Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: Come Rain or Shine

Title: Come Rain or Shine
Author: Tricia Stringer
Publisher: 23 October 2017 by Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA
Pages: 352 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, contemporary, women's fiction, Australia
My Rating: 3 cups


A wedding and a will, a bushfire and a baby: who said the country was quiet?

Paula knew when she moved to the country that the life would be tough. Nearly a year into her marriage with farmer Dan, and now pregnant, she is proud of her ability to feed shearers, bake a pasty and fix a fence while still running her accountancy business from home. With a wedding to plan, the farm to run and neighbours to help out, life is busy but good.

But there are clouds on the horizon. Dan is increasingly tired and distant. He promised he would always tell her the truth, so why is he being so mysterious about his late father’s will?  And why is his abrasive Aunt Rowena suddenly so interested in the sex and due date of Paula’s baby? As bushfires rage, Paula makes a discovery that shocks her and threatens all she holds dear.

Come Rain Or Shine follows on from Chance of Stormy Weather.

My Thoughts

‘Come Rain or Shine’ by Aussie author Tricia Stringer, is a follow-on story to ‘A Chance of Stormy Weather’. I had not read the first, however, this was not an issue - it can be read as a standalone. This book continues on the life of Paula and Dan after their marriage and it would appear the same type of themes exist from book 1 to book 2 - life on the land and loads of secrets!

Having read Tricia Stringer before, I knew that her portrayal of life on the land would realistically capture the essence of what it would be like - everything from battling the elements, to the benefits of being part of a close knit community. A strong theme of the many worries farmers face and the effect on those around them, was true and on point as Stringer accurately captures drought, fire and all else that them at the mercy of the weather.

Apart from that, I just found this book to be incredibly slow - nothing really  happens (until the last fifty pages and by then it’s too late). It is very repetitive because little occurs. The same lines are repeated time and again and the characters are too one dimensional for me.  I was increasingly frustrated with them, especially Dan and his tiresome mood swings - I get he’s a worried farmer and father-to-be, but really!

If you read the first book then you will enjoy this sequel. It’s not a bad book by Tricia, just an everyday account of life on the land that doesn’t really go anywhere.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: Carnegie's Maid

Title: Carnegie’s Maid
Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: 1st January 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 288 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 4 cups

From the author of The Other Einstein comes the mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty
In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances. Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady's maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie. Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie's search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy. With captivating insight and stunning heart, Carnegie's Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie's transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world's first true philanthropist
My Thoughts

“You have taught me that I should carve out a different path. Pedigree, that accident of birth, does not give a man the right to public respect. Only good deeds can do that.”

What a fabulous premise for a story, that being, two like minds came together and set about making fundamental changes that would have a lasting impact on society. Could a relationship such as this have been a possible catalyst that turned this infamous businessman into a philanthropist? Marie Benedict has written this fictional account of one such possibility - such an interesting concept. Andrew Carnegie built free libraries, providing the gift of books and from that, an education, regardless of rank or money. Once a poor immigrant himself, he fully understood what it was to be a factory worker but went on to become one of the richest men in the world at that time.

“I cannot describe to you the impact that library had on my life and my success. It quite literally made me who I am today.”

This tale incorporates this and so much more, ranging from American industrialisation to class differentiation. Benedict has done her research from Ireland to America, from rural to urban living standards, to the clear division of the ‘haves’ and have nots’. The undisputable historical details are fascinating and will have you checking Google to learn more of not only Carnegie but other recorded facts from this time in American history - from the Civil War to railroad expansion, a fresh insight was superbly integrated. The blend of fact and fiction is seamless.

Am I fully convinced of the author’s theory? Not entirely. With the romance feeling a little bit too ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ for me, I therefore found it difficult to commit to the profound effect Clara reportedly had on this magnate. I would have preferred more investment in the friendship between Mr. Ford (African American) and Clara for example, to provide more depth. It is also a short read, so there is not much time to cement such a strong assertion.

‘I sat back and watched him wield his “words” like a painter wields his brush, each a masterly stroke in the creation of a seamless whole. Except I was not witnessing the creation of an average painting, I realized. I was watching a masterpiece in progress.’

I cannot, however, dispute the quality of Benedict’s writing - it is an interesting and informative read, shining a light on the the historic details and social mores of the time. So put aside your doubts and immerse yourself in a fictional characterisation:

If Andrew still believed that I was the Anglo-Irish tradesman’s daughter Clara Kelley—the woman who had inspired him in business and affection and who challenged him to carve a different, better path than the one driven solely by avarice—the chance existed that my influence might remain.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Coming Soon!

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerising tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty. Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.
If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills she doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future—and her family’s. With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.

Conversations with the Author

Andrew Carnegie is a well-known historical figure who many may feel they
already know. What challenges did you face when writing Carnegie as a more well-rounded character? What preconceptions did you have to overcome? Many people are familiar with Andrew Carnegie’s reputation as a ruthless businessman, especially the role he may have played in the Homestead Strike of 1892, which grew out of a conflict between the Carnegie Steel Company and the iron and steel workers’ union. And while that reputation is certainly deserved and I do delve into the questionable practices behind the astonishing growth of his
businesses— his insider trading in particular—I hope I fleshed out other aspects of the man behind the icon: his relationship with his mother and brother, the singular nature of his intellect and ascent, the kindnesses of which he could be capable, and, importantly for my story, the sense of obligation he developed to immigrants less fortunate than himself.

How would you describe Carnegie and Clara’s relationship? 
I envisioned Clara as a female version of Andrew, in some ways. Like Andrew, she is a very bright but uneducated immigrant who is searching for ways to climb above her allocated station at a particular moment in American history when such ascent is possible. This similarity attracts them to each other, but ultimately, it is the differences in their drives—avarice and greed for its own sake (and his mother and brother) motivates him as a young man, while she is propelled by her duty toward the family she left behind in Ireland—that creates a wedge between them.

Which character did you connect with more, Carnegie or Clara? Which was the greater challenge to write? 
I definitely connected more with Clara, particularly because I felt like I knew women like her. The grandmothers and great-aunts that I knew were all intelligent and outside-the-box thinkers, determined to advance themselves and their families by any means necessary. Scrappy, just like Clara. Carnegie was more of a challenge because I’d always thought of him in his guise as an older, esteemed industrialist, not as a young man. I enjoyed digging his younger self out of the past and trying to discover what made him into the unique person he was— finding the man instead of the myth.


Praise for Carnegie’s Maid

"[an] excellent historical novel." -Publishers Weekly

"Feels like Downton Abbey in the United States...Benedict demonstrates the relevance of history to the present day in this impeccably researched novel of the early immigrant experience. Deeply human, and brimming with complex, vulnerable characters, Carnegie’s Maid shows the power of ambition tempered by altruism, and the true realization of the American Dream." -Erika Robuck, national bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl

"In Carnegie’s Maid, Marie Benedict skillfully introduces us to Clara, a young woman who immigrates to American in the 1860s and unexpectedly becomes the maid to Andrew Carnegie's mother. Clara becomes close to Andrew Carnegie and helps to make him America's first philanthropist. Downton Abbey fans should flock to this charming tale of fateful turns and unexpected romance, and the often unsung role of women in history." -Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

"With its well-drawn characters, good pacing, and excellent sense of time and place, this volume should charm lovers of historicals, romance, and the Civil War period. Neither saccharine nor overly dramatized, it's a very satisfying read."     -Library Journal

"...engaging. The chaste romance will draw readers of inspirational fiction, while the novel is constructed to appeal to those seeking a tale with an upstairs-downstairs dynamic and all-but-invisible female characters who are either the impetus for or the actual originators of great men's great ideas. For Fans of Liz Trenow, Erika Robuck, and Nancy Horan." -Booklist

"Marie Benedict has penned a sensational novel that turns the conventional Cinderella story into an all-American triumph. Young Clara Kelley steps off the boat from Ireland into Andrew Carnegie's affluent world, where invention can transform men and women into whatever they dare to dream." -Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker's Children and The Baker's Daughter

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Review: The Memory Shop

Title: The Memory Shop
Author: Ella Griffin
Publisher: 5 October 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, contemporary, women's fiction
My Rating: 4 cups


The most important things in life . . . are not things at all.

Nora is fleeing London for her childhood home in Dublin after her heart is suddenly torn apart. Back home, she learns she has inherited all of her grandmother's worldly belongings - a feather shrug, a Tiffany mirror, a gold locket, and many more precious things besides.

With no means of keeping them, and not able to bear auctioning everything off, Nora decides to open The Memory Shop so each object is matched to a perfect new owner.

Soon Nora begins transforming the lives of those around her through the items she pairs them with, helping them find new happiness in unexpected ways. Now if she can only let go of her own past, she might just surprise herself . . .

An uplifting novel set in a charming Irish community, about love, family and finding your way.

My Thoughts

‘It doesn’t feel like work, when you’re doing something you’re passionate about, does it?’

This is such a well thought out tale that grew on me as it progressed. I found Griffin’s writing to be rich in both descriptions of place, objects and sentiment. I particularly enjoyed the main character, Nora,  setting up the shop and her display windows, with people entering and the stories that flowed from there. The background provided about the various items of her grandparents was done with care through tantalising glimpses from handwritten notes.

At times I got a little confused as I mixed up some of the numerous storylines. So whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the main character’s journey’s (and those closely associated with her) I found some of the other stories, related to those that purchased various items, a bit superfluous at times. It got a bit too entangled for me. However, do not let this detract from the main and engaging story - one of new beginnings for family, friends and neighbours as they learn to let go of the past.

Overall this is a charming book with a variety of poignant messages from all the customers purchases, some are very topical such as domestic violence, whilst others are just romantic. Not all stories are conclusively regaled and this is interesting in itself. I think I would have prefered to just focus on the main story as there was more than enough there to engage with the two main leads and their close relations.

Overall, this is a well written book that contains much more than I first envisaged - sort of a litany of tales from a wide spectrum of society - some heart warming, others heart wrenching.  

‘She had thought that her heart would break when she closed the door for the last time, when the house had been cleared of all the things she had loved as a child. But she felt a surge of happiness as she turned to look back at it.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Review: Island in the East

Title: Island in the East
Author: Jenny Ashcroft
Publisher: 2nd November 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 416 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 5 cups

Set in 1890s and 1940s Singapore, the stunning Island in the East is a story of love, sisterly rivalry and the true cost of betrayal. Vivid, authentic and utterly beautiful, it's the perfect read for fans of Victoria Hislop, Fiona McIntosh and Kate Morton.
1897: twenty-year-old identical twins, Harriet and Mae, born from a scandalous affair, have spent their lives slighted by gossips. They've carried each other through the loneliness, believing that together they can survive anything. But then their mysterious benefactor sends them to Singapore to live with his relative, the watchful David Keeley, who will choose one of them to marry. In the tension of David's house, a distance opens up between the twins, but it is only when they meet the handsome Alex Blake that their relationship truly fractures, resulting in a life-shattering betrayal with devastating consequences . . .
1941: Ivy, an intelligence officer with the women's naval service and carrying her own ghosts from Blitz-torn London, is posted to wartime Singapore and arrives to the looming threat of a Japanese invasion. Nothing can prepare her for what's waiting on the island - not the unexpected love, nor the strangers from her grandmother, Mae's, past, and the shocking secrets that now echo down through the generations.
With a sizzling love affair playing out against this epic family drama, Island in the East is evocative, atmospheric and romantic historical fiction at its very best.
My Thoughts

Jenny Ashcroft’s debut novel, ‘Beneath a Burning Sky’, I gushed about - it was brilliant! (Review found HERE). It was historical fiction at its best and so much more. So when Jenny’s second book comes along, of course I am all over it - but how could it possibly be as good? Well I am here to tell you that it is - and perhaps it’s even better! Jenny has gone to the next level (if that was at all possible) and taken on an ambitious dual timeline narrative that delivers in every aspect - rich in detail, setting and drama.

‘Island in the East’ is sensational reading - such a beautifully written heartbreaking tale full of drama and emotion that I found it hard to put down. This book surely cements Jenny Aschcroft as a superior author with a talent to create riveting drama with complex characters in luscious settings. A timeslip narrative set in Singapore that moves between the story of Mae and her twin sister Harriet in the late 1800s; and Mae's granddaughter, Ivy, who  is posted to Singapore during the war in 1941. One of the things that sets this dual timeline apart from others, is the strong familial connections as Mae and Ivy are living together initially in London at the beginning of the novel. When Ivy arrives in Singapore, she has no idea that her grandmother had ever lived there. The mystery and tales of both, life at the turn of the century and then during the war in Singapore, are rich and enticing. I had never really read much about the Japanese invasion of Singapore and it was rich in detail that was a real eye opener.

This book ticks all the boxes for me: exquisite writing, complex characters, two beautiful love stories for both the twins and Ivy (Alex and Kit will make your heart beat faster) and an exotic, tropical setting. Filled to the brim with everything from the brutality of war, to passionate soul connections, to heartbreak and betrayal, to tragedy and hope - this is such a compelling read that it will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

‘Don’t waste time,’ Alex said, voice kind, but with that sadness in it. ‘You never know how much you have.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: How to be Happy

Title: How to be Happy
Author: Eva Woods
Publisher: 10 October 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 304 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, contemporary, women's fiction, chick lit
My Rating: 4 cups


Annie is at her lowest ever when she meets Polly, who has a brain tumour. Polly wants to make a difference before she goes, to prove to Annie that happiness is a habit and that Annie can be happy again.

After losing everything, Annie has given up on life. Then she meets colourful, positive Polly - who happens to have three months left to live. Polly sets Annie a challenge - can she learn to be happy over the next 100 days? Reluctantly swept up in Polly's world, Annie finds herself facing her worst nightmares. Roller Coasters. Dancing in fountains. Inspirational Pinterest quotes. It's all a world away from her safe, lonely life of boxsets and ready meals for one. At first she is jealous of Polly's rich, exotic life - her wealthy, creative family; her lively and cool friends; the places she's already travelled and the things she's experienced. She's even jealous of her handsome, slightly grouchy neurologist, Dr Max. But as the 100 days are ticked off - and Polly runs out of time - Annie learns that no one's life is perfect, but that everyone's is precious, and short.

My Thoughts

“What do you say? For the next one hundred days –if I make it that long–we’ll think of one happy thing every day, and write it down.”

There’s much to like and take away from this book. Inspired by “100 Happy Days” challenge the author presents a plethora of ways to become more appreciative and positive, whilst at the same time delivering a worthy tale. But at its core is the question: can you make yourself a happier person and become more joyful just by doing and taking note of the small things throughout the day? If nothing else this book is a strong reminder to take the short time we have to make the most of each and every day. Find joy in the little things.

“Life isn’t about avoiding the storm; it’s about learning to dance in the rain. Where’s your sense of adventure?”

This is a relatable story on many levels and it will most certainly pull at your heartstrings with a cast of characters that you are sure to identify with in some way - from family members, to a funny Greek roommate, to the staff at the hospital. The two main leads - Polly and Annie - both so paradoxically different, yet bought together at this tragic time and with so much to learn and offer each other and those around them.

“Have a good day, Annie Hebden. Or at least a slightly better one. Remember, if you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.”

It’s not a happily ever after for obvious reasons, so it is confronting and challenging in some ways. However I really appreciated the humour the author brought to this sad tale. Blended amongst the heartache and tragedy are some really fun and witty moments that capture the true rollercoaster of a ride each person finds them self on. Eva Woods achieves the perfect balance, so one is not weighed down with adversity alone.

“It’s your fault anyway. Making me all forgiving and saint-like, like Mother Teresa in nylon slacks.”

I really recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different as it challenges you to look at life with fresh eyes and a different perspective. Small changes can make you feel better - even if it’s just sadness about your day-to-day life, right up to facing a life threatening disease.

“I spent all my time in the office, grumbled about the . . . commute, barely spoke to my husband or family, angsted about how many likes I had on . . . Instagram and what kind of face cream I should be buying. All that . . . rubbish. But you – I thought if you could start being happy, after all you’d been through, then it would be real. I’d know it was really possible to change things. To actually become . . . happy.”

I liked how the chapters have the days listed with the small thing to do to create happiness eg. Day Eighteen - make time to chat - and then the story gives the fictional example from the characters lives. Of course, circumstances do not miraculously alter, however, something simple like brightening your work desk can make you smile and then the ripple effect will begin.

“I learned the most from the way she approached her death. It was, quite simply, remarkable. She took most people’s worst nightmare – a diagnosis of terminal cancer – and turned it into a chance to be joyful, and productive, and change her own life, but even more than that, other people’s. And one of those people was me.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Friday, December 8, 2017

Review: Covent Garden in the Snow

Title: Covent Garden in the Snow
Author: Jules Wake
Publisher: 20th  October 2017 by HarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse
Pages: 352 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: holiday-Christmas, fiction, romance
My Rating: 4 cups

Tilly Hunter has fabulous friends, her dream job as a make-up artist with a prestigious opera company and Felix, her kind and caring husband to be. It looks set to be the most perfect Christmas yet!
But when a monumental blunder forces her to work closely with new IT director Marcus Walker, it's not only the roast chestnut stalls on the cobbles of her beloved Covent Garden that cause sparks to fly…
Super serious and brooding, Marcus hasn’t got a creative bone in his sharp-suited body. For technophobe Tilly, it's a match made in hell.
And yet, when Tilly discovers her fiancĂ© isn’t at all what he seems, it's Marcus who's there for her with a hot chocolate and a surprisingly strong shoulder to cry on … He might just be the best Christmas present she’s ever had.
My Thoughts

I am a fan of Jules Wake’s books and this one is right up there with the best of them. Always up for a Christmas read this time of year, this one was loads of fun without being over the top in any area. I like that this book incorporated more of a holiday feel, especially the wonderful Covent Garden descriptions and traditions, rather than full on commercialism. It was very relatable with all the family traditions, looking for gifts and sharing a meal - comfort reading at this time of year.

“Christmas back then, when we were young had been fun, when lunch was a long-laid back affair, in which Mum insisted we all wore our cracker crowns.”

One of the unexpected surprises about this book is learning all about the behind-the-scenes action of the opera. The main lead, Tilly,  works at the London Metropolitan Opera Company in the make-up department and loves her job except having to learn about updating stock etc on the computer. This makes for many an amusing situation. That aside, it was absolutely fascinating to learn about what goes on backstage for a production, things I had never really considered. A lot of research must have been done around everything from wig making, to costume design, to the frantic change overs - I learnt so much!

“Backstage we became shadows cocooned in a world between reality and fantasy. I loved these moments, tucked out of sight but so close to the action unfolding on stage. They held a special indefinable magic that I always wanted to hug close to me, a time when nothing else from the world intruded.”

Of course there is also some fun chick lit and the chemistry between the two leads was highly entertaining, frustrating, frivolous and rewarding.  To match the creative Tilly with the IT savvy Marcus was always going to produce some amusing encounters. You will quietly smirk or giggle with what Tilly frustratingly does to technology and how gently Marcus tries to coach her. Typically, you know what’s coming, but good writers like Jules make you enjoy every step of the journey.

All up I can highly recommend this book as there are many facets to it, not being a one dimensional chick lit read. So snuggle up this Christmas as this book is sure to put a smile on your face.

“Christmas brings out the fanciful in me. I can’t help myself. I loved this time of year and the infectious attitude in the streets.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

Friday, December 1, 2017

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Title: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: 31 October 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 240 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance, contemporary, retellings
My Rating: 2.5 cups


Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cell phones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

My Thoughts

“See, it is an assumption universally made that any beautiful, brilliant, single woman who is rich as hell will be in want of a husband.”

I simply cannot help myself - when I see anything related to ‘Pride and Prejudice’ - I rush in. On this occasion we have a modern day retelling of the classic but with its own unique twists - gender reversals for a start! The characters and storyline are bought to present day in this cutsie contemporary romance with just a slight sprinkling of the beloved tale of old.

Despite my eagerness and willingness, this book just fell flat in it’s delivery on many levels. The writing for a start, is to be found wanting - from plot structure to sentence configuration. It lacked any emotional depth or deep character connections - they were petty, shallow and extremely judgemental. Now I can hear you say, but that is Darcy from the original - but this modern day female version was supposedly some high flying, self made New York millionaire - but what we got was an insolent, moody female who left a lot to be desired. The two just did not match up. And sadly, for me, Darcy never really changed or grew - she remained immature and self centred. The arrogance just became annoying.

“She was self-centered and egotistical and it was true, aside from a select few she really did only care about herself.”

Which leads me to the book blurb - somewhat misleading if truth be told. Several things made mention of simply do not appear in the book e.g. basketball stars or three cell phones. The ‘Pride and Prejudice’ references are simply that, a small referral and not to be truthfully assigned as a retelling - Austen fans be warned.

Overall, this is a quick and easy read, perfect for a weekend Christmas getaway. Whilst the concept was appealing it never really lived up to its potential.

‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life with someone who you get along with perfectly well but you’re not in love with, or would you rather be alone until the love of your life shows up?’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release