A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde
I first discovered the books of Katie Fforde when I was a bookseller. She had just released 'The Rose Revived' which had a Penguin Orange Spine and I fell in love with these books. Ever since, I have always dibbed in and out of her novels. They are always very gentle novels with likeable main characters, a lovely country setting and copious amounts of chocolate digestive biscuits. I spotted this gem on my Pageturners email and ordered it pronto for 99p. A bargain!
Gilly runs a B&B which she loves doing, taking care of her own guests as if they were her own family. Her son Martin and his stick insect wife, Cressida, suggest that Gilly should sell her B&B, give the money to them and live in a granny annexe where she can spend the rest of her twilight years taking care of their daughter, Ismene. In a bid to encourage her to sell, Martin introduces her to Leo a rather dodgy estate agent and Gilly and Leo begin a very tentative romance.
Meanwhile Gilly's daughter (and Martin's Sister), Helena is having a few property worries of her own. Currently renting a barn for her loom and weaving business, her handsome landlord, Jago is selling up to create affordable housing. As they become friends and are keen to get their match-making friends off their backs they decide to pretend to be embarking on a relationship. To further this and in a bid to solve Helena's housing woes, they decide to share Jago's house.
Will Gilly sell her house? Is Leo all he cracked up to be? Will Helena and Jago embark on a real relationship and what secret is Jago hiding?
This was a truly delightful read, perfect for springtime. I could almost smell the daisies! Helena and Gilly are great characters, caring people who look after each other. I thought their mother-daughter relationship was sweet - putting the world to rights over a cuppa and some of Gilly's delicious home-baking.
It was interesting to read that Katie Fforde, often undertakes some of the job roles mentioned in her novels. It was certainly fascinating to read about Helena's artistic career. In the book we learn all about weaving with a loom, the different materials used and what it is like to try and make a business from it. Helena attends some of the luxury, artisan good trade shows and there was a great camaraderie there.
Gilly is great and her gentle romance with William is very sweet, especially after the ghastly Leo who was all parts slimy and conniving. Equally ghastly were Martin and Cressida. Martin definitely needed to have a sharp word with himself for all the devious tricks that he pulled.
Jago is a lovely romantic interest for Helena and there is a slight drama when Helena finds out about Jago's past.
I've very much enjoyed reading this offering from Katie Fforde. It was like catching up with a jolly old friend. The novel felt perfect for spring and felt as fresh as a set of washed bed sheets drying on the washing line. I do believe that Katie Fforde was a great forerunner in her field and if you haven't tried her novels before and already enjoy the works of Heidi Swan or Jo Thomas then please do give her a try. You won't be disappointed.