Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde tells the story of Hetty who has just found her boss whom she’s having an affair with in bed with another woman. So jobless, carless (due to a fit of rage), and homeless, Hetty allows her mother to convince her to housesit one of her elderly distant relative Samuel’s stately home while he recovers from surgery. Once there she finds new friends in Caroline, a woman who knows everyone and anyone, and Peter, a carpenter who develops a huge crush on Hetty. With their help and that of the rest of the community, Hetty sets out to save the manor which stands to be torn down and turned into an amusement park by Samuel’s nephew and heir, Connor.
When Conan the Barbarian, as the town affectionately calls him, arrives unexpectedly, Hetty finds herself in a bit of a predicament. She has fallen in love with the house and will do almost anything to save it. But she’s also getting to know Connor and learning he’s not as bad a person as she thought he was. And now she doesn’t know whose side she should be on or who is even on her side.
Hetty is a wonderful character who is full of life and is trying to find herself when all around her people are telling her what to do. I really admire all the hard work she puts into fixing up the manor, and I think her feelings for Connor grow in a very realistic way. And I love Connor as well as he is revealed not to be a barbarian as everyone thinks but just as human as the rest.
I thought this was a wonderful book. I couldn’t help but love Hetty and understand all the conflict she goes through in trying to find her way.
Remember Me? is one of my favorite books by Sophie Kinsella, well known for her series Confessions of a Shopaholic. The last thing Lexi Smart remembers is being out clubbing with her friends and falling in attempts to get a taxi. She wakes up only to find out that she can’t remember the last three years of her life. Everything is different. She’s married to a rich, gorgeous man. She’s head of the entire flooring department at her company. And her friends won’t talk to her.
Lexi struggles to remember something, anything in this new foreign life. But the more she lives her life, the more she realizes she’s become someone she doesn’t recognize, but she’s not quite sure what happened to the old Lexi or how to get her back at least not in the midst of a husband who eats no toast and has written her a marriage manual complete with alphabetical index.
This book is filled with a whole slew of characters including Eric, Lexi’s husband, who ends up not being quite as perfect as he seems. It was hard to see Lexi struggle with her memory loss but at the same time quite funny as she tries to rationalize the strange things her husband does. And I couldn’t help but laugh when Lexi got herself into a situation that was way above her head that ended in near disaster. But Lexi really grew and came to terms with who she really was: a Lexi that wasn’t necessarily who she had been for the past three years. I really enjoyed reading this book. There were some incredibly hilarious scenes along with some downright adorable scenes. It has a bit of everything.
Some Nerve by Jane Heller tells the story of Ann, a hollywood reporter who does not have the killer instincts to play dirty in order to scoop the story. So when her new boss tells her she has to get the “big get” Malcolm Goddard who thinks all people of the media are “parasites.” Ann tries to play dirty but ultimately fails and loses her job after she is unable to force herself to get over her plane phobia and conduct the interview in Malcom’s Cessna.
Without her job, Ann moves back to her small hometown of Middletown, Missouri and into her child home with her mother who is afraid to leave the house, her aunt who can’t get over the loss of her husband to a girl half her age, and her grandmother who is germaphobic and keeps a can of lysol on hand always. When a doctor at the town’s only hospital lets slip in attempts to impress Ann that Malcolm is going to be admitted under an alias, Ann sees a way to get her job back. She decides to volunteer at the hospital handing out magazines and gleam an interview with Malcolm non-the-wiser.
But while volunteering, Ann finds that she is able to help others in a way she never was able to do before and begins to truly love her job and eventually Malcolm.
Even while Ann is lying to Malcolm and gathering enough information to write a story to get her much-loved job back, I couldn’t help but love her. She was an incredibly giving and kind individual who questions herself from the very beginning about if she was doing the right thing by writing the story on Malcolm. And Malcolm starts as the typical Hollywood star who is used to getting everything he wants. But he too is able to grow after his touch with death. I almost like what Ann did in helping her mother and other patients than what she did with Malcolm because she seemed to truly touch their lives and make them feel just that little bit better.
The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman is the story of Sophie, a woman who thinks she knows exactly what she wants in life and only figures what she truly desires once her life is turned completely upside down. After the death of her childhood best friend Carrie, Sophie becomes the guardian of her two children Bella and Izzy. Sophie who has never interacted with kids before is completely out of her element taking on the too grown up six-year-old Bella and the whirlwind three-year-old Izzy.
Sophie tries to juggle the two girls without losing her job and the promotion which doesn’t seem all that far off. Throughout this, Sophie is being pursued by Jake, one of her American clients. She had been crushing on him for weeks, but now that his attentions are focused on her, she’s not sure if he’s really the man for her. Wanting the children residing in her apartment to be temporary especially after the demise of her makeup collection and several items of her wardrobe, Sophie hires a private detective to find the girls’ absentee father Louis who left Carrie and Bella before Izzy was born.
I really enjoyed this book and found myself crying during the more touching moments. Sophie really grew on me as the book went on because she was incredibly human. Motherhood didn’t come as naturally to her as it does to other people, and it was warming to see her try to adjust to the two girls suddenly in her life. She had no idea what she was doing as her many blunders show, but she finds ways to help both girls cope with their mother’s death. All the characters in this novel are remarkably human. Each of them, even Louis has his layers. This was a wonderful read about motherhood and coping with death that didn’t become cliché or too unrealistic.