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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 7 star ratings
4 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.6 out of 5
7
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    This is an uplifting story

    Newly separated Kate has decided to move away from the home she shared with her husband David in London to a place where no-one will know her so she can have time to herself and be alone. She finds a lovely little house in Nightingale Square in Norwich. However, not long after moving in she is welcomed to the square by feisty mum of three, Lisa, who tells her all about the parties and gatherings that the locals have on the green in front of her home and how much they are looking forward to Kate joining their little community. Kate agrees to attend one of the celebrations and soon finds herself given the task of trying to get the local council to grant them permission to use the green to grow veg – she doesn’t know how she is given the task but is determined to see it through. There is also the on-going issue of the large house at the end of the square, Prosperous Place. The house had been empty for many years, but now a team of developers wants to turn it into flats. The residents are quite rightly upset at the idea of the historic building being ruined, but better than the idea of the building being demolished completely. After an afternoon spent with her neighbour Harold, Kate and another neighbour, Carole decides to go and have a look at the gardens of Prosperous Place before they are destroyed. Unfortunately, someone is in the building and catches the pair red-handed. Who is this man and what has he got to do with the house? I’ve read a few of Heidi Swain’s books, so when I heard that she had a new book out I jumped at the chance to read it. Kate is a lovely character who has had a rough few years. We get to learn that her husband was unfaithful from the start. We also are kept guessing as to what else she is hiding as she refuses to tell people anymore, hoping to keep the rest of marriage breakdown a secret, though she does blame herself. There are a lot of wonderful secondary characters too, each with their own personalities which shone just as bright as Kates. Including nosy Carole and her husband Graham. New mum Heather who thought she was above others until she had her daughter and struggled to cope and her husband Glenn and lovable elderly Harold, amongst many more. If I’m perfectly honest I would hate to live in Nightingale Square. I’m a very private person, and some people would probably call me unsociable too. Living where people want you to join in community projects and be your best friend the moment you move in is my idea of hell. I’ll keep living in the city where hardly anyone knows me! The book is just divine to read. Yes, I had predicted some of the outcomes early on, but the joy was watching my predictions come to life and blossom. The words flowed and had an easy read feel to them. It was the perfect book to sit in the garden on a lazy sunny afternoon with – actually two lazy, sunny afternoons. This is an uplifting story of one woman finding herself again and discovering a sense of community and friends when she least expected them. It is heart-warming and was a complete joy to read. This is a book that will weave its way into your heart and leave you eager to read more by Ms. Swain.
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    Sunshine and sweet peas in nightingale square

    Lovely feel good book. Romantic, happy, emotional and a great read. Beautifully and sensitively written. Excellent.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    New Beginnings

    3.5 Stars This is a fairly charming tale of starting over after your Happily Ever After becomes a Fairy Curse. The problem for me was that I found Kate to be quite an unlikeable character who was quick to judge others and rather inflexible in her opinions and life. I know that part of that was to serve the plot but that didn't stop me from finding her unpleasant and as the tale is told from her viewpoint that did spoil my enjoyment of it. The secondary characters of Lisa and Harriet(?) are wonderfully written and had that breath of reality infusing them that I have come to expect from Ms Swain. I would love to know more about both of them but suspect that this is unlikely. Although, there is much more to Nightingale Square than the 3 ladies,there are a host of supporting characters that live and breathe on the page - more importantly they garden together and party together too. I did find the battle for a community allotment to be a great plot device to absorb newly arrived Kate in to the Nightingale Square crew and a good way of introducing everyone to us. Sadly, I think communities of this type only exist within book pages these days. The romance angle of the book is quite pronounced but from the unusual perspective of Kate refusing to have anything to do with it as she has blown her chance after separating from her husband. The real reason why is dragged out through the book and I did find that infuriating as it became this big "thing" that Kate would not reveal and turned out to be fairly pedestrian in the end. The resolution to all this is that of course she does realise that there is more than one love out there for her and it is who you suspect it is going to be from the moment they first meet. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre of fiction. There is a warmth to Ms Swain's writing that invites you in and she has a real knack with drawing a great character on the page. Unfortunately for me I did not like her main character so I have marked the book accordingly but the story arc is well paced and the people believable - trust me if you want a hug from a book this will provide it.
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    Wonderful romcom

    Loved the twists and turns in this story. Didn'r want to put it down, a great read!
7

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