In a rainy Manchester, Lexie Summers (27) has just pawned her jewellery to pay her rent. She hopes this means her boyfriend Drew won’t find out about her money problems. But then she sees her boyfriend looking at rings with another woman!
Desperate for a new start, and with no money, Lexie drives off in her orange VW camper van (Penny) and travels to Tewkesbury. She arrives at the imposing Nutgrass Hall for her job interview at Carrington Paints, where she meets Cory Carrington and his older, colder brother Ben. When she discovers Ben’s mother is trying to marry him off to a rich woman by the end of the year, Lexie isn’t quite sure what she’s let herself in for…
The settings are lovely in the book. I loved the Downton Abbey-style Nutgrass Hall with its scary peacocks and wonderful housekeeper Mrs Moon. I also loved Lexie’s camper van – I mean, we all love those, especially in orange! And this one has history and a sentimental value for Lexie too.
Lexie herself is a really great character, I warmed to her from the first page. She feels a bit inferior, slightly out of place, not quite good enough – and we can all relate to that. She has kind of drifted along in life and now realises she has to look after herself, get a job and earn some money. We cheer her on all the way in her endeavours! She’s such a sweetheart, you can tell that from the first chapter when she gives money to the donkey sanctuary! You want her to have everything in life, including the perfect man, especially after the way her horrible ex treated her.
Anita Faulkner has a lovely natural writing style. She uses beautiful similes (“the moment stretched out before her like a lazy cat” was one of my favourites) and clever touches which elevate her writing above many others. You notice her gorgeous use of words throughout, and fun imagery, which enhance the novel.
It’s also very funny. Lexie’s younger sister Sky provides a lot of laughs, for starters. There’s also a lot of visual humour like Lexie’s first encounter with the peacocks at Nutgrass Hall.
I love the way the romance develops, it feels really genuine and not too “perfect” like a Hollywood movie, but something that could actually happen to an “ordinary” person, which is my favourite kind of romance. I loved all the goings on in the London trip, for example and could really visualise all the sights and sounds and understand Lexie’s confused feelings. The dialogue is excellent too.
Despite this being Anita’s debut novel, it feels very professional – like it has come magically off the pen of a long-established romcom star name like Milly Johnson or Jenny Colgan. It is original but polished, beautiful and witty and I will definitely be pre-ordering her future books.
Oh and I NEED the recipe for Mrs Moon’s lavender shortbread!
5 stars *****
A COLOURFUL COUNTRY ESCAPE
Published by Sphere | 9th June 2022 |
Paperback Original | eBook available | £7.99
The debut novel that you won’t be able to resist falling in love with. Heart-warming romance and a breath-taking countryside escape – this is the PERFECT summer read.
Falling in love isn’t always so black and white . . .
When vibrant but penniless Lexie is dumped by her posh boyfriend who is looking for a more financially suitable match, she decides to pack up her beloved orange campervan Penny in search of a new path. Stumbling upon a vacancy at a family-run paint company in the Cotswolds, Lexie believes she’s found her perfect match . . .
Lexie arrives at Nutgrass Hall, home of Carrington Paints, but it seems that owner Benedict Carrington is less than impressed with her arrival, and Lexie realises she’ll have her work cut out for her if she’s to convince stuffy “Beige Ben” to trust her with rescuing his out-of-touch business. But Ben has more on his mind than just the company – his mother is determined to find him a suitable wife worthy of carrying the Carrington family name, or she’ll take the business from him.
As Lexie sets to work on injecting some life colour into Carrington Paints, Ben allows himself to be set up with Tewkesbury’s finest ladies. But the more time the pair spend together, the more they realise their feelings for each other aren’t so black and white. Will Lexie be able to brighten into Ben’s colourless world before it’s too late?
‘A heart-warming and uplifting romance – the perfect summer read!’
ANITA FAULKNER writes warm and fuzzy romcoms from her upcycled bureau in the south west of England. She grew up sniffing books and devouring stories. And she insists it was perfectly normal to squirrel boxes of pretty stationary that felt far too magical to actually use. She’s accumulated a brave and patient husband and a strong-willed little boy who brighten up her world.
For further information please contact Natasha Gill |
Natasha.Gill@littlebrown.co.uk | 020 3122 7413 | @_natashagill on Twitter