Cover detail of A Rose Petal Summer by Katie Fforde

A Rose Petal Summer by Katie Fforde

Long time readers of the blog may remember that last year, I read War and Peace with the rather wonderful @fictionaddictionangela over on Instagram. This year's challenge is to read Anna Karenina and we are roughly half way through, zooming every few weeks to discuss our thoughts so far. It's a great way to keep accountable and we have lots of fun chats. Sometimes Angela reads ahead and sometimes I do. It was in one of these weeks where I found time to read something other than Mr Tolstoy and desperately craving something a bit lighter, picked up one of my stalwarts of comfort - Katie Fforde.

Read my Review of War and Peace

If ever I am in need of comfort, and by comfort think a warm aga and chocolate digestive biscuits, then I can't go much wrong with Katie Fforde and this did not disappoint.

The Plot

Caro Swanson has taken a job in a remote part of Scotland.

She’s answered an ad in The Lady: being a companion to an elderly gentleman who lives in a country estate could be perfect! Surely it's time to make a change and do something different for a while?

The fact that she may also see Alec, the young man who she met some years previously and who she has always thought of as her ‘one who got away’, is of course purely incidental.

Soon Caro is falling in love - not only with Alec but with the stunning country house she's now living in. But the estate is in financial difficulties, and Caro soon realises there's only one way to rescue it.

So begins a magical romantic summer, one that will take Caro from Scotland to London and the south of France, in search of a classic lost perfume that might just restore all their fortunes.

My Thoughts

This is unmistakably Katie Fforde and having read quite a few of her novels by now, I knew what to expect and to be honest it was what I craved.

Our heroine Caro is lovely, motherly, caring and like many of Fforde's characters, she is cheerfully capable. Missing her daughter, who has gone travelling in Australia, she throws herself into her new job as a companion to an elderly Scottish gentleman, Murdo. For me, there wasn't enough Murdo. He and his dog George were fab and I wished he had been present throughout the book a lot more. Alec, Caro's love interest was great but a bit wet if I'm being honest, but who comes good at the end so I will forgive him.

The plot is fun, and I always enjoy a visit to France, a stay on a houseboat and learning about the perfume-making process complete with different fragrance notes. Towards the end, Katie really packs a lot into the novel, a romantic trip to a chateau in France, creating a bespoke perfume and planning a romantic wedding for a famous Hollywood Director and his adorable fiancee. Ends are neatly tied up, new relationships started and a touching reunion at the end.

All in all though, this is a typical Katie Fforde novel. I love this author and her novels provide comfort when you most need it, whether it is stepping out of your own life for a moment or needing a break from a very dense novel set in Russia.

In other news, and forgetting for a moment quite how many books I have on my TBR pile, I decided to treat myself to the new Peter Swanson novel, Nine Lives as well as my first Margery Allingham book. I can't wait to read these and have added them to my To Be Read Pile 2022 post.

Read all about my 2022 To Be Read Pile

I also treated myself to a Betty's fondant fancy because I am ADDICTED to these beautiful and very tasty little cakes. I ate this with my Christmas cake forks, because obviously I haven't mentioned Christmas on the blog for far too long.

Peter Swanson and Margery Allingham and a cake

That's it from me. I'll be back next week with more book reviews. In the meantime have a great weekend.