A Village Affair by Julie Houston ~ Contemporary #Romantic #Fiction reviewed for #RBRT @JulieHouston2 #FridayReads

Author: Julie Houston

Published: November 2018 by Aria

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance, Book Review

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

Cassie Beresford’s life was pretty perfect—a handsome, loving husband, two great kids, a beautiful home and she was about to realise her professional dream of the deputy head position at Little Acorns primary school. She and Mark, with a group of their closest friends, were attending a charity auction when Cassie’s world as she knows it takes a shocking turn. Her husband and her best friend Tina, have been having an affair for the past two years. It was announced in spectacular style to the whole room by Tina’s inebriated husband.

Cassie gets through the next few weeks with difficulty, not made any easier by the fact she is asked to fill in as head teacher, starting immediately. There’s also a development company planning to build a housing estate on the green belt  around the village, which includes her grandfather’s wildflower meadow. Making a bad situation worse, they also want to demolish Little Acorns.

‘The village of Westenbury itself, really,’ Edward smiled. ‘We own it all.’

‘But not our little bit.’ David smiled back, the smile not quite reaching his eyes. ‘The Church owns the land Little Acorns is built on.’

‘But we own all the fields, all the land that surrounds the school…’

‘And you want our little bit of land because, without it, you can’t access your huge amount of land to build the three thousand plus houses the Bamforth Estate has put forward the plans for to Midhope Council.’

Cassie is a very likeable and sympathetic character and I love how she manages to turn her life around after the huge shock of her husband’s affair and at the same time being thrust into the role of a single parent. Luckily she has excellent support in the form of friends and family. The new job and the fight against the development help to keep her mind off her personal problems.

I think I was fooled somewhat by the cover. I hadn’t read Julie Houston before otherwise I probably would have known better, because A Village Affair wasn’t at all what I was expecting (and I mean that in a good way.) Although the narrative is full of humour, which balances out the heartache and drama, serious and more sensitive subjects are handled delicately and are interspersed with wonderful and sometimes hilarious illustrations of life in a primary school

A very well written, real and easy to relate to story with memorable, well defined characters. I particularly enjoyed Cassie’s free spirited and unconventional mother. The unpredictability of life makes Cassie re-evaluate who she is and what she wants and, more importantly, what she doesn’t want. With some great twists the pace is steady but never slow. A really lovely read. I’ll definitely be reading more of Julie Houston’s books.

I chose to read and review A Village Affair for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.    

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About the Author

Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

She hates skiing, gets sick on boats and wouldn’t go pot-holing or paddy diving if her life depended on it.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook  

Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin by Helen J Rolfe #Romance @HJRolfe @rararesources #BlogTour #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

My Review

I hadn’t realised this was part of a series — it seems to be becoming a habit lately. Apart from feeling at a slight disadvantage when the characters make an appearance initially, it works well as a standalone. There are snippets here and there which fill in some of the background. Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin is told in alternating chapters from the third person perspectives of Holly and Mitch.

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Last Breath (The Good Daughter #0.5) by Karin Slaughter #Novella #Psychological Mystery

Author: Karin Slaughter

Published: September 2017 by HarperCollins

Category: Legal, Mystery, Psychological, Crime, Novella, Book Review

Protecting someone always comes at a cost.

At the age of thirteen, Charlie Quinn’s childhood came to an abrupt and devastating end. Two men, with a grudge against her lawyer father, broke into her home – and after that shocking night, Charlie’s world was never the same.

Charlie Quinn has made it her mission to help people who have no one else to turn to by becoming a defence attorney. She has no wish to be a high earner like her father, the notorious Rusty Quinn, defending those who more often than not deserved a prison sentence. 

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A Merciful Secret (Mercy Kilpatrick Book 3) by @KendraElliot #CrimeFiction set in Oregon #Suspense #FridayReads

Author: Kendra Elliot

Published: January 2018 by Montlake Romance

Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Book Review

Raised off the grid by survivalists, Mercy Kilpatrick believed in no greater safeguard than the backwoods of Oregon. Unforgiven by her father for abandoning the fold for the FBI, Mercy still holds to her past convictions. They’re in her blood. They’re her secrets—as guarded as her private survival retreat hidden away in the foothills.

Mercy Kilpatrick is returning from her hideaway retreat in the woods when a young girl, covered in blood, runs out in front of her car.

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Bleak Harbour by @BryanGruley ~ Psychological Suspense/Mystery #BleakHarbor #NetGalley #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Bryan Gruley

Published: December 2018 by Thomas & Mercer

Category: Psychological, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Book Review

Their son is gone. Deep down, they think they’re to blame.

Summertime in Bleak Harbor means tourists, overpriced restaurants, and the Dragonfly Festival. One day before the much-awaited and equally chaotic celebration, Danny Peters, the youngest member of the family that founded the town five generations ago, disappears.

The prologue sets the scene for a kidnapping so we know something bad is about to happen, but not who the perpetrators are.

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The Green Viper (James Ryker Book 4) by Rob Sinclair ~ Gangland War in NYC #CrimeThriller @RSinclairAuthor

Author: Rob Sinclair

Published: November 2018 by Bloodhound Books

Category: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Book Review

Ex-intelligence agent James Ryker receives a coded message through a secret drop point, a means of communication known only to him and one other person. The problem is, that person is his ex-boss, Mackie… and he’s already dead.

But the cry for help is real, and it’s a request Ryker can’t refuse.

Ryker receives a message through a channel no-one but his old boss, Mackie should have known about. But Mackie was dead.

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Him With The Beard by Pernille Meldgaard Pedersen #BookReview & #Giveaway @Pernille56 @rararesources #BlogBlitz

Welcome to this one day blog blitz for Him With The Beard, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources

My Review

Stella and her family love Christmas, the colourful lights, Christmas scents around the house and, particularly for Stella, working as one of Santa’s elves in the local shopping mall. 

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A Lion Is Not Just For Christmas (Norfolk Mysteries Novella Book 2) by @henrigyland #Mystery @rararesources #BlogTour #FridayReads

Im delighted to be joining the blog tour for A Lion Is Not Just for Christmas, courtesy of Rachels Random Resources

My Review

I was intrigued by the title (Christmas and a lion don’t usually go together) and, although it’s the second book in a series, it can definitely be read as a standalone.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ La Petite Boulain (Above all Others: The Lady Anne #1) by G. Lawrence @TudorTweep #HistoricalFiction

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week I’m revisiting La Petite Boulain by Gemma Lawrence, published in 2016, and reminding myself to get the third book in the trilogy read, it’s been waiting in my kindle for far too long.

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Five Ladies Go Skiing: A feel-good novel of friendship and love by @KarenAldous_ @rararesources #Giveaway #TuesdayBookBlog

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Five Ladies Go Skiing, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

My Review

Ginny Watts is facing her first Christmas without her husband and the job she loved. Kim Anderson couldn’t wait for her trip to Europe. After being in Australia for several years she really wants to move back to England.

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