Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Summer at Bluebell Bank: a Review

Available 2 August 2017! Summer at Bluebell BankSummer at Bluebell Bank by Jen Mouat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great debut from author Jen Mouat. My friend recommended it to me as something to read that is the same flavor and feel as Maeve Binchy, and I would agree.

Friendship, family, memories and loves lost and found again. These are just a few of the things Mouat brings into light throughout the novel, in the charming setting of small-town Scotland, with a summer home and a bookstore supplying plenty of fun as a setting.

This book has a lot going on, and by the end a whole large cast of characters that might feel a tad overwhelming. Nevertheless, I liked it very much and would recommend it to fans of Binchy and similar British women's fiction writers.

From the publisher:

Returning home is never smooth sailing…

Summoned by her childhood best friend, Kate Vincent doesn’t stop to think. Instead she books at one-way ticket from New York back to Wigtown, Scotland, leaving her glittering new life behind. Scenes of idyllic holidays at Bluebell Bank with the Cotton family dance in her mind, but not everything has stayed the way it once was… Especially when her first love, Luke, returns to town.

Emily Cotton never expected one email, sent off in a wine-fuelled daze, to bring her old friend barrelling through the front door of her dismally failing bookshop. But life for the Cottons isn’t what it once was; Emily’s brothers are hardly speaking, her beloved grandmother isn’t quite the same and Emily…well, Emily is the one most in need of Kate’s help.

Kate has given herself until the end of the summer to stay in Wigtown. Can she bring the Cottons back together, and save the family who once saved her?

**Thank you to NetGalley for an ebook review copy.**

View all my reviews

Monday, July 03, 2017

Jane of Austin - Review

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and SensibilityJane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this revisit of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility." It's a retelling without being a page-by-page modernization of Austen's classic tale of sisters who must make their way in reduced circumstances, with wit and verve and the limitations of Edwardian England.

Having the tale told from Jane and Collum's points of view is really great (they are the Marianne and Colonel Brandon characters). It adds depth to the story and makes Jane (Marianne) a deeper and more likeable character overall.

In fact, I enjoyed everything about this book--except the subtitle. I think Jane would recoil at the fact that "sweet tea" gets a mention, because she is all about the purity of the tea leaf and in fact even states that sweet tea isn't real tea at all. (It brings to mind a quotation from NCIS's Ducky, when Dr. Mallard says tea bags aren't real tea, but "tea dust in a paper pouch.")

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys modern-day Austen retellings, tea of any kind, romance, and/or Texas.

View all my reviews Thanks to NetGalley for a review copy. All opinions are my own.