About the Author:
Julie Houston is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.
About the Book:
Charlie Maddison loves being an architect in London, but when she finds out her boyfriend, Dominic, is actually married, she runs back to the beautiful countryside of Westenbury and her parents.
Charlie’s sister Daisy, a landscape gardener, is also back home in desperate need of company and some fun. Their great-grandmother, Madge – now in her early nineties – reveals she has a house, Holly Close Farm, mysteriously abandoned over sixty years ago, and persuades the girls to project manage its renovation.
As work gets underway, the sisters start uncovering their family’s history, and the dark secrets that are hidden at the Farm.
A heart-breaking tale of wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal slowly emerges, but with a moral at its end: true love can withstand any obstacle, and, before long, Charlie dares to believe in love again, too……
Charlie Maddison loves her work as an architect in London, but then something happens in her life that brings her happiness in life skidding to a halt. She and her boyfriend Dominic were living together and things were good. When she finds out he’s married, she gets on the train with her belongings and does not look back.
Her destination? Westenbury, the town of her childhood and the home of her parents. Charlie’s sister Daisy is overjoyed when she’s back together with her sister.
Things get interesting when their great-grandmother Madge lets on she has an abandoned house which is Holly Close Farm, the sisters take a look at the place and the renovations begin.
Coming Home to Holly Close Farm has family’s history, and dark secrets. There’s wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal. All this is expertly weaved in around a story of family relationships and being together again after being taken in different directions by life.
Julie Houston writes brilliantly and the relationships are realistic. The bond between sisters, as well as the interaction with the family. I really like Charlie and Daisy. There’s sisterly banter and humour in some places amongst the plot of the story too which lightens the mood a bit yet the story is very dramatic and the pace just made me want to continue. There are happy and sad times akin to real life and I felt for Charlie and Daisy and was happy to see them together. The sense of family is very strong throughout the novel and there’s mystery at the beginning which had me hooked. That was a very clever way of revealing what was to come for Charlie and what would push her away from London and back home.
The book is about taking chances, making sacrifices no matter how hard it hurts.
Thanks to Julie Houston and Aria for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review as well as my blog tour slot. 4 stars for this one because in some parts the pacing was slower than others, but overall a very good novel.
This is not the first book I have reviewed by Julie Houston, I really enjoyed A Village Affair too.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2Ul2evq
‘Charlie? Hello, darling. Dad and I were just talking about you.’
‘Mum, can I come home for a bit?’
‘What, for the weekend you mean?’
‘A bit longer than that, possibly. Probably.’
‘Of course you can come home. You know that.’ Mum sounded surprised as well she might. I suddenly realised with a slight jolt that not only had I not been back to Yorkshire for a good six months, I’d not rung home for ages either. ‘Dad and I were only just saying we needed to have a trip down to London to see you. How’s Dominic? Is everything OK?’
‘I’ll tell you when I see you.’
‘So, when are you thinking of coming up then?’
‘Er, like now?’
‘Now? Today? This evening? Oh, right. Lovely. And is Dominic with you? Are you both up for the weekend?’
‘Charlie, what is it?’
‘Mum, can you pick me up? The train gets in at ten thirty.’ I paused. ‘And can you come in Dad’s car rather than yours? I’ve got rather a lot of stuff with me.’ I glanced at the bin bags perched in a neat row on the overhead luggage rack like a flock of particularly malevolent crows.
‘Right, darling. What time did you say? I was just about to watch that new drama with Cummerbund Benderbatch…’ She paused and I could almost hear her brain clicking into gear. ‘That’s not right, is it? Oh, you know who I mean. I’ll go and make sure your bed’s made up. Will you have eaten?’
I didn’t think I’d ever be able to eat again. I could certainly drink, though. I rang off and made my way down the carriages until I found the buffet bar and bought three little plastic bottles of wine.
I worked my way methodically down all three bottles, glaring at the man opposite so that he gets the message that conversation was definitely not on the menu. I tried Dominic’s number again and again, only to hear the three little beeps verifying no such number was in existence. Well, I could still email him. I couldn’t see him getting rid of that so easily: he’d need it for work.
You bastard, Dominic Abraham.
That was after the first bottle of wine…
You lying, cheating, tosser bastard.
Two down and I was on a roll.
And yes, Dominic, size does matter. It must be down to all the double exercise it’s been getting lately. Obviously wearing away.
That little drunken tirade accompanied the final plastic bottle.
I finally drained my glass and looked tipsily out of the window. We were heading towards Doncaster and, as we went through a tunnel, my reflection stared back at me. Is this what I’d come to? Several years in London doing a job I loved and had trained for and I was heading back home to Midhope, tail between my legs. Nearly thirty and back home to my mum and dad. No home, no job, no man but, instead, five black bin bags to show for seven years’ training as an architect. And then another three in London working for one architectural company before being interviewed by Dominic Abraham eleven months ago and landing the job in property development which I loved and which I was jolly good at.
As we pulled into Wakefield, I stood on my seat and started hauling down my bags.
‘Here, love, let me help you.’ The man opposite stood and pulled down the last two bags but the final and fullest bag split, its innards of unwashed bras, pants and work shirts, obviously scooped up from the laundry basket, spilling onto the floor, the seats below and, unfortunately, the balding heads of two elderly men nodding their way towards Leeds.