It’s a real pleasure today to be launching the blog tour for Heart in the Right Home by Lisa Hill, published by Manatee Books on 25th July, available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback. I thoroughly enjoyed Lisa’s last book, Heart in the Right Place (you’ll find my review here), so I was delighted when Tracy at Compulsive Readers asked me to take part – with thanks to the author and publishers for my advance reading e-copy. I was really looking forward to finding out how life had been treating Lottie, Pamela and the rest of the Hardwicke clan…
Wedding bells are chiming in the village of Clunderton, but will it be happy-ever-afters all around? Rebecca Cavendish thinks not. All she’s feeling is shame and remorse since her affair with property mogul, Edward Hardwicke, whilst in another corner of the village, Louise Edwards is slowly coming to the conclusion she might not be in love with husband, Johnnie, anymore.
Meanwhile, Lottie Hardwicke is resisting the urge to do what she does best…interfere. When Edward’s son, James, turns up announcing Hardwickes’ intentions to develop land on the outskirts of the village into residential homes, and Edward makes a further shocking announcement, a divide begins to set hold amongst the villagers, perhaps more monumental than the country being torn apart by Brexit…
Will Lottie refrain? Or will she cave-in to that need to interfere, and ensure everyone ends up with their heart in the right home?
When I read the author’s last book I vividly remember how much I enjoyed escaping from life’s realities with her wonderfully drawn characters – and yes, I’m pleased to tell you that she’s done it again. There’s a large cast of characters – it might just help if you’ve read the first book to understand the complicated relationships, but it’s certainly not essential as you’ll soon catch up. Lisa Hill writes such strong characters – and this is a cracking story, with lots of lovely sidetracks and subplots.
My favourites? I particularly liked the focus on Louise and husband Johnnie, one of those great storylines that has you furious on her behalf, full of authentic feelings and emotions. It was good to see how Jack and Pamela’s lives have moved forward, but Edward most certainly hasn’t finished with them yet. I was rather sorry that Jude and Tom were on the periphery of the story this time, because I loved the characters – but instead, Rebecca moves to centre stage, and I enjoyed getting to know her rather better, and being surprised how much I liked her. And, of course, there’s the lovely Lottie and her “interfering” – as wonderful as ever.
For me, one of the joys was the familiarity of the setting – those parts of Harrogate I know so well, a few mentions of Wetherby, even sitting (as I often have) in the garden at The Kestrel. The whole story of the planned development was particularly relevant too – these developments are a real issue and cause for anger in the area, with their impact on the local infrastructure, so well done to the author for having her finger on the pulse. But you don’t need my local knowledge – there’s a vivid sense of place about it all, the village of Clunderton so well-created and described that I even found myself looking for it on the map.
There’s not just one story here, but many – and so well handled, with all those complications of family, history and relationships. The themes of family, friendship, and finding yourself are strong – and the writing’s really excellent. The pace does perhaps slow a little at times – as people discuss things and other complications are explained – but certainly not at the wonderful breakneck climax to it all.
This book is gloriously funny at times, but very touching too – some of the characters are extremes, but they’re always multi-layered and convincing, and the whole book had a genuine warmth that I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended by me – and I’ll be looking forward to my next visit!
About the author
Lisa grew up in the village of Bussage, near Stroud, in the Cotswolds until she returned to Cheltenham as a teenager. She is married to her very own hero, Matt, and has three sons, Hamish, Archie and Laurence. Her first encounter of a romance author was chats over the garden wall between her father, Godfrey, and Mrs Cooper from the neighbouring village of Bisley. It came as quite a surprise in later life to find that Mrs Cooper was in fact Jilly Cooper! Lisa’s writing inspiration now comes from other Cotswolds authors including Jill Mansell and Katie Fforde.
Lisa writes contemporary women’s fiction with a light-hearted tone. What interests her most is people, their interactions, emotions and relationships. It’s probably why her career to date has been based in property; she confesses herself that she is ‘naturally curious’.
When she’s not busy writing, helping Matt run his electrical empire, or being her sons’ taxi service, Lisa enjoys long walks with the family gundog, Sparky, and is training to be a counsellor where she hopes, one day, to be able to provide therapy in the form of writing to those who need it.
Lisa is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme and attributes this supportive and informative scheme to her career to date, including her debut novel, Meet Me at Number Five, and last year’s perfect summer read Heart in the Right Place.