I’m delighted to be joining Bookouture‘s Books-on-tour again today, and sharing my review of The House at Hope Corner by Emma Davies. Published on 10th May, it’s available via Amazon for kindle and in paperback, and also via Apple Books, Googleplay and for Kobo. My thanks to Bookouture for my advance reading e-copy, provided through netgalley.
My goodness, it’s far too long since I read one of Emma Davies’ lovely books. She was my guest here on Being Anne way back in 2015, celebrating the first birthday of her then self-published Letting in Light: you’ll find Emma’s guest post, when she was so very thrilled to be able to say “I am a writer”, here along with my review. Later that year, I really liked one of her “shorts”, Merry Mistletoe (review here): and I also thoroughly enjoyed Turn Towards The Sun, the novel published in 2017 (you’ll find that review here). Emma joined me again later that year, with a really excellent guest post about her memories and the importance of libraries – you can read it again here.
But since then, I’ve been neglecting her rather and haven’t managed to visit The Little Cottage once (you’ll find all Emma’s books on her Amazon author page) – I’m so sorry Emma, but I can see you’ve really been doing rather well without me! I see Bookouture are calling this one “the perfect feel good holiday romance novel” – and knowing the way that her books always provide the warmest of hugs, how could I resist?
The view across the valley takes her breath away; everywhere she looks tiny patches of colour – ochre, chestnut, lime and purple. The farmhouse behind her glows pink in the morning sun. It’s like stepping into a postcard, except that this magical place is real. It’s her new home.
With her beloved shop in danger of shutting down, meeting Ned, a gorgeous farmer with an irresistible twinkle in his eye, couldn’t have come at a better moment for free-spirited florist, Flora Dunbar. But no one is more surprised than her when their whirlwind romance leads to the offer of a new life on Ned’s farm.
Arriving at Hope Corner, Flora sets about becoming the perfect farmer’s wife, but her creative, alternative thinking falls flat in a household built on tradition and strict routine. Even Ned is becoming more distant by the day…
Pulling up her signature striped socks and throwing herself into her chores, little by little Flora learns to love the order and patterns of life on the land. But the more she learns about her new home, the more she suspects it’s under threat, and worse, that Ned is hiding a heartbreaking secret from her.
But this time, Flora’s not going to run from her problems. Do Ned and his family trust her enough to let her stay and fight for love and the first house she’s ever truly called home? Does she trust herself?
An absolutely gorgeous and utterly uplifting romance to sweep you off your feet! Perfect reading for fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson.
Moving in with a new partner’s parents can rarely be easy – but when you’re a bit arty and creative and maybe a teeny bit ditsy, it’s considerably more difficult when you find they run a farm along particularly traditional lines and have very fixed ideas about appropriate roles for farmers and farmers’ wives. And they raise cattle, and enjoy a fatty fry-up in the mornings – and you’re a vegetarian. And there’s an ever-present meddling neighbour who seems to enjoy making you feel inadequate and unwelcome – and you’re sure there’s some big secret people aren’t sharing with you.
Flora and Ned have barely got started with their relationship, but it really does look doomed to fail, however much they might love each other. When something rather unexpected and dramatic happens, it’s the start of a considerable emotional journey for everyone – but one that’s ultimately joyful and uplifting and really warms the cockles of your heart.
The characters in this book are excellent – Ned himself struggling to help Flora settle and fit in, his mother rarely putting down the bleach bottle (unless she’s kneading a loaf or starting the next batch of marmalade), his taciturn and stoical father. And then there’s that neighbour – a total horror, but a great creation. And Grace at the village shop – a lovely character, with an interesting twist on that theme of “a woman’s place” – but you’ll have to see for yourself where she fits in. But it’s Flora herself who constantly draws your eye, while winning your heart with an inner strength you’d never have expected.
I’ll admit I might have been expecting a bit more of a love story – but this book is more about what happens afterwards, when real life kicks in, with a few big misunderstandings and rocky moments along the way, and that was just fine with me. There’s quite a lot of sadness, past and present, in this book alongside the sunny presence of Flora – and it’s all particularly well-handled as things reach resolution, entirely uplifting and satisfying, with an ending that really does bring a tear to the eye along with the widest of smiles.
The writing is excellent – an ease of readability, a vividly described setting, excellent character development, and a story with an uncertain outcome, along with the surest of touches with the emotional content. The tour poster mentions “feel-good”, and so it is – this book has all the warmth of the fluffiest blanket, and I enjoyed it very much. I understand we’ll be returning to Hope Corner for another visit in the summer… I’ll be looking forward to it immensely.
About the author
After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.
After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea.
Pop over to her website where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on Twitter or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her).