Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott

3 Star

Newly widowed Poppy Shilling should be feeling distraught at the death of her husband, Phil. But, in fact, she can't help feeling relieved. No longer will she have to endure Phil's iron fist ruling over her and their two young children, or his unfortunate penchant for lycra cycling wear. And when a secret is revealed after his death, Poppy's previously held beliefs about their life together are turned upside down.

Freed from the shackles of her miserable marriage, Poppy is determined not to make the same mistakes again. Fully embracing village life, she becomes the object of the local menfolk's affections- from the resident odd ball to the sexy church organist. But it is Sam Hetherington, the village's slightly shambolic solicitor who catches her eye.

Will Poppy learn to follow her heart and refuse to settle for second best? It's time for a new beginning, and a chance to discover what real love feels like…

Kaley - 3 Star 

I’m a huge fan of British authors, particularly the ones who write chick lit – you know, Sophie Kinsella, Carole Matthews, and the like. I’ve read one of Catherine Alliott’s previous novels and enjoyed it and have another waiting patiently on my bookshelf. Because of this, I was looking forward to reading A Rural Affair. I was a little bit disappointed but overall it was a fun read.

I really liked the idea behind this novel – a second chance at life and love – but something just didn’t work for me. I think it was that the book was ridiculously long (over 450 pages) and really didn’t need to be. There were all sorts of things going on and I didn’t think that all of it was needed. I found myself actually wanting to get to the end so I could find out what was going to happen with Poppy. That is not a good thing to be wishing when you’re reading a book. Sure, you may want to find out what happens to the characters but, if you’re lucky, you ultimately want to savour every last bit of the book. Not the case with this one. I wanted the end because I just didn’t care about all the superfluous action (for example, the whole hunt scene near the end was skimmed) and wanted it to be done.

I loved the village Poppy lived in. A book gets bonus points for taking place in a quaint town full of nosy but well meaning neighbours. I liked that I really got a taste of the other folk in the town throughout the novel, in part through choir, a book club, and the aforementioned hunt (PS by hunt I mean the horses, hounds, and fox type of hunt). Since the book was insanely long, I got to meet a lot of different characters and that was fun because they all added a little extra flavour to the novel.

I’m glad this wasn’t the first book by Catherine Alliott that I read because I don’t know if I would have been compelled to pick up another of hers. I’ll still give others by her a chance but they definitely have not moved up my to-be-read pile because of A Rural Affair. I laughed a few times throughout and liked the idea of the plot but it’s not a book that’s going to stick with me now that I’ve finished it.

Thank you to Sourcebooks for our review copy! All opinions are our own.

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