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    A book about not under-estimating people

    Jane Lovering does it again! I was hooked on this book as soon as I started reading it. It is the story of Amy and Josh who work at a National Trust House, Monkpark Hall. Amy works in the teashop and Josh works with the birds of prey. The story is told from both view points on alternate chapters, which is fantastic as you really get to understand the characters and how they are feeling/thinking. Both of them have their own issues, low self-esteem and trust issues which are fully explored in the book and you get to understand why they feel as they do. At times I really felt for Josh and really wanted him to have a brighter future as his past was so sad. He clearly is a good-looking man who hides this by his unkempt appearance and as the story develops you gain a clear understanding of why. There are some great supporting characters too, such as Amy’s Nan, with her Yorkshire forth-rightness and humour, who Amy thinks is a bit mad because she thinks spoons and curtains have been moved while she is out at her day club and Julia, Amy’s best friend who I disliked intently at times. The birds also feature a fair bit and one of them who I must mention is an owl called Skrillex who has a starring role at one point. As the story unfolds you realise that there is a threat to the livelihoods of the people who work at Monkpark Hall due to the greed of one person, who lures Amy into his schemes and plans. The setting is lovely and I could imagine myself in the tearooms being served by Amy in her Edwardian costume, eating the delicious cakes freshly made that morning. Can love and trust conquer the fears of the past? It’s a brilliant story, with wonderful characters in a lovely setting, with sadness and humour. I would definitely recommend reading it. Thanks to Choc-Lit for providing me with a review copy of this book in return for an honest review which is completely my own opinion.
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    An enjoyable read

    I enjoyed this book - it was very easy to read and I just wanted to get to the next chapter. Such a sweet love story too.
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    Heart touching read

    I love reading - always have done. There are a great many fantastic books out there - but every now and then you find a book that it different and stands out. This is the first book I have read by Jane Lovering and this is one of these rare books!!! Right from the start Jane's quirky writing style had me captured - but what I thought would be a lighthearted story turned out to be a book that just simply touched my soul. Both main characters in this novel are not your average characters - as the story unfolds their past and present lives reached out to my heart. Amy is not the pretty, slim girl that graces so many stories and Josh isn't a likely hero - his past is heartbreaking and has left him a broken man. Neither of them feel like they will ever stand the chance of having a "normal" relationship, but as their friendship grows - dare they hope? The way both their journey is written is simply beautiful, and there is one part in the novel - where each one of them thinks that maybe, just maybe there is a chance of a different life - at this point I just wasn't sure whether to smile or cry but was the point where I didn't want the book to end!!! I won't tell the story line to you, that would be spoiling it. The novel is set in a Heritage run manor house where Amy runs a tea shop and Josh does bird of prey displays with his birds (even these are full of character and play important parts in the story!). As a new manager takes over the story begins,.... Jane has written this novel not just in an easy to read, quirky style, she has added humor, blackmail, a roller coaster of emotions and also a true insight into what makes us human - the ability to emphasize, care for others at the cost of our own happiness, the understanding that we are all different and the ability to accept others for what they are. I can definitely recommend this novel I will also have to do some serious shopping and buy more of Jane's books to read as she has a wonderful way with words!!!
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    Couldn't put it down

    The Little Teashop of Horrors is one of those oh so rare reads that I didn’t want it to end. If I could analyse why I couldn’t put it down I’d say, in this case, it’s the characters and the writer’s voice that are so appealing. Amy and Josh are two very flawed people with some rather nasty back-story, especially, Josh, who went straight to my heart. Amy, rather plump and no beauty, is certain guys will only look at her if they think they can get into her knickers. And Josh? A beautiful Heathcliffe figure who prefers to live in clapped-out old van (that really only has a roof) because he can’t stand being cooped up. The two are such rounded characters that I felt I wanted to talk to them, to become friends (with Amy). But Ms Lovering had me from the first when one of Josh’s hawks (he’s a bird-handler at the 18th century manor house that is open to the public) takes off for the hills during one of his displays and Josh’s reaction is, ‘Oh bugger’. Amy, who works in the manor’s teashop, has to wear 18th century clothes is kind, sweet and gets herself into all kinds of troubles, from the trivial but hilarious way her mop-cap’s elastic slowly loosens around her head and the cap pops off, to coming down the dank stairway after visiting the boss where she scares the living daylights out of a boy from a visiting school-party. The boy’s convinced she’s a ghost and thereby starts a chain of events that lead the reader on until he/she reluctantly reaches the last page where all the loose ends are neatly tied up. But the main question is whether spooked (no pun intended) Josh will ever be able to shake off his awful past and realise that Amy is perfect for him. An excellent read that kept me on tenterhooks all the way through and made me want to find Skillex and take him home with me (except Josh wouldn’t allow it).
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    A little cafe of distant dreams and endless ideas

    Jane Lovering does it again. What a lovely read. This time we follow Amy and Josh. Amy runs the little cafe within the grounds of Monkpark Hall (a Heritage Trust property), with her best friend Jules. She had a challenging upbringing not knowing who her Dad was and then her Mum running out on her too when she was 10. Her Grandmother however stepped in and raised Amy as her own, doing the best she could. Amy now not only feels it is her duty but she also lovingly looks after her Gran. Historically Amy's whole family have worked at the estate and the previous owner, John, asssured them that so long as a family member worked at the Hall, their little cottage in the grounds would always be theirs to live in. Her Gran is a character and some of her words had me chuckling out loud. It reminded me of my own Great Aunt and brought back fond memories. Josh however had a terrible time as a young boy. He was not treated nicely and was abused by his Mother's boyfriend. At age 16 he could take no more and decided he could no longer stay. He tried his best to encourage his Mum to go but she stayed behind. Josh carries this around with him, embroiled in a big dark cloud. He slept rough and saw many things a young lad/adult should never have to see. It affected him badly. He found love in the form of birds (falcon and owl types!!) and found work at the Hall with his bird of prey attraction in the grounds. He slept in a caravan and even shared the barn with his birds of he needed to be close to them. (Although the door could never be closed as the dark was his biggest fear.) You would often see Josh walk near to the teashop and grab a quick bite to eat but he would never acknowledge the girls. Far too shy. Then we have the new Estate administrator. Mr Edmund Evershot. Smarmy young man with attire that was a little out of place. He tells the staff the hall is in trouble. He threatens and blackmails some - making them feat their jobs and homes are under threat. But is he really a mean and sneaky weasel or can he be trusted ? I'm going to leave my review there as I don't want to spoil the storybor the ending. If you just want to sit back, curl up and have a good read, this is definitely one for you. Look forward to your next one Jane. Your work is amazing.
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