Angela Barton comes to the blog today with a story full of choices and second chances in
Rowan and Tom are a couple in love, with a dream to own a run-down Georgian townhome in London, just minutes from Tom’s sister and her husband. With the aid of Rowan’s inheritance from her grandmother, they get the house at auction, and are able to refit and renovate for a new start – with a photography studio in the basement for Tom and plenty of light and bright space for Rowan to create her jewelry. And things are lovely, with only a few hiccups from a client of Tom’s and Rowan’s big secret – she’s pregnant and can’t wait to share the news.
But a sudden appearance of a heart condition takes Tom away, leaving Rowan, his sister Libby and her husband / best friend David grieving and bereft. Wanting nothing more than to hide away until the pain subsides, but needing to do SOMETHING, Rowan organizes for contractors to split the house into three flats – giving her some income and people around her. And while she’s struggling to figure that all out, she heads to France to her parents’ home, just to regroup and have a break from the noise and construction debris. An ill-advised open car door results in her meeting her first tenant, Mason (or Ace) is flamboyant, friendly and utterly adorable, and with his own living situation in London going pear-shaped he’s moving in with plenty of laughter and good-will.
We follow Rowan through a year of her grief, interspersed with concerns about Libby and David’s marriage, a miscarriage, new feelings for someone else, and a series of strangely threatening notes, all leading to a climax that leave Rowan feeling both hollowed out and fed up with it all. Grief is a funny thing, and the moments of Rowan’s dealing with it by ignoring, pushing herself, railing and sobbing all felt normal and solidly portrayed, while the characters of Ace, James, Libby, David and Nora, as well as her little spaniel Jet gave little reprieves from both the grief and the struggles to move on. What emerges is a solidly presented and clever story that allows us to understand and appreciate Rowan, empathize with Libby and wonder about the changes as they are approaching almost before a year has passed since Tom’s death. Solid friendships, true caring and plenty of drama that results from poor choices and secrets are all clear and palpable, and the story brings brightness and happiness to most everyone we meet.
Title: Magnolia House
Author: Angela Barton
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Choc Lit UK
Published on: 29 January, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
When you open up your home and your heart …
Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.
But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.
To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: