Allow me to introduce Faye Keenan and her debut novel in her Little Somerby contemporary woman’s fiction series, set in a small British village. Please read on for my review of this title, and see if it doesn’t tweak your obsession for all things UK.
The Second Chance Tea Shop
Told through the four seasons of the year, we meet Anna and her daughter Ellie as they return to the village of Little Somerby to make a new start. Taking over the town’s tea shop from her godmother, Anna is hoping the change of place and pace will put her world back on its feet, after losing her husband unexpectedly in a car accident. She’s gone all in, buying Pippin Cottage, at the end of Flowerdown Lane, and surrounded by an apple orchard, she’s really just wanting to be in familiar spaces with friends she’s had since childhood, closer to her parents, and fewer memories of her husband. But, as often happens, nothing is going quite according to plan: the movers are late, the heating won’t work and the changes are coming hard and fast, overwhelming her. Oh – and did I mention that it’s just weeks before Christmas?
When a call to the estate agent brings the gruff, albeit gorgeous man, to her door to start the stove- she’s completely taken aback. He’s not pleasant, doesn’t introduce himself, and Anna is instantly thinking the whole change of life is a mistake. But Matthew, despite being unfriendly at the moment, really isn’t. He’s got a ton of personal history (none of it good) in Pippin Cottage, and mounds of paperwork and things to accomplish as the manager of the family’s cider business. A single father, after his wife deserted he and his now teen daughter, he’s consumed with the business and the progress he’s made as manager. Everything else that makes him uncomfortable, unsettled or even uneasy is simply shut in a closet never to be looked at again.
But Anna and Matthew are drawn to one another: a tentative friendship blossoms into more with the steady influence (some say interference) from his daughter Meredith and the long-dead memory of a connection made years earlier, when Anna was a schoolgirl, during a tour of the orchard and cider operation. Slowly Anna starts to move forward, even as she still grips tightly to what might have been in her marriage: the loss and grief are familiar companions, ones that she retreats to often. On the other side: Matthew is a control freak- ready to assign the worst case scenario to all of his personal encounters, shielding himself from actually dealing with the emotional aftermath.
As the year progresses and we see the changes in them both, with secondary characters providing those moments that fill both Anna and the readers with information about town dynamics, gossip and personalities: the story begins to share the sense of community and security that Anna so desperately craved. Even as her relationship with Matt has her constantly overthinking things: her gentle and giving nature is apparent to all, and slowly the desire to be around and with Anna, for Matt, becomes a need. Much as her growing relationship with Meredith (desperate for a woman’s touch), and her very best friend Charlotte who always seems to have a million things happening at once: the connection and dependence that the two form for one another becomes a focal point and facing challenges and issues head-on becomes the crisis point that may tear them apart.
A wholly wonderful debut, bringing plenty of challenges, growth and moments where readers will completely understand everyone’s issues – I can’t wait for the next!
Title: The Second Chance Tea Shop
Author: Fay Keenan
Series: Little Somerby #1
Also in this series: Springtime at the Cider Kitchen, Summer in the Orchard
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: Aria
Published on: 1 April, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes, in this heart-warming novel. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.
Folllowing the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it's time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie, move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.
But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.
This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.
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.