|The cover is as cute as the book!|
21st April 2016, Mills and Boon, 304 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Content: moderately mild romance, lots of humour
Summary from Mills and Boon
The perfect escape to the country…
Recently single and tired of the London rat race Amanda is determined to make her dreams of setting up an idyllic countryside boutique come true, and the picturesque village of West¬field is the perfect place to make a fresh start.
Local vet Ben is the golden boy of West¬field, especially to resident gossip Agatha Mayweather, who is determined to help Ben get his life back together after his wife left.
When a chance encounter outside the ‘chic boutique’ sets sparks flying between Amanda and Ben, Agatha is itching to set them up. But are Amanda and Ben really ready for romance?
For some bizarre reason I was convinced this was a cozy mystery for the first quarter of the book - clearly I had cozy mysteries on the brain and expected every book to be one. This is most clearly one of my beloved shop fiction reads! The story centres around The Chic Boutique run by Amanda, who is a sweet girl trying to get over a horrible disappointment in her previous job. That is an understatement, and I will say it does plague her throughout the book, but there is very much a happy ending. Her previous boyfriend is a moron on many levels which I'll leave you to find out for yourself.
As with all my shop fiction reads (I did kind of make up the genre, it might exist somewhere...) I adore how Amanda starts from scratch with her boutique. It's so cool that she lives above the shop too. At first she encounters a few problems, mostly lack of customers. However, the super friendly (aka extremely nosy and interfering but in a nice way) women of the community soon drag Amanda into their circles, getting her to help them in exchange for getting her more custom. As the friendships deepen so too does Amanda's creativity when she sees more of country life. I loved seeing her imagination create cute craft items, and have her expand on the original vision for her shop.
All the characters are likable, especially Agatha and her gang. I giggled so much at their interfering with Amanda and Ben's relationship, and laughed harder when Amanda got her own back on Agatha. Agatha is a widow, and no one messes with her...until Amanda turns the tables! While not my focus of any story, the romance between Amanda and Ben was sweet. I was thrilled to bits when she got some kittens - it only added to the brilliance of owning a shop (& living above it). There are a few glitches, naturally, which propelled Amanda to change direction in her personal life. I can honestly say I don't think I've hated anyone's parents as much as I did hers (& her ex). They just don't care for her happiness at all, which thankfully she finds in and around Baker Street.
This is definitely a feel good, funny, upbeat + inspiring must read & a reread - and please can someone make an audiobook version? I really really want to listen on it while I crochet and sew!
Find out more on Rachel's website.