Ellie Woods spends her days immersed in the escapist pages of the romantic novels she lovingly edits. But her reality is somewhat less rose-tinted. Once upon a time, Ellie had her ‘happily ever after’ moment when she married her beloved Nick, but fifteen years later her husband’s tragic death leaves her alone with their soon-to-become-a-teenager son, faced with a mountain of debt, and on the verge of losing the family home. On the brink of bankruptcy, Ellie finally succumbs to her sister’s well-meant bullying and decides to rent out some rooms. And all too soon the indomitable Allegra with her love for all things lavender, Sabine on secondment from Berlin and estranged from her two-timing husband, and unreconstructed lads’ mag aficionado Matt enter her ordered but fragile existence – each with their own messy life in tow. And Ellie finds herself forced to step out of the pages of the romantic novels she hides behind, and learn to live – and love – again. Maybe a new chapter is about to begin for them all…
I’m one of Rowan’s fans on Facebook (although I think now I’m a ‘liker’ not a fan) and when she asked if anyone wanted to read her new novel to review I almost ripped her hand off in excitement. I’d just finished one of her previous novels The Baby Club and had absolutely LOVED it. However, what if I read it and didn’t like it? How could I review a book I didn’t like?
Well, I didn’t need to worry about that. From the first page I fell in love with Ellie, by the 3rd page she’d hit something inside me and I cried. At page three! I know I’m an emotional person, but I’m really impressed Rowan created a character that I could sympathise with so much in such a short space of time.
Her development through the book realistic – I can imagine some authors would have her making a complete recovery (I won’t spoil it from saying what from) in a short time, but the fact it happens slowly – like real life – adds to her character.
The other characters are lifelike too. Especially Matt who I must admit I kind of fancy a little and Ellie’s son is just the greatest – he almost made me want an eleven year old son!
One of the cleverest things about this novel, is that it’s almost two in one, as every now and then you’re treated to a page or two of Allegra’s novel.
I’d really recommend this novel to anyone that’s a fan of the ‘chick lit’ or ‘romance’ genres. There’s everything in there: love, family, friendship, betrayal and bereavement. From the first chapter I was hooked and stayed up way too late on two consecutive nights because I just couldn’t put it down. I laughed (a lot) and cried (more than just on page three) and was so sad when it finished. Another fantastic read by Ms Coleman.