Yes, I’m hooked again! Back in August I shared my review of Summer Nights in Lantern Square by Helen Rolfe, the first in a new four-part serial: today I’m delighted to share my review of the second part, Falling Leaves in Lantern Square, published for kindle by Orion on 8th October. The e-copy I read was my own, purchased from Amazon, preordered along with the final two books in the series.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never really been a great fan of stories told in parts – I rather prefer the books I read to have a beginning, middle and end. But that was until I discovered Helen’s last four-parter, now available as a complete story, The Little Café at the End of the Pier, in paperback, as an ebook and on audio. When it was originally published in four parts, I really loved it – eagerly awaiting each new episode, hoping it would all turn out the way I really wanted it to (it didn’t – but I’ve forgiven her because the ending was just perfect!). So when I saw this new series, I just knew I had to spend some time in the Cotswolds with Hannah and her Butterbury friends….
Step into the cosy community of Lantern Square…
Hannah has found where she belongs in the little village of Butterbury. Her care package business, Tied Up With String, is overwhelmed with orders, and she’s even made peace with Joe, the arrogant local doctor. But in her personal life, things aren’t quite so simple. Hannah moved to Butterbury for a fresh start, but the past won’t seem to let her go…
Her ex-boyfriend, Luke, has charmed his way back into her life, reminding her of the future they once dreamed of together. And when her one-time best friend Georgia appears on her doorstep, wanting in on the action, Hannah must try to forgive and forget. As the leaves turn golden in Lantern Square, can Hannah open her heart and learn to trust again…
Fast forward a little from the first part, and Hannah is now very much part of her new community – her care package business is going from strength to strength, she enjoys her visits to the old people’s home (where she’s made unlikely friends she can confide in), and she’s even beginning to get on with her miserable (and nosy) neighbour. Things might not have progressed with the dishy doctor – but she hasn’t forgotten the lovely night at the summer fair. This time the story focuses more on those echoes from Hannah’s previous life – and it’s really well done – with a day spent with her ex-boyfriend Luke and his family, some deeper secrets revealed, and the reappearance of another (initially unwelcome) face from her past.
The emotional content is excellent – there’s more than a touch of real sadness, but balanced with lightness and a heartwarming quality that makes it a thoroughly lovely read. The theme is really about forgiveness, trust and new beginnings – and despite the constraint of the number of pages, the author develops it really well, as well as fleshing out some of the characters. And the setting is perfect too, with the loveliest of descriptions – particularly the grounds of Maplebrooke Manor and its tree house, but also the whole Butterbury setting – and I do rather wish someone would set up a stand with churros and hot chocolate in the close where I live too.
The story’s now really nicely set up for the third part – and I’m really looking forward to reading more. I’m concerned about the lovely Hannah, thinking about the people around her – and there are so many possibilities for where the story might go next. Really perfect – I’m ready to find out what Christmas brings…!
The third part, Christmas in Lantern Square, will follow on 5th November, with Snowfall in Lantern Square available on 3rd December: both parts are available for pre-order. If you’d prefer to wait for the whole book, the complete Lantern Square story will be published for kindle and in paperback on 25th June next year – and yes, that’s available for pre-order too.
About the author
Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.