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  • The Power Of Community

    I really enjoyed this second visit to Nightingale Square, which was somewhat of a relief after having been very disappointed with my last couple of Heidi Swain books. Fortunately the author seems to have got her mojo back and this has resulted in a warm book that constantly begs you to just read one more chapter. Poppy was all set to move in to Kate's little house on Nightingale Square when her car crash of a mother scuppered her plans so she is still stuck in her tiny flat above the Greengrocers where she works. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but Poppy really, really wanted to get stuck in with the gardening at the community garden - especially as it would mean goodies for her pickling obsession. Still, all comes to she who waits and now the tenants have done a moonlight flit she is all set to move and she can't wait. There are only two clouds on her horizon - a very grumpy, reclusive next door neighbour and the fact that her brother seems to be avoiding her. Told with warmth and wit there is actually quite a lot going on in this book. The main story centres around Poppy, her brother Ryan and the wonderfully named Jacob Grizzle (the grumpy neighbour). We do get to catch up with Kate and Luke, from the first installment of the Nightingale Square tales but only very briefly. There are also brief mentions of other characters we met way back then too as the action moves to centre around the Community Garden. Back up in this book comes from the bookshop owning Colin and gift emporium entrepeneur Lou. The characters are all multi-faceted and more or less believable. Poppy can be a little bit too good to be true at times but she does have a tendency to jump to conclusions and put her foot right in it which helps negate some of the self-sacrificing behaviour. The real problem is with the character of Jacob, he is almost Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for much of the book and it does become a little overdone at times - yes, we get it he's a decent bloke who has had something horrible happen so he's retreated in to his shell to protect himself. There are also some plot problems. Nothing major but some sections feel very clumsy and almost like afterthoughts to spice up the story. Yes, the reader is in no doubt how things are going to work out for Poppy - to be honest, her relationship arc more or less mirrors that of Kate in the first book. The thing it doesn't matter that you know how things are all going to go, the fun is in the getting there and it is a very enjoyable journey.

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  • A sweet treat

    I’ve read all of Heidi Swain’s previous novels and found them consistently enjoyable - warm hearted, cosy and with great characters. This story returns to Nightingale Place, which to be honest I had forgot the previous storyline about, however I soon picked up with the characters although as it does not necessarily continue on as such anyone who hasn’t read the first would have no problem getting into this. Poppy is a lovely character, I would have liked a bit more back story (this might have been covered previously but I can’t remember) however without it you still got a good feel for her history and when Ryan appeared on the scene you could feel the impact their mother had on them. Jacob was a mystery at first although I rather liked his grumpiness and would have liked to see him take a little longer to fit into the square. It was good seeing all three stories play out and overall the story was very relaxing and enjoyable, and totally met my expectations of a Heidi Swain novel. Can’t wait to read the next one. Many, many thanks to NetGalley for my copy of this

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