I’m really delighted today to be joining the blog tour for Raving about Rhys by Jessica Redland – my thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation, and for forwarding my reading e-copy. I first discovered Jessica’s excellent writing – having had the real pleasure of meeting the lady herself – back before Christmas, when I read, reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed Charlee & the Chocolate Shop (along with a super interview), and I was really looking forward to reading more. This lovely novella was first published three years ago as a prequel to the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series – and if you’re not looking forward to reading every single one after you’ve read it, I’ll honestly be amazed…
Bubbly Callie Derbyshire loves her job as a carer, and can’t believe she’s finally landed herself a decent boyfriend – older man Tony – who’s lasted way longer than the usual disastrous three months. Tony’s exactly what she’s always dreamed of … or at least he would be if he ever took her out instead of just taking her to bed. And work would be perfect too if she wasn’t constantly in trouble with her boss, The She-Devil Denise.
When the new gardener, Mikey, discovers her in a rather compromising position at work, Callie knows that her days at Bay View Care Home could be numbered. Can she trust him not to tell Denise? If she’s issued with her marching orders, who’ll look out for her favourite client, Ruby, whose grandson, Rhys, seems to constantly let her down? What does Ruby know about Tony? And what is Denise hiding?
Surrounded by secrets and lies, is there anyone left who Callie can trust?
Oh my goodness, I so enjoyed this one! Within 120 pages you’ll find the most perfectly developed characters, along with a really well-told story packed with gentle humour, drama and enough of a serious edge to make it so much more satisfying a read than you might ever be expecting. The care home setting is perfectly described, the residents and staff individualised and real (you’re going to love Ruby – and share Callie’s anger and sadness about the elusive grandson Rhys). Callie herself is just wonderful – with a massive heart, worn on her sleeve and so easily broken – but her relationship with Tony really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (apart from the bedroom – or the linen cupboard, or the summer house…) and you yearn for her to find some real happiness and a relationship she deserves. I loved the secondary story too – She-Devil Denise is an absolute monster, but wonderfully developed as a character.
The author writes so very well – there’s a real warmth to her writing, I’m a particular fan of her dialogue (so totally natural), and the humour she injects into every scene and exchange is beautifully done. If you’re not sure yet whether Jessica Redland’s writing is for you, this gorgeous novella would be the perfect introduction. I guarantee you’ll want to read more – and I most certainly do (review of Searching for Steven coming on 3rd June!).
About the author
Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!
She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs! Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing.