Monday 13 June 2016

Book Review - Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #29 - #20BooksofSummer Book 1

Amazon UK
Title:  Stately Pursuits
Author: Katie Fforde
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: 6th November 2003 
Rating: 4 Stars

'I don't suppose you'd care to house-sit for a while...' 

Hetty Longden's mother thinks that looking after Great Uncle Samuel's crumbling stately home will be just the thing for Hetty's broken heart. Hetty doesn't mind; at least she can be miserable in private. But 'private' is a relative term in a village which revolves around the big house. Particularly when you are expected to thwart Great Uncle Samuel's awful heir, and his nefarious plans for his inheritance. 

Pitchforked into the community's fight to save the manor, Hetty has no time to wallow. And once she has shared her troubles with one neighbour (Caroline: a very understanding shoulder, despite her glamorous appearance and impossibly long legs), and cast an appreciative eye over another (Peter: equally long-legged, but offering rather more practical help), she wonders if her heart is irretrievably broken after all...

It's been a while since I was able to treat myself to one of Katie Fforde's huge back catalogue of books, and I'm glad the opportunity finally presented itself. However I can't help but think I would have enjoyed it even more had I read it when it was first printed, instead, of many years laters, after having read her later books which do get better and better by the book. 

Unfortunately some of the slight problems I had with this book, were nothing to do with the content itself, but that I had won a paperback of it in a competition, and its only as I started reading, I discovered it had that old second hand book smell to it, which unfortunately I don't find that pleasant, so I found I was struggling to read the book for comprehensive periods of time despite enjoy the story. 

I would describe this as a warm hearted book, and that if you love your stately home renovations and tours then this will be ideal for you. Hetty and Connor are at loggerheads from the start, but they do say there is a fine line between love and hate, and with both of them incapable of expressing how they may feel, I found it really frustrating to read and not want to knock some sense into them. 

I just didn't really take to Hetty, she seems to remind me of myself in some respects and that is quite uncomfortable to read. She is a character who seems unable to take control of her own life, allowing others to dictate her job, her love life, her role in life generally. 

The writing feels like it is the early basis of how Katie Fforde is as a writer today, in that is very descriptive draws you into the story and is fairly easy to read. The story flows well, and you are introduced to some lovely characters. 

Thank you to everyone that voted for Stately Pursuits this week. It was probably about time that I read this and it was enjoyable. Up on the blog today, is the last vote before I break for my holiday... please take the time to make it a good one. 

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