Author: Georgia Hill
Series: Berecombe stories, #3-6 (unofficial)
Release Date: December 13, 2018
Review Copy: purchased
(via Barnes & Noble)
Tash, Emma and Amy couldn’t be more different.
A successful estate agent who has her life pretty much on track, Tash has ticked all the boxes. Hasn’t she?
Emma is a budding writer who yearns to flex her writing skills and shake up her life that has become, well, a little stale…
And then there’s Amy, the manager of The Little Book Café, a hopeless romantic who had her heart broken, but quietly refuses to give up on love.
Brought together by their love of books and delicious cake from the café next door, they are in for a year of romance, crime and classic novels that will help them get through all that life will throw at them…
This book was a hard one for me. I had an impression in my mind… after seeing the cover and reading the synopsis. I was expecting a lighthearted trio of con-rom novellas. The darker thread running through the first story threw me off the book for a long time. Like… months. When I finally decided to give the second story a chance, I was disappointed to find a bit of an unpleasant twist to that story, as well. (Although, not nearly as disturbing as the first.) I nearly didn’t attempt the third story, but am SO happy that I decided to go ahead with it. It was, by far, my favorite of the three. I would have loved it, even without comparing it to the previous stories.
What I Loved:
I did appreciate the friendships between the women. Some took longer to develop than others, but it felt natural and I could relate. (I’m sure readers of the author’s previous series enjoyed getting updated on THOSE characters. I didn’t realize until after I’d started that these were spinoffs.) The interactions were generally fun, and the setting was delightful. I’m a sucker for just about any storyline that involves books/bookstores/authors, etc. It was nice to see the bookstore become such a welcoming centerpiece for each story.
I also loved the leading male characters. Two were very (stereotypically, but so what) swoony and captivating, and one was more “boy next door” – steadfast and true. It was pretty clear from their first meetings who would end up together — even when there were some obvious obstacles. Some of the obstacles were much more intense than others… but in the end, I was happy with how things worked out in each of the stories.
I’ve also discovered that, as an American, I’m easily charmed by a British story, told by a British author. I like the turns of phrase and the all the little quirks of language that make it different from an American based story. (This can be done well by other authors writing a story set in the UK, but it doesn’t always have the same ease.)
What I Didn’t Love:
The main conflict in the first story (Tash’s story) really surprised me. I almost didn’t finish the story because it bothered me so much. Now, others may read it and not blink an eye. It was written well, it could absolutely have been worse, and it works out in the end. But I simply wasn’t expecting it, and I nearly didn’t finish the story. The second part (Emma’s story) was better, but still managed to give me the heebie jeebies. Again, it was written well, it could have been worse, and I loved the ending, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. I know that in a collection of stories as tightly wound together as these are, rehashing is to be expected. I was really loving the third story (Amy’s story), but always cringed when the plotlines from the previous two were brought up.
Overall — while I wasn’t prepared for quite a few of the things I found in this series of stories — I liked the idea of them, the writing was good, and there WERE many of the elements of the lighthearted contemporary romances I was looking for. It took me months to pick the book back up after the first novella, but the second one was better, and I really loved the third. Overall, now that I’m better prepared for what I might find in the stories, I’d be interested in reading more from this author (starting with the original series that these characters came from.)