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.
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.