Summer at Hollyhock House by Cathy Bussey
Today I am pleased to take part in the blog tour for Summer at Hollyhock House by Cathy Bussey. Thank you to Caoimhe at Sapere Books for the chance to read this book and give an honest and impartial review.
An uplifting romantic comedy from a new voice in women’s fiction! Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Debbie Johnson, Jenny Colgan and Holly Martin.
One long summer changed Faith forever…
Faith Coombes should have been over the moon when her long-term boyfriend proposed to her. But instead, she broke up with him. Rob was safe, reliable, nice and … boring. Nothing like the only person who had ever broken her heart…
Unable to afford the rent on another flat and desperate for a new start, Faith takes the plunge and moves back to the village she grew up in, returning to the house that holds so many memories for her.
Hollyhock House, the family home of her best-friend Minel, also belongs to the boy who meant so much to her all those years ago…
As Faith falls back in love with the sprawling surroundings at Hollyhock she also finds herself falling all over again for the only person who has truly hurt her.
Can Faith come to terms with her past? Did she make the wrong decision in breaking up with Rob?
Or does her heart really lie at Hollyhock House?
Summer at Hollyhock House is a charming romantic comedy full of lost loves, missed opportunities and second chances. This summer read, perfect for the holidays, will have you laughing-out-loud in parts, close to tears in others, and above all, championing Faith as she searches for what is most important to her.
Something is missing from Faith’s life and even kind, dependable boyfriend Rob can’t make her happy. When Rob proposes in front of all his friends, Faith realises that things must change. She turns down the proposal and heads off back to her parents who still live in the village where she grew up.
Faith returns to Hollyhock House to see childhood friend Minel and is offered a summer job she can’t turn down. Minel asks her to renovate the gardens as part of a surprise for her parent’s wedding anniversary. Faith has fond memories of Hollyhock House but a secret romance with Minel’s brother Rik stirs lots of memories…both good and bad.
When Faith inevitably meets up with Rik again he seems disinterested and abrasive. I liked how Cathy Bussey described the intense awkwardness between them, it really bought back that well-known feeling of teenage heartbreak.
Then, when reminiscing about a party when they were teenagers, it suddenly dawns on Faith that there may have been a huge misunderstanding.
This is a lovely summer read that I found engaging and touching. At first, I didn’t warm to the characters but gradually as the story developed I began to see that the individuals all had their own stories to tell and reasons for the way that they behaved. The main theme is missed opportunities, friendship, miscommunication and second chances. There were sweet and lighthearted moments, diverse characters and a warm, nostalgic feel to the story.
Cathy is an author, journalist and hopeless romantic who wrote her first book at the tender age of six. Entitled Tarka the Otter, it was a shameless rip-off of the Henry Williamson classic of the same name, and the manuscript was lost after she sent it to her pen-pal and never heard a jot from her since.
Fortunately reception to her writing became more favourable and she spent ten years working for a range of newspapers and magazines covering everything from general elections and celebrity scandals to cats stuck up trees and village fetes. She has been freelance since 2011 and written for The Telegraph, Red Online, Total Women’s Cycling and other lifestyle and cycling publications and websites.
She is the author of three non-fiction books and her debut and thankfully non-plagiarised novel Summer at Hollyhock House has been published by Sapere Books.
Cathy lives on the leafy London/Surrey border with her husband, two children and a dog with only two facial expressions, hungry and guilty. Her hobbies include mountain biking, photography, wandering around outside getting lost, fantasising about getting her garden under control, reading, looking at pretty things on Instagram and drinking tea. You can find her there @cathybussey1 (https://www.instagram.com/cathybussey/?hl=en), on Twitter @CathyBussey (https://twitter.com/CathyBussey?lang=en) or visit her website http://www.cathybussey.com.