I’m really delighted today to be helping launch the blog tour for A Wish For Jo by Audrey Davis, the second in her Cranley Wishes series, and to share my publication day review. Independently published, this lovely book is now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US. Many thanks, as always, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for providing my e-copy for review.
After repeated failed promises to read and review The Haunting of Hattie Hastings (what can I say – life’s tough at times…) I finally managed to catch up with Audrey’s writing in July 2020 when I read and reviewed A Wish For Jinnie – you can read my review again here. It really didn’t look like the book for me at all – a genie that grants wishes? – but I absolutely adored it, both the idea behind it and the way it was delivered. It was the perfect escape from real life for a while (at a time when I really needed it), I really loved the cast of quirky characters, and, best of all, it really made me laugh. I did read and really enjoy another (and very different) book from Audrey, Lost in Translation, in January last year (you’ll find my review here) – but I really hoped she’d be returning to Cranley, and I made no secret of the fact that I’d love to read Jo’s story.
So I couldn’t have been more thrilled when she told me this book was on its way – the long-awaited sequel to A Wish for Jinnie (and they are perhaps best read in order – but that’s just twice the enjoyment…), and the story I really wanted to read. Life can be just perfect at times too, can’t it?!
Jo Milligan’s café — A Bit of Crumpet — is her pride and joy.
But icing cakes and baking pastries in the sleepy Scottish village of Cranley isn’t hitting the sweet spot.
Jo longs for some excitement in her life.
The arrival of gruff stranger Harvey Quinn doesn’t fill her with joy. Nor does the appearance of an unlikely assistant with an unexpected gift … and a serious attitude problem.
Genie Aaliyah grants Jo three wishes, but coming up with ideas proves challenging.
As Jo grows closer to Cranley’s newest resident, secrets threaten to derail their relationship.
Can Jo find a way to cook up a happy ending, or do the ingredients add up to a recipe for disaster?
If ever there was someone who needed a touch of magic in their life, it’s Jo. She was one of my favourite characters in the first book in this lovely series – although a friend and confidante to everyone who crosses the threshold of A Bit of Crumpet (isn’t that the perfect name for a cafe and cake shop?), her sadness at being without her parents and her essential loneliness really touched me, and I’d so hoped she’d take centre stage and have her moment in the spotlight, and just maybe her own happy ending. And sure enough, she gave that lamp on the shelf a polish and it brought Aaliyah into her life – not the kindly genie of fairy tales, but a rather stunning and particularly high-maintenance Geordie with absolutely no filter who quickly makes herself at home and needs to be kept away from the customers at all costs.
And where there’s a genie, there have to be three wishes. The first is an easy choice for Jo, returning to a time when she was happy – it’ll touch the heart of everyone that joins her on that journey. The second? Just wonderful – something she’s always wanted to do, the experience of a lifetime, tremendous fun, making you cheer her on to its joy-filled conclusion. But the third is more of a challenge, and proves to be the most satisfying of them all. There’s a newcomer to Cranley – Harvey Quinn, a down-on-his-luck actor, drinking too much, filled with sadness after the loss of his wife (the love of his life) and his career and reputation. And Jo – as she often does – manages to see past his dour exterior, begins to bring some lightness into his life, and there might just be a chance for them both to find some happiness.
The characters in this book are just wonderful – Jo already had a place in my heart, but Harvey’s story (the book sees things from both their perspectives) was one I entirely engaged with and thoroughly enjoyed. Aaliyah is a total riot – her every ham-fisted intervention is unpredictable and filled with laughs, and the unexpected reappearance of Dhassim only makes things many times worse. And all the characters I loved from the first book are here again – the quirky ones with lovely cameo appearances, the established ones moving on with their lives but with others still caught up in the difficult situations they’re handling. And we get to meet Jinnie again – after all, she does have a unique perspective on what it’s like to have a genie in your life – and the lovely Sam, still blissfully unaware (or is he?) of the touch of magic that brought them together.
This book is such fun – the humour really sparkles – but that doesn’t mean the storylines don’t have their serious moments. I mentioned when I reviewed the first book that the author has a commendable lightness of touch – any issues are really sensitively handled, given the right importance, but never allowed to weigh the story down. There were a few moments in this book that certainly brought a tear to my eye – but I always had a smile on my face, and there were so many other moments of sheer joy and laughter.
A little bird told me there will be a third book in this series, featuring another of my favourite characters – and I was thrilled to hear it. This really is the loveliest series – we all need a touch of magic in our lives, don’t we? – and I recommend it really highly.
About the author
Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.
She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.
Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018.
A Wish For Jinnie was published in June 2020, and her fifth book – Lost In Translation – in January 2021.
All her books are available as Kindle ebooks and paperbacks through Amazon.
Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.