Alison Sherlock comes to the blog with the fourth book in the Willow Tree Hall series, a lovely series surrounding a family in the Big House with the little village of Cranley as two former residents return to the village in
Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall
When the story started, it was hard for me to connect with both Lily and Jack, having only met Lily briefly before and Jack not at all. And believe me, both of these characters had many walls for readers to break through, most tied to childhood anger and guilt – that made getting to know them difficult. But we’ll start with Lily, and realizing that her obsession with lists was simply a way to control the things around her in an effort to not be hurt again. Now, lists are all well and good UNTIL they take over your life – and Lily was simply moving from one list to the next, attempting to tick off items as she encountered them. Life had other plans, and with a cheating boyfriend and loss of her London job, she had no choice but to (very reluctantly) move back home with her parents and newly-installed in her old room, grandfather.
Jack was back in Cranley to meet with an old school-mate, Sam, heir apparent and grandson of the current Earl, Arthur. Jack works for a property developer in acquisitions, and his boss wants to acquire Willow Tree Hall to convert it into a luxury hotel and spa. Of course, Jack’s boss won’t take the no as the final answer, and is planning, with some political clout and a bit of underhandedness to force the sale for his own revenge. Jack takes this information back, and with his own self-doubts about being enough or needing people who will only leave him, again, he joins forces with the family to save the hall. Only one thing stops him- Lily, his teenage girlfriend that he’s never forgotten is working at the hall, temporarily, and she’s none to welcoming.
Oh the back and forth between these two was strong – from their own fears to Jack remembering a very different Lily, to Sam, his grandfather Arthur, aunt Rose and brother Will all remembering a strong willed but ultimately good-hearted man. We get to see how everyone’s lives have changed, and although there’s no mention of Tommy’s girl Eleanor (but plenty of Dylan) I can only hope that there’s a ‘where are they now” story to update us on the wonderful people and progress that has come to the hall since Sam and Annie have ‘taken charge” of the place. With Jack finally convincing Lily to speak with her own family about her guilt and obsession with control, to his gentle coaxing of Lily’s father to join the world again, as well as Lily pushing Jack toward his adoptive parents who grieve for the life he had and hurt because all they want to do is love him, even as he rebuffed most of their efforts, the story manages to pull several people and issues into focus, allowing the healing to start at Willow Tree Hall. With the outrageous Rose and the return of leather-clad aged rockers and an utterly OTT designer, the story has laughs, tears and plenty of heart – a solid installment in the series and sure to tickle readers who’ve wondered about the hall and Cranley since the last book.
Title: Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall
Author: Alison Sherlock
Series: Willow Tree Hall #4
Also in this series: Escape to the Country, A Way Back Home
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: Aria
Published on: 14 November, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Romance blossoms under the stars in this feelgood love story for fans of Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain.
Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.
Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It's not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she's working.
Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn't seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.
Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all...
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: