I’ve been meaning to read a book by Kate Hewitt for simply ages – and I sadly still haven’t managed it! But I’m really pleased to share news of the third in the Willoughby Close series, Find Me at Willoughby Close, released on 14th March, which can be read as a standalone.
Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…
Harriet Lang had the perfect life, so she’s left reeling when everything is taken from her in one fell swoop. Suddenly, Harriet learns her beautiful farmhouse in the Cotswolds is double-mortgaged, her husband Richard’s been unceremoniously fired—and he’s become a little too close to his young, sexy assistant. Harriet moves into Willoughby Close with her three children, trying to hold her head up high.
With the help of her neighbor and newfound friend Ellie Matthews, Harriet starts to rebuild her life–but dipping a toe in the dating pool feels strange and meanwhile her children are struggling in different ways. She wonders if starting over is really possible…
Then Willoughby Close begins to weave its healing magic on both her and her children, and Harriet begins to see a way forward. She even starts to date sexy local vet Tom Roberts–but when Richard reappears in her life, wanting to make amends, Harriet must make the painful decision about how much of the past can be forgiven—and what kind of future she is fighting for.
I’m delighted to welcome Kate to Being Anne to tell us more about the inspiration behind the Willoughby Close Series:
Nearly two years ago I experienced a sudden and unexpected move to the Cotswolds from the Lake District—two beautiful but very different places. It all happened so quickly that I was left spinning a bit in our new home, trying to adjust to a new way of life, a new school run, new mums at the gate, and all the rest.
One day while walking slowly home from dropping my daughter off at school, and, admittedly, feeling a bit lonely, I thought of a story set around four new neighbours who become unexpected friends. The main character for each story came to me with surprising speed—a single mum, a disgraced yummy mummy, a former trophy wife, and an ex-waif. All of them in desperate need of a fresh start and a second chance, which they find with each other—and of course with a bit of romance thrown in!
As is the case with just about everything I write, elements of my own life experience are woven in, almost without me realizing it. Writing fiction can be amazing therapy! And so with each story came conflicts and struggles I’ve faced myself, whether it was bullying in Meet Me at Willoughby Close, which I experienced as a child, or unexpectedly losing your home, which is what happened to my family when we left the Lake District, and features in Find Me at Willoughby Close.
Perhaps the most poignant part of my journey has been writing about Lady Stokeley, the dowager countess who imparts her wisdom with asperity and humor, and suffers from cancer throughout the four books. Sixteen months ago I lost my father to leukemia, and I helped to nurse him through the final stages of his illness. A lot of my feelings about aging, illness, and death, as well as the beauty and joy of this life, were written into the scenes with Lady Stokeley.
Although the Willoughby Close books are meant to be heartwarming and fairly light reading, I hope I’ve addressed certain issues with depth and sensitivity, and that each book offers a little more than a mindless romantic read! They were really fun to write, but really poignant too. I hope you enjoy the whole series.
Thank you Kate – that makes me want to read this series even more than I did before. Let’s take a look at an extract:
“Come on,” Harriet said now, as she climbed resolutely out of the car and gave them all as cheerful a smile as she could. “Let’s check it out.”
The movers had already come; Harriet had marked what furniture to take from their house to Willoughby Close, and it had been a depressingly small amount. The big, bespoke kitchen table wouldn’t fit, and the huge dresser with all the pottery she’d collected over the years wouldn’t either. In fact, at least two-thirds of their furniture was going into storage, which was expensive, but Harriet couldn’t bear to lose all of it along with the house. They’d need it when Richard got his job, and they bought something bigger.
She’d spent hours and hours, weeks and months, selecting all the furniture for the house, with the help of the expensive interior decorator who had more or less held her hand through the entire process. She’d bought tasteful antiques interspersed with fresh modern pieces, carpets and kilims from various holidays, watercolors and oil paintings of places that were meaningful to them. Sophie had once said, with admiration that bordered on envy, that Harriet’s house could be featured in Country Life.
And so it would again. This was a blip, damn it. Things were going to get better. Richard was going to find a job, he’d said so, and they’d get back their house or buy an even better house, and she’d live there without him, happy and defiant. Or something like that. She couldn’t picture specifics yet, but she couldn’t stand the thought of the rest of her life looking like… this.
The children trooped silently behind her as she fumbled with the keys and then opened the door to number two. The smell of fresh paint and emptiness hit her like a smack in the face. It was the smell of fresh starts, and she didn’t want one.
She stepped inside, reaching for the lights. Although it was only four in the afternoon it was already getting dark, the skies heavy and low with gray clouds. Spring felt a long way off, despite the fact that it was mid-February, and the spattering of snowdrops interspersed with an early crocus or two that she’d seen on the drive in.
“This is it?” Mallory’s voice rang through the empty space, scornful and incredulous. William kicked at the skirting board, scuffing the pristine white paint. Chloe stuck her thumb in her mouth.
“Yes, this is it,” Harriet said, trying to pitch her tone somewhere between firm and bright. “It’s lovely, isn’t it?”
I must say, I really love the look of this series! Here are the buying links for Find Me at Willoughby Close:
With thanks to Kate and to tour organiser Brook Cottage Books, I have a great giveaway for you, open internationally. First prize is a £1o Amazon Gift Card, second prize a print copy of Meet Me at Willoughby Close (the first in the series).
Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
About the author
Kate Hewitt is the author of over 65 novels of women’s fiction and romance. Whichever the genre, she loves telling a compelling and emotional story. An American ex-pat and former New Yorker, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children. You can learn more about her books and life via her website.