A pleasure today to be joining the blog tour – on its final day – for Tell That To My Heart by Eliza J Scott, the first book in her new Heartshaped series. Published on 22nd June, it’s now available for kindle via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support (and yes, I agree with what Eliza says in her acknowledgements – Rachel really IS Wonder Woman!), and to the author for my advance reading e-copy.
Eliza’s one of the very few Yorkshire-based women’s fiction readers I haven’t read before – I never managed to catch up with her Life on the Moors series, although it looked just my cup of tea (with or without ginger biscuits…). And the first in a new series is always a good place to start, isn’t it? Let’s take a closer look…
Jemima Dewberry wears her heart on her sleeve. Her weakness for bad boys, coupled with her track record for making bad decisions has led to endless heartbreak. The only trouble is, she can’t seem to kick the habit.
On top of that, her “dream” job at Yorkshire Portions magazine hasn’t turned out to be what she’d hoped, and she seems to have developed the knack of annoying her boss without even trying. It doesn’t help that the new girl seems to have taken an instant dislike to her. All that’s keeping her there are her best friends Anna-Lisa and Aidey, who have picked up the pieces of her shattered heart more times than they care to remember.
When Jemima’s latest boyfriend turns out to be no better than the rest, the hurt and humiliation is almost unbearable. She declares she’s finally through with love, and swears off men for life. But when charismatic Caspar De Verre walks into the office with his dangerous good looks and mesmerising smile, she’s utterly captivated, and her promises to Anna-Lisa and Aidey not to let her heart rule her head are soon forgotten.
But is Caspar all he seems? Anna-Lisa and Aidey have their doubts. And Herbert, the happy-go-lucky black Labrador Jemima’s looking after, doesn’t seem to like him either.
As Jemima falls for Caspar’s charms she finds herself being forced to confront the struggle between her head and her heart. But which one will prove the most powerful? And will Jemima get the happy-ever-after she so desperately craves?
When your dog takes a dislike to your new boyfriend, you really do know that you should be running quickly in the opposite direction, don’t you? Even when it’s not your dog (and Herbert the labrador has to be one of my favourite characters in this book…), but you have no reason to doubt his judgement? I must admit I think I would have started running at the first twinkling eye and snaggle-toothed smile (that’s Caspar, not Herbert…), but Jemima (Mim) isn’t one of the world’s best at making life choices – her last boyfriend treated her so badly, she’s become a total doormat at work, and she’s so thoroughly lovely she deserves rather better. There are times you want to shake her, make her open her eyes a little… but she’s never anything other than entirely adorable, one of this world’s lovely people.
But I will apologise now, because I have to admit that this book really wasn’t quite my cup of tea to begin with. I do know that I’m probably considerably older than its target audience, and I maybe should have read the description rather more carefully. I have a bit of an aversion to anything quite so focused on the world of work – I just struggled to engage with the daily shenanigans at the offices of Yorkshire Portions magazine. And are there really workplaces that treat their workforce quite this badly in this day and age?
But I’ll skate past that, and say that there was actually rather a lot I did really like about this book. It’s a really fun read, and I very much liked Mim herself as she lurched from disaster to disaster – and I particularly enjoyed her supportive friendships, all so well drawn. There were a few characters I really didn’t like at all, but I wasn’t meant to – they might be only a whisker away from caricatures, but do work really well in terms of the humour and for the situations that develop (just wait until you meet Honey…).
I loved the York setting – maybe the Yorkshire Portions offices are on a fictional “Gate”, but I’ve sat in those queues of traffic, dodged the crowds on the pavements, had lunch in very similar cafes and pubs, and the author really brings the city streets to life. The focus is widened really well too – the village on the outskirts where Mim lives (and the neighbours closely watching every twist and turn of your life – I live in Wetherby, remember, so very familiar!), and the descriptions of the surrounding countryside as she takes Herbert for his walks are quite beautifully done.
And I must add that the writing is excellent – very well-written dialogue, and I liked the emotional touch with the sharing of Mim’s inner thoughts and struggles. The humour’s wonderful too – an undeniable “romp” at times, mainly driven by some of those more dislikable characters, but never anything other than really good fun.
And I really did enjoy Mim’s journey towards her happy-ever-after – the warmth of the friendships takes centre stage, she slowly finds her way (with a few slips off the path…), and I thought the ending was particularly perfect, with a really nice emotional touch.
While I do think a younger reader would probably enjoy it more, I really do recommend this one – a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon in the garden, and it’ll bring a smile to your face and most certainly warm your heart.
About the author
Eliza is proud to be a member of the RNA. She lives in a 17th-century cottage in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.
When she’s not reading or gardening, Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake. Her biggest weakness is ginger biscuits dunked in tea.
Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with relatable female characters. She enjoys exploring the dynamics of female friendship, with a key feature of her books being how women pull together and support one another when things get tough. Eliza’s novels will always have happy endings.