It’s such a pleasure today to help launch the blog tour for A Village Affair by Julie Houston: the paperback was published on 6th February by Aria Fiction, but it’s also available for kindle, Kobo, as an iBook and via Googleplay. My thanks to Vicky at Aria for my invitation and all her support, and for my own copy of the paperback that’s now looking beautiful on my bookshelf.
I read this book when it was first published for kindle back in November 2018 – and although I’d already thoroughly enjoyed Looking for Lucy way back in 2016 (you’ll find my review here, along with an interview), and very much liked An Off-Piste Christmas too (review here), THIS was the book that firmly secured Julie’s place on my “favourite authors” list. And the wonderful books have continued – I adored Coming Home to Holly Close Farm when I read it in February 2019 (review here), and I’m already champing at the bit to dive into her next one, Sing Me a Secret, due for publication on 7th May and available now for pre-order for your kindle.
I see that A Village Affair has already sold 120,000 copies – and there are already so many wonderful reviews, but I’m really looking forward to seeing more as part of the tour now the paperback’s available. You’ll find all the stops here…
So let’s take a closer look…
Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head teacher at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.
As if it weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the front of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.
But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…
And here’s my review, just once more…
You’ll know by now that I’m not always a pushover for romantic comedies – and when I saw that this book included a glorious love object, a squirrel in the school pink custard and goolies in the cellar, I did start to doubt that it would be entirely one I’d love. But the humour was totally spot-on for me, and perfectly judged – add in farmer’s wife and friend Fiona and her unguarded comments, Lithuanian lollipop lady Deimante and her grasp of English, and the most wonderful little vignettes of school life, and this book often had me quite helpless with laughter.
But the author has a quite perfect touch and sense of balance – although you’re never that many pages away from the next laugh, the whole book is also poignant and touching, a really engaging story full of unexpected twists and turns, a strong and believable love story, a tale of corporate greed, a family drama with some real edge, and so very much more. And it’s all shot through with a strong sense of place, some wonderfully drawn characters, and a real flavour of Yorkshire that just couldn’t fail to win my heart.
Cassie is a magnificent focus for the story, with her many different faces – Mrs Beresford to the children at Little Acorns, Cassandra Moonbeam thanks to her gloriously eccentric (and rather wonderful) mother, Cass to her errant husband Mark, mum to her family, Cassie only to her lovely circle of friends. She made me laugh, she sometimes made me cheer, she made me really worry for her, she frequently made me want to give her a big hug – and I really wanted, rather against the odds at times, for her to have the happy ending she so thoroughly deserved.
You might read far better and more thorough reviews than mine of this lovely book, but you’re very unlikely to find a reviewer who enjoyed it more than I did. I loved this book without reservation.
About the author
Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number1 bestseller. She is married, with the two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.
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