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  • Madcap romantic comedy in the art world

    Thea Orville is that quintessential Katie Fforde heroine, somehow owns a large house but earns very little money (acting as a landlady to feckless students and working part-time in a photo shop) and has artistic tendencies. On an artistic holiday in Provence which she was strong-armed into attending by her bossy neighbour Molly, aunt to one of Thea's lodgers. Thea meets a charming Irish artist called Rory who rather impulsively invites her to stay with him in Ireland. Initially Thea laughs it off as a younger man making a pass at a slightly older woman, but when confronted at Gatwick by the news that her students had thrown a raucous party and trashed the house she decides to turn straight around and fly to Ireland rather than face the mess. Although Rory's attentions are flattering, Thea is more interested in his artistic talents which have been hidden away after his disastrous debut years earlier. Thea doesn't even have a chance to properly review the paintings before Molly descends upon Rory's tiny cottage bringing along her niece (and Thea's tenant) Petal, Petal's uncle Ben (a man who has already looked down his nose at Thea) and his son - way too many people for a small two bedroom cottage! Thea hatches a wild scheme to open an art gallery in Cheltenham and bring Rory's art to the world, despite having no money and no prior experience! And despite Rory's clear indications of interest Thea is more interested in Ben, despite Ben making it very clear that he is not interested in a relationship, and certainly not with someone like Thea. As always there are trials and tribulations, cute moppets, shaggy dogs, nasty ex-wives, bossy home county women and Thea in the centre of it all. If you have read my other recent reviews of Katie Fforde's books you will know that I have a hatred of heroes who show absolutely no interest in the heroine until the very last chapter (or so it seems) and, more annoyingly, Katie Fforde's use of the word 'rape' when she means 'ravage'. I am very pleased to report that neither of these are an issue in this book.

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