Hiya! So happy to be a part of the blog tour for Kate Hewitt's latest book - MEET ME AT WILLOUGHBY CLOSE, which is the second book in the WILLOUGHBY CLOSE series. I read the first book back in October and ended up liking it much. So, I plunged in for the next book tour too. Scroll down to read the book info, an excerpt to whet your appetite, review and a Giveaway (UK only).
Welcome to Willoughby Close... a charming cluster of cosy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver...
Ellie Matthews has come to Wychwood-on-Lea to find a new start for her and her daughter Abby. But, life there doesn’t start out as idyllic as she had hoped. While Ellie loves her cute cottage in Willoughby Close, the Yummy Mummies at the primary school seem intent on giving her the cold shoulder, Abby has trouble fitting in, and her boss, Oliver Venables, is both surprisingly sexy and irritatingly inscrutable.
But miracles can happen in the most unexpected places, and in small, yet wonderful ways. Slowly, Ellie and Abby find themselves making friends and experiencing the everyday magic of Willoughby Close. When Oliver’s nephew, Tobias, befriends Abby, the four of them start to feel like family... and Ellie begins to see the kindness and warmth beneath Oliver’s chilly exterior, which awakens both her longing and fear.
Ellie knows all about disappointment, and the pain of trying too hard for nothing, while Oliver has his own hurts and secrets to deal with. When the past comes rollicking back to remind both of them of their weaknesses and failings, will they be able to overcome their fears and find their own happy ending?
Discover the heartwarming magic of Willoughby Close... with four more stories of hope and happily-ever-afters to look forward to.
Series: Yes, Willoughby Close #2 Author: Kate Hewitt
Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication: January 31st, 2017 byTule Publishing
Ellie drove around a curve and then they were there, the cottages of Willoughby Close just as they’d looked on the website. Well, mostly. Sort of. They were swathed in darkness, not a single light on, and no cars or bikes or signs of any life at all. The whole place looked kind of... empty.
“Everyone must be out,” Ellie said uncertainly. She hadn’t been expecting a welcoming committee, but it would have been nice to see a few lighted windows, a friendly neighbour poking her head out the door and exclaiming, “Oh, you must be Ellie and Abby. We’ve been waiting for you.” Okay, yes. A welcoming committee. Seriously, what was she like? It was as if no one but her had ever moved house before.
“Come on,” Ellie said as she pulled in front of Number One and turned off the car. “Marmite needs a wee.”
She got out of the car, icy rain needling her in the face as she opened the boot and Marmite lumbered out with a sigh and a fart. Lovely. Her giant, hairy beast of a dog, half Golden Retriever and half Rottweiler, began to sniff around. Abby climbed out of the passenger side, arms still folded, and glanced dubiously at their new home.
“This is it?”
“Yes, isn’t it lovely?” Ellie held onto her cheer with effort. She knew Abby wasn’t thrilled with the move, but the cottage was pretty. The little-cobbled courtyard was surrounded on three sides by friendly-looking cottages, even if they were empty and lightless at the moment, and in the distance, Ellie could see the dark towers of the manor house thrusting against a darker sky.
“Come on, let’s have a look.”
“What about our stuff?”
“We’ll unload later.” They’d only brought boxes of clothes, books, dishes, and linens from Manchester. The tatty, second-hand furniture Ellie had had for her entire adult life she’d consigned to the skip. New start, new furniture. She’d had two beds and a kitchen table delivered to the cottage already, and the caretaker, Jace Tucker, had emailed her yesterday to say they’d arrived and were safely inside. The rest they could pick up in bits and pieces, poking through charming charity shops in quaint villages on sunny Saturday afternoons. That was part of the ever-increasing fantasy too. It was all, Ellie told herself yet again as she unlocked the front door, going to be fabulous. The door creaked open and the smell of fresh paint, plaster, and unused appliances hit her. Ellie fumbled for the lights as Abby squeezed past her and Marmite butted into her legs, making her nearly fall over.
“Here.” Abby flipped the switch on the other side of the door, bathing the room in a bright, electric glow. Ellie gazed around, blinking. It was very empty. Not, of course, that that should be a surprise, but somehow she’d been expecting... what? House fairies to have magically furnished her new home?
“Is that our beds?” Abby nudged a cardboard box that did not look big enough to hold two beds. Some assembly required was, Ellie suspected, going to be a massive understatement. “What about the mattresses?”
Mattresses. Ellie stared at her daughter, her smile finally starting to slip. She’d bloody forgotten to buy mattresses. “Sorry, Abby,” she said, and her daughter shrugged, scuffing one foot along the floor, before turning away.
Of course, it was. Abby could huff and sigh with the best of them, but ultimately she stuck by her mother. The two of them against the world for what felt like forever, battling a deadbeat dad and mean girls and condescending if well-intentioned relatives, but here they were finally going to find some allies. Some friends.
The story begins with Ellie driving to the Wychwood-on-Lea - to where she has relocated all the from Manhattan, hoping to start a new life for her and her daughter Abby. Estranged from husband, Ellie hopes Cotswolds would help her to have a fresh start again, especially to her tween daughter Abby, who was bullied throughout her school life. With Ellie's new boss and his nephew in the picture, the story progresses in a sort-of predictable way yet it's ensured to bring a smile on readers face and lift their spirits.
I read it on a day I needed some cheer ups and this book really perked me up. The writing is seamless, it will keep the readers turning the pages. Both the characters and the storyline are equally pleasing and really enjoyable. Hewitt mildly tackles the topic of "being bullied" in this book; a very relevant matter which she has carefully taken care of in this book. The author also throws light on the subject of "feeling insecure", to which I could also relate to. I think it's brilliant when the authors incorporate such serious issues to their stories and discuss in a light-hearted manner with the readers, I appreciate Kate for that.
Mellow and pleasant, Strongly recommended for a light-hearted reading!
Meet the Author- Kate Hewitt
Kate is the USA Today bestselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.
She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots. Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept north-west coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.