I’m delighted today to be helping launch the blog tour for The Colour of Summer by Victoria Connelly, and to share my publication day review. This is the third in The House in the Clouds trilogy, independently published for kindle today (free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers – and I’m sure the paperback will be along very soon!), available via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading e-copy.
My first taste of Victoria Connelly’s lovely writing was with The Book Lovers – it had always looked like one I’d enjoy, but (what was I thinking?!) it took me five years to get round to reading it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it – you’ll find my review here. And then came a quite wonderful standalone, The Beauty of Broken Things – I unreservedly loved it, one of my 2020 Books of the Year, a very special book indeed (you’ll find my review here). When I heard about this new trilogy, I’d planned to read every book – but fell at the first hurdle when I just couldn’t fit in the first, The House in the Clouds. But I very happily picked up the second in the series, High Blue Sky, soon fell in love with Winfield Hall in the same way Abi and Edward had, and immersed myself in the relationships between the well-drawn characters, the obstacles they needed to overcome, all set against the most beautifully drawn backdrop of their new home and the natural world (you can read my full review again here). I was very much looking forward to returning, to see how life had moved on for the friends I’d found…
How long can you hide your past from the one you love?
When Abigail and Edward became co-owners of historic Winfield Hall in the beautiful Sussex countryside, they had little idea what the future held. But, as the days of summer lengthen, their feelings towards one another grow and love begins to blossom.
Harry and Aura have been a couple for a year now and, with the summer solstice approaching, Harry hatches a very special plan. He just hopes that the sun, moon and the stars are all in alignment.
But not everything is going to plan. Life has a way of catching up with you and it isn’t long before Abi discovers that Edward’s been lying about his past, and the family secrets he’s been hiding now threaten their future happiness. Can Edward make amends for his mistakes and will Abi ever be able to forgive and trust him again?
Heartwarming and uplifting, The Colour of Summer is the final book in The House in the Clouds trilogy by bestselling author Victoria Connelly.
Heartwarming and uplifting, but also totally delightful – infused with the warmth of summer sunshine, well drawn and sympathetic characters, some gentle conflict to drive the story, a little loss and sadness, moments of joy and laughter, a few secrets to make things difficult at times, and a couple of romances that developed into everything I wanted them to be.
Winfield Hall really is the most glorious location – vividly described, home to its joint owners Abi and Edward, and the other four flats now occupied too. Harry and Aura’s relationship is now a year on, and in one thread of the story their story is picked up once more – and it’s just perfect, the loveliest romance as the family issues of the past are overcome and they look forward to a happy future together. As for Abi and Edward – the barriers are coming down nicely, but when he won’t fully share the secrets in his life it just doesn’t look as if things will work out between them. And all’s not well with the new tenants – Tim the author is no problem (until he takes on a sideline), but Samantha’s attitude and lack of consideration for others begins to cause real problems.
There was nothing about this book that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy – I was totally invested in both the central relationships, really hoping they’d all have their happy endings. The secondary characters are excellent too – Edward’s feckless brother, Abi’s friend and confidant Ronnie in his beautiful cottage a short bicycle ride away, her struggling sister Ellen, Harry’s parents now far more in tune with his new relationship. There are secrets in Abi’s past too, a little angst at times, some real moments of sadness that bring a tear or two, more than a little drama – the author’s storytelling is superb, and her emotional touch quite perfect.
One striking thing about this lovely book – and about the whole series – is the characters’ relationship with the natural world, the calmness and solace it brings. The garden at the hall is a wonderful sanctuary, beautifully drawn – I’d like to slip off my shoes like Harry and feel that connection. And I enjoyed Abi’s creative endeavours too – jewellery design this time, inspired by a gift from a particularly special friend.
Should you be concerned about picking up the third book in a series, it really would work just perfectly as a stand-alone – there’s just enough scene-setting and background to make it easy to feel entirely at home at Winfield Hall and to understand what’s gone before. But why not try the whole series? This book was just gorgeous – highly recommended by me.
About the author
Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.