Warning: This review contains spoilers.
When Poppy Shilling’s bike-besotted, Lycra-clad husband is killed in a freak accident, she can’t help feeling a guilty sense of relief. For at long last she’s released from a controlling and loveless marriage.
Throwing herself wholeheartedly into village life, she’s determined to start over. And sure enough, everyone from Luke the sexy church organist to Bob the resident oddball, is taking note. Yet the one man Poppy can’t take her eyes off seems tantalizingly out of reach – why won’t he let go of his glamorous ex-wife?
But just as she’s ready to dip her toes in the water, the discovery of a dark secret about her late husband shatters Poppy’s confidence. Does she really have the courage to risk her heart again? Because Poppy wants a lot more than just a rural affair . . .
Poppy Shilling is in a loveless marriage. Her husband Phil works all the time and then goes out and rides his bicycle. He’s constantly Lycra-clad which, is not necessarily a good look for him. He’s never home to help take care of their two children and gets more and more irritated with them all the time. Poppy wonders how he’ll die. Will he be walking under scaffolding and get hit by a rogue falling hammer? Or will it be something simpler. What it ends up being is completely freaky and a bit shocking. She’s not exactly sure how to feel about his death at first but shock is definitely one of those feelings.
Not long after the funeral she’s visited by a woman who tells her that her husband was having an affair with her – for four freaking years! To say that Poppy went into a bit of a depression was putting it mildly. She figured there was something wrong with her that made her husband stray for so long but she finally realizes, with the help of her friends, that it wasn’t her that had the issues, it was Phil!
Poppy is soon introduced to her solicitor who is new in town but his father always worked for Phil. Sam Hetherington is wonderful and Poppy is infatuated. It may seem too soon to some people but Poppy had been practically a single parent for years so it didn’t seem all that wrong. As much as she likes Sam he gives off varied signals and as a reader I was so confused by them. He was distant, then he wasn’t, then he was distant again and it went on and on. Poppy made a complete fool of herself because of Sam on more than one occasion and I felt sorry for her as she wasn’t the only one who thought she looked like a fool, most of the town did too.
The story is about Poppy finding her way through all of the ins and outs of her life now that Phil is gone. She dates a guy but she’s not sure she likes him all that well. Her and her friends start a book club but that soon ends. She’s not sure how she’s supposed to feel most of the time and I found myself understanding her confusion but yet wanting her to stop floundering around and get her head on straight. On one hand I liked her close friends, Peggy, Angie and Jennie very well but yet at times found them to be pretty rude. (Jennie, her husband Dan and their family was especially entertaining.) This just didn’t sit well with me. Peggy was always wonderful but Angie and Jennie seemed to tear Poppy down to make themselves look good and I didn’t like that at all.
Poppy is a misfit and in her town everyone knows everyone’s business. I got a bit tired of it even though I usually love small town stories. I was very near the end of the book when I realized the author was going to try to stick a “romance” in there and have Poppy have her HEA. I wanted it to happen earlier in the book, yet when it did I was disappointed in the suddenness and the fact that this person was professing their love and they’d hardly spent any time together at all. I guess being a reader of romance novels I expected more and this didn’t hit the mark.
Overall it was an relatively entertaining read but a bit long for my liking. It felt like it meandered when it should have been doing a fast walk. lol. I might try other book by this author in the future but I would have to get a glowing recommendation from a friend before I did.
Rating: 3 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place
This book is available from Michael Joseph-Penguin. You can buy it here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.