I’m behind on book reviews, so here’s my attempt at redemption: Five quick and dirty reviews on a Friday night. 🙂
This is the BEST of the Willoughby Close novels — light, fun, witty, believable. Loved Alice’s story, including her realistic fears about feeling settled after being a drifter for so long, and her reactions to handsome-but-snobby Henry. Alice was the perfect companion to elderly and frail Lady Stokely, unobtrusive and kind. I liked the cameos by the Willoughby Close neighbors from previous books in the series, and Hewitt did a fabulous job having them stay true to themselves — as did Alice, even when she fell in love. This is one of my favorite summer British chick lit reads, but you might want to prep by reading book 1 first.
I love these quick and fun Willoughby Close novels. Trying circumstances send a person to Willoughby Close to rent a cottage on manor property. The person grows in various ways, gets a hand up if necessary, chooses a direction, and makes their life the best they can. Kiss Me is Ava’s story… and boy howdy does she need a cottage to live in after her rich husband dies and leaves her with next to nothing, not even one of their several homes.
At Willoughby Close, Ava learns how to interact with people on a friendly and neighborly level, reach out when someone needs help, and show her true colors instead of putting on a façade. Ava finds more than just her strength at Willoughby… she also finds the handsome and sensitive alpha groundskeeper, throwing a wrench into all her plans to be independent.
While Ava is surrounded by good people who want to help her, she does plenty of helping herself — and even taking the time for a young woman who could use a break.
I love that Hewitt focuses on second chances, and it’s uplifting to see good people making something positive out of those chances.
This is book three of a super cool series by Kate Hewitt. Even though you can read them as standalones, they’re each so good that I think you should read them all!
I thought I wouldn’t like cool, haughty, richy-rich Harriet with the snotty daughter, but I did! Harriet fit herself right in to Willoughby Close, despite her own discomfort, for the good of her children. She made some missteps, screwed up a few things marriage-wise, and was more materialistic than I could stomach … but Harriet redeemed herself by showing heart and diving in to a journey of self-discovery and development.
I so enjoyed Harriet’s adventures with her children, the elderly neighbor, and the family next door. I also appreciated Harriet’s time spent alone – where Hewitt showed the reader quite clearly Harriet’s struggles and growth. Who knew I would come to love Harriet so much? And that after she changed she would be loved just as dearly by her family and new friends.
I can’t say enough about Hewitt’s masterful development of characters. Applause from me for writing light stories with meaningful messages and big heart.
No need to read book one to enjoy this second installment of Falling for the Freemans. Hewitt made it easy to get to know Quinn Freeman, youngest brother in the family, commitment-phobe, and general screw-up. Well… in the past. And it was smooth sailing figuring out Quinn’s direction once he arrived in his former hometown of Creighton Falls: fix up the old family inn, and bring some vitality back to the town.
I adored Quinn’s plumber, Meghan. What a strong woman, to choose to be the primary caretaker of her sister with special needs, and deny herself her own dreams to be an integral part of her family and her town.
Quinn and Meghan aren’t perfect in Falling Hard, but they sure are cute together. Hewitt brings in ancillary characters just enough to add interest to the plot and tie the series together. This book focuses mostly on Quinn and Meghan — and it works for this small-town romance.
A Cotswold Christmas introduced this series, but you can certainly read Willoughby Close as a standalone. Willoughby Close is a little collection of charming cottages on a large estate of a lovely royal-ish elderly lady. I have a feeling a collection of charming people will inhabit them all by the time the series is finished!
For now, we meet Ellie and her daughter Abby. Ellie has a new job at the University, and Abby is looking forward to making a fresh start where friends are concerned.
I so love how Hewitt wrote professor Oliver — the guy Ellie works for. He’s nerdy and introverted and stays true to himself. Hewitt did a phenomenal job developing Ellie, as well. Ellie is a little nervous and quirky, and she’s quite unsure of herself most of the time. That could be annoying, but not here. Hewitt made her real and relatable. I like Ellie’s mom side and her romantic side – she appears to the reader as a whole fleshed out character with different facets – just like a pal in real life!
I also really like how the new neighbors moved in and they’ll be the focus of the next book in the series. And how the Close’s superintendent is a flirt! This is a fun read that touches on some harrowing issues in just the right way.
This quick and easy holiday romance was cute, but not as satisfying as I’d hoped. Maybe its brevity precluded some of the depth I’ve come to appreciate in cozy romance novels.
Anna heads to the Cotswolds from New York City, hoping for a respite from the pressures of life: relationships, work, and family. What she finds is no room at the inn, and a second-rate offer by the innkeeper’s cousin Colin. Colin is a happy go lucky guy who forms an attraction for Anna.
I won’t spoil it, but when two roads diverge in a yellow wood, Anna and Colin don’t have too many choices: they fall for each other or they don’t… someone moves halfway around the world or someone doesn’t.
This is book one in a series, and it definitely seemed like an introduction. I wanted more substance, some subplots, and a more memorable hero. But it was charming and well-written, and a nice way to familiarize readers with a new setting… especially for the price ($2.99). Here’s hoping book two hits me right in the heart!
Lucy has been living in Boston – the same city as her überfeminist mother for the past two decades. With her egomania and focus on art, Fiona has managed to simultaneously humiliate, neglect and drive away Lucy. So Lucy reaches out to her sister Juliet in the western Lake District of Cumbria, England. Juliet takes Lucy in, and there begins the roller coaster of estranged sisters, emotional numbness, putting on a happy front, and trying to find love in all the right places.
Though it reads like chick lit, Rainy Day Sisters illustrates some heavy inner conflicts. Hewitt masterfully describes the mental anguish of the sisters and their love interests. Totally believable. Alex’s daughters were written well, also, from the sullen and reserved teenager to the perky and innocent primary-grader. Best of all were the townspeople of Hartley-by-the-Sea. They were quirky but not over the top. They developed authentically and I was just as interested in their stories as I was in Lucy, Juliet, Alex and Peter.
I laughed and cried and sighed at the happily ever after… And then I ran to Amazon.com looking for the next one in the series. Which isn’t out yet. Because this one was just released. 🙂 But I was just so excited to hear more about the realistic, endearing, and lovely people in the HARTLEY-BY-THE-SEA.