartcross, Allie MacDonald just knows this is their happy ever after. A place to call home with the man she loves – it’s her dream come true!
Until Rory drops a bombshell. He loves Allie but he has dreams of his own to follow – to live and work in Africa. Clover Cottage will have to wait just a little longer…
Allie can’t imagine life without Rory, but she loves him too much to hold him back. And as he embarks on his adventure, Allie begins to rethink her own plans. She loves Rory and knows she wants him in her life, but maybe she can follow her own dreams too?
And always there, nestled in the beautiful village of Heartcross, surrounded by the people she loves, will be the place that will always bring them back to each other. Their forever home, Clover Cottage.
So this is the third book in the Love Heart Lane series and, confession time, the first one I have read but, and this is good news for readers, it is a book which can easily be read as a standalone. Yes – I would undoubtedly know more about the characters on the periphery of Rory and Allie’s lives, but as for getting to know them in this books, I got a very clear picture of life in the village of Heartcross and fell instantly in love with all of them. Christie Barlow is one of those great authors who can pull you into a story without really trying and who creates characters you care about and this is no exception.
Clover Cottage sees Rory and Allie coming to somewhat of a crossroads in their relationship. While Allie sees her future mapped out really clearly, and Rory’s mother seems to be a of a very similar opinion, Rory has started to question whether or not life in the family vet practice is enough for him. When his long held dream of spending time working in Africa has the chance of coming true, he has to decide what it more important – his. life with Allie and the chance to renovate the very dilapidated Clover Cottage, or pursuing his dreams before it is too late.
I think there are elements of this book that everyone can relate to. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t jump at the chance to realise their dreams, and in that respect I could very much identify with Rory and his turmoil between choosing Allie or Africa. The author has made it all feel very real, largely because Rory was so torn, so undecided. I never once doubted his strength of feelings for Allie, or her for him, but their inability to communicate, to really talk and to express their feelings, felt very true to life.
With certain scenes in this book, from the dog contest featuring a Pacapoo (baby Alpaca masquerading as a dog), to the days spent filming a day in the life of supervet Rory for a one off TV series where a confused Guinea Pig owner found out that the expected tumours were something altogether more natural, I spent as much time chuckling along as going aww at the romance. The dry humour of Rory’s father Stuart really set the scenes off perfectly and the growing sense of frustration Rory felt towards him only served to feed. his determination to find something more. Funny yes, but poignant too as it turned out.
Rory and Allie are both great characters. Very down to earth, likeable and relatable, and it made reading about them a real pleasure. I could feel myself smiling when things were going well between them, laughing at the easy nature of their relationship and that which they shared with their friends, and wanting to bang their heads together when they failed to tell each other how they really felt. It felt as though you were there in the heart of the friendship with them, wanting to support and guide them through the tough parts, and wishing that all could come good in the end.
Alongside the fun, light and romantic moments, there is a kind of tragedy brewing. Not in the impending doom sense, just a little side story that will tug at the heartstrings and had me feeling a sense of emotion towards the difficulties some of the characters were going through. What happens, the changes that are brewing in Rory’s home life, are quite stark, difficult but sensitively handled, and while I could see where this element of the story was leading, the fact that Rory and Allie’s proximity to the problem made them blind to what was happening felt very realistic.
This a great story with brilliantly colourful characters who I loved, a kind of fun, humorous and romantic tale with a slight side order of emotion. Fans of the series are going to love it, and love the way it ends, and maybe find themselves shedding a few tears along the way. A fabulous read that may inspire you to finally follow your own dreams, wherever they may lead.
About the Author
Christie Barlow is the number 1 international bestselling author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.
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