New to me author Maddie Please brings her latest release to the blog today – a mix of chick-lit, romance and a lovely idea for a job in
A Year of New Adventures
Close to thirty, no real job, career or relationship and a need to find something that pays the bills and is more than part-time, Sybilla (Billie) Summers and her best friend and librarian, Helena have started organizing ‘writer’s retreats’ where authors can get away from the norm, write, meet other writers and come away feeling as if progress has been made. Part of Billie’s interest in these retreats is her own desire to write, even though she’s never quite organized herself enough in the past eleven years to make much progress. But, that’s rather Billie’s way – she meanders through things: a list of unfinished projects, unfulfilled goals and a general sense of walking without purpose seems to be her lot in life: always just making the pieces fall together to survive.
Oliver Forest, the only truly difficult author ever to attend her writer’s retreat has gotten under her skin: his good looks set her mind into fantasy, his arrogance and attitude have her angry. And when she returns home after the retreat, with Helena having found a love interest in one of the authors, and she facing unemployment with her uncle’s bookshop being flooded: she’s rushing about to find her next step with bills due and a car that is on the last legs. When a telephone call comes from Oliver’s PA offering her an opportunity to cook for 5 people for 4 days, all expenses paid, she grabs at the offer and is soon whisked off to Ludlow Vermont to cook for Oliver, his PA, his agent and his US publisher. Time to flex her cooking skills and discover another side of Oliver: cooking and caring for the group and taking the idea of her writer’s retreats into something more. On returning home, she discovers that Oliver has shared her name (and an exorbitant day rate) with some of his author friends, and soon she is clearing out her spare and box rooms, digging out linens and paint, preparing a ‘specialized’ escape for writers in need. Each person has some wonderful anecdote or praise for Oliver, and Billie understands that she now can make a business doing what she enjoys. But still, the contact with Oliver is non-existent, even as she tries to convince herself that she doesn’t mind.
Of course you know there has to be an ending that makes things work out for Billie, and what she wants is something with Oliver. And we do get there, after some lovely moments with new and quirky authors, a scare with her Uncle’s health, the constant presence of ‘notmycat’ and Billie’s rather scattered approach to everything in her life except when cooking, the story brings the ending you’d hope for in spades. It’s just an interesting journey to get there: a bit unfocused in the progression (much like Billie herself) with plenty of sidetrips to visit with secondary characters, complaints and struggles with her mother, her Uncle’s relationship and shop, and even a return of the boyfriend who badly misused her. Through it all, there is a sense that Billie will soon be moving on to the next thing, and her ability to provide authors with the sort of care and an ear that is friendly and open, making her little ‘retreat’ venture a true growing concern especially with all of the good word of mouth from well-known, best-selling authors. With a grand gesture (delayed with her Uncle’s bout of appendicitis) and yet another limo ride that drops her at Heathrow without much explanation, the story is a perfect curl up with tea and escape sort of read. Just don’t use the ‘travelogue’ from Logan to Ludlow – you’ll have the longest and most unlikely route: much in the wrong direction, if scenic.
Title: A Year of New Adventures
Author: Maddie Please
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction
Published by: Avon Books UK
Published on: 5 February, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
It’s time for Billie Summers to have an adventure … but it might not be exactly what she expected
Billie Summers has always been quite content in her little cottage in the Cotswolds, sure half the house hasn’t been renovated, but what’s the point when it’s only her! Working part-time at her uncle’s bookshop and planning 3-4 writer retreats with her best friend allows her to pay the bills. What more could anyone want?
That is until Oliver Forest, the bad boy of the book world, turns up to one of her retreats and points out that Billie hasn’t done anything very adventurous. Couple that with her best friend falling head over heels and beginning to drift away from their Friday night wine and dinner plans, Billie is starting to wonder if it isn’t time she take control of her life.
So she starts a list: get fitted (properly) for a bra, fix up rest of house, find a ‘career’ and well, get a tattoo … Her life might just get the makeover it needs, too bad irritating and far-too-attractive for his own good, Oliver keeps showing up …
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.