Single for the Summer- Mandy Baggot

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This was such a perfect holiday read. Beautiful descriptions of Corfu allow you to easily imagine yourself on it’s sunsoaked beaches, exploring the winding streets and sampling the delicious food on offer. Ideal if you aren’t escaping anywhere this summer, pull up your lounger and a glass of sangria and imagine the water lapping on the shore.

Tess is a serial dater, never allowing a relationship to develop longer than 6 weeks. She agrees to go on holiday with her friend when her boyfriend declares that he needs a break. Sonya gets her to vow to stay single whilst they are there.

She meets Andras, who is a gorgeous Greek local and finds herself agreeing to being a pretend girlfriend whilst a family wedding is going on to avoid his mother pairing him off with a relative.

He agrees to be a tour guide for the two friends and they go on some idyllics days in the sun- seeing beautiful parts of the Greek Island.

Tess gets caught up in the prenuptial celebrations and the Greek traditions sound really interesting. The mother is a typically drawn Greek matriarch and is determined to dislike Tess- as she’s not Greek and not the girl she has picked out for her son.

It’s made me even more keen to visit Corfu and explore the villages and sit down to enjoy the delicious sounding food and drink.

The Cotswolds Cookery Club-Italy – Alice Ross

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Connie takes advantage of her friends offer to house sit her wonderful house in the Cotswolds when they go to work abroad for 6 months. She’s a proof reader who can work from home. She’s also looking after their rescue greyhound who is very nervy.

She sets up a cookery club with a couple of ladies that the newsagent knows and the four ladies are soon enjoying evenings with delicious food, copious amounts of wine and healing friendships. They all host an evening based on an Italian theme and the menus make your mouth water and wish that you could set up a similar club with your friends. It actually did make me want to reboot my new recipe challenge and maybe it needs a revamp with a country theme!

The friends share many feelings and Connie has a feeling that Kate’s marriage may not be all it seems, Melody is feeling like a fish out of water in the Cotswolds. Having married an older man she is meeting resistance from all the locals who think she is a gold digger. She is yearning for a baby- but this new group of friends is really boosting her confidence and letting her spread her wings a little.

I am so looking forward to hearing about more evenings with the cookery club and the treats they have in store for us.

To Provence with Love- TA Williams

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I absolutely adored this book- I think it is my favourite by TA Williams so far. I loved the setting and the characters. The setting was so vivid that you could smell the lavendar and lose yourself easily.

Faye has been asked to write the biography of a former a list actress and finds herself staying for 6 months. She sits with Arabelle when she is feeling strong enough and enjoys walking around the area with the family dog and exploring in her free time. I felt as though I was exploring along with her and loved the way they went through Arabelle’s story and the boxes of journals and the clothes she has. I could just imagine being asked to help with this book and enjoying every moment.

This really would be the perfect summer read- heartwarming, romantic, beautiful scenery and delicious sounding food and the element of new dreams.

Summer at Willow Tree Farm

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This book has such a wonderful cast of characters and a lovely setting. I was initially drawn to this book because of the title reminding me of one of my favourite childhood books. I was imagining losing myself on the farm again!!!!!!!!
Eloise had a terrible time as a teenager when her mum split with her dad and moved them to a commune. She had a crush on a lad around her own age but found it hard to deal with his attitude towards her. She finds herself moving back and to her horror finds that Art is now helping to run the farm. She’d been estranged from her mum but gradually realises that things weren’t easy for her mum at the time.
The characters living at the farm are delightful and all help out in various ways. Ellie wants to help them set up a successful plan to move the farm forward and into a thriving hub. I loved the romantic element to the book and the setting was described so well that I wanted to visit and enjoy a meal in their kitchen!

The Girls of Mulberry Lane- Rosie Clarke

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I love books set around the war years and Rosie Clarke has created a wonderful cast of characters from Mulberry Lane. You quickly get to know them all and feel as though you live amongst them and are filling your wicker basket in the shop ready to go home and prepare the dinner whilst experiencing the start of rationing and how that would affect the home front.
Peggy owns the pub with her husband Lawrence. He was never the same since he came back from the first world war- and although he is in his 40’s he is dreading being called up for the approaching war. They have two children and their son is desperate to sign up when he is old enough.
Maureen works in the shop and resents her father who stopped her marrying her childhood sweetheart.
You feel the different ways that the war affects all of the characters and feel the sense of loss and anticipation in turn.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series

Sunshine after the Rain- Daisy James

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When a mistake happens at a show in the art gallery that she manages, Evie feels that she has to resign. Her colleague and friend comes round with the keys to the owners property in Corfu and suggests that she takes a break there.

Corfu is so beautifully depicted within the pages that you can’t help but want to join them all.

Sam is the owners son and he turns up at the villa whilst Evie is there and although she’s staying in the art studio and he’s in the main building, they do meet up. He encourages her to take up her paints again and takes her on some wonderful trips to inspire her. She also gets her head turned by the local Greek Lothario and sees some of the island with him.

You feel that you know the locals and would love to join them to sample the local fare and stagger back to your villa after sampling the retsina! I loved my trip to Corfu- the hint of sunshine, the stunning views that are described makes you want to be able to paint a picture for your own house and the romance sparks and delicious food and drink make it a perfect summer read.

House of Secrets- Lynda Stacey

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When Madeleine decides she has to keep her daughter safe and leave her boyfriend- she seeks out her estranged father to see if she can live in his hotel. She loves getting to know her father again and it seems that Liam, her ex partner had meddled in the relationship to make it strained.

Poppy reverts back to a happy child wrapping everyone round her little finger. She likes ‘Bandit’ the romantic interest for Madeleine!

This book has everything- a historical link via a diary that is found that they are keen to explore, a chilling thriller aspect as Liam proves to be someone to fear, romance with Bandit and family relationships. So in turn you are on the edge of your seat and then relaxing into more sedate scenes at the hotel. I will be really keen to read more by Lynda Stacey.