It’s far too long since I last read a book from Hannah Lynn – and I’m really delighted to be helping launch the blog tour today for The Sweet Shop of Second Chances, and to share my review. This book was independently published back in June 2021, and is now available as an e-book (free if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber), in paperback, and also as an audiobook. And I really must tell you that it’s the first in a planned four book series – so when you find you enjoy it as much as I did, you can go on straight away and read Romance at the Sweet Shop of Second Chances and Turmoil at the Sweet Shop of Second Chances, and will only need to wait until October for the fourth and final part. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading e-copy.
I first discovered Hannah’s writing when I read and reviewed the gloriously quirky Fiona and the Whale back in 2019 (you’ll find my review here), and I immediately declared myself a fan – I see it’s now been republished as Treading Water, and I’d recommend it really highly. And I then took a bit of a risk and read Erotic Fiction? – which, worry not, wasn’t erotica at all (phew!) but a wonderful comedy about a harassed mum and her husband who decide to write the next steamy bestseller (you’ll find my review of that one here – I really loved it). I can only apologise that I haven’t read another of her books since then (if everyone else would just stop writing please…), and I really did want to catch up with her Peas and Carrots series – in fact, if you’d like to try one of them too, Hannah’s currently offering the chance to win one of five signed paperbacks of The Sweet Shop of Second Chances in a special promotion, but every single entrant will receive a free digital copy of one book from that series.
But enough – we’re here to meet Holly Berry and find out about the sweet shop, and I was really looking forward to seeing if Hannah Lynn’s writing still had the same magic I remembered…
“A delightful, well written tale, full of wonderful characters in a charming setting. I loved it!” – Katie Fforde
Starting over never tasted so good
Holly Berry has it all; a good corporate career, a steady boyfriend, and enough savings that they will soon be able to buy a nice little house. But when she finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her, she decides to retreat to the Cotswolds and a place full of far sweeter memories.
However when Holly discovers the quaint village sweet shop that she worked in as a teenager is starting to crumble she decides that maybe the sensible life isn’t what she wants after all. Putting all her chocolate eggs in one basket, she says goodbye to the city, and sets her sights on Just One More.
After all, how hard can running a sweet shop be?
With charismatic Giles, ready to rescue her at every turn and the local bureaucrats breathing down her neck, it certainly isn’t the quiet life she expected. Can Holly really save the place from the the wicked developers, or will she be the reason Just One More closes its doors for good?
Full of laughter, sweet clean romance and cozy village life, The Sweet Shop of Second Chances will make you believe that the best things in life really are worth fighting for.
Do you know, there have been times when I’ve wondered whether I might just have read one book too many where an endearing heroine fights the odds and saves a shop/cafe, finding love along the way. And then I come across a book like this – a beautifully written and particularly well-told story, with a few unexpected twists and turns, a wonderfully drawn cast of characters, a lovely focus on friends and family, and a romance I never saw coming – and then I think I must have been insane to think that I could ever tire of reading them when there are treasures like this to discover.
I loved the setting of this one – Bourton-on-the-Water, the Venice of the Cotswolds, described in the kind of detail that entirely brings into life and whisks you away to the perfect location (and it’s beautifully represented on the book’s rather lovely cover). But to Holly it’s “home”, and where she runs to when her new life in London falls apart. With some money set aside, she’s delighted to find that the old-fashioned sweet shop where she worked so happily as a teenager is up for sale – and she decides to take it on, moving into the elderly owner’s also-up-for-sale cottage. And for a while, it looks like taking on the sweet shop might be one of the worst decisions she could have possibly made – a knackered door lock and a set of scales that stick are just the start of her many problems.
And everything gets worse when she discovers that it’s more than just bad luck – she wasn’t the only potential buyer for the business, and they’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on it. But she has a network of new friends in her corner – and every time things take a turn for the worse and she decides she might need to throw the towel in, they’re there to help her weather the storm and live to fight another day. And that second chance romance we were promised? Well, let’s just say she might be looking in the wrong direction.
This book is very funny indeed – but it’s one of those lovely books that achieves that perfect balance between the smiles (and, just sometimes, the belly laughs) and those moments of real poignancy when you’d really like to step into the book for a while and give Holly a big hug. But she has friends and family who can do just that – I just loved the warmth of their support (there’s one edge-of-the-seat rescue later on in the book that had me both cheering and wiping away a tear), and the way they always watched her back. And the whole story twists and turns really satisfyingly – and at a fair old pace, each new challenge appearing hot on the heels of the one before.
When you see the title, I couldn’t blame you if your first reaction might be “it’s yet another of those books” – you know, the ones you don’t read any more because you think the whole idea’s a bit tired. But do give this one a try – I thought the same, but this book is quite wonderfully fresh and original, and just the story you need to lift you up and put a smile on your face. I loved every minute – and recommend it really highly.
About the author
Hannah Lynn is a multi award winning novelist. After publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel – in 2015, her second book, The Afterlife of Walter Augustus – a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist – went on to win the 2018 Kindle Storyteller Award and the Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Best Adult Ebook.
Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent 15 years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then Thailand, Malaysia, Austria and Jordan. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction.
Now settled back in the UK with her husband, daughter and horde of cats, she spends her days writing romantic comedies and historical fiction. Her first historical fiction novel, Athena’s Child, was also a 2020 Gold Medalist at the Independent Publishers Awards.