Fifteen-year-old Issy, and her newly-single mother, Caroline Evans, are struggling to find their way alone, as well as together. At thirty-eight, Caroline is coming to terms with this new life, even though she has little money and all the responsibility for the two of them. When she decides to leave their well-off lives in Singapore (and her cheating husband and his long-time mistress and powerhouse), she ends up living in an English village pub, cooking dinners to earn enough to get by on; meeting unexpectedly quirky people, and making friends. But Issy still adores her father and secretly blames her mother for their change in life. When Caroline’s dream of restoring an old barn into a restaurant finally begins to come true, her chance at happiness hangs in the balance as whispers of murder and vengeance find their way to her. When Issy, hovering in that limbo between girl and young woman, begins to make some dangerous choices, the stakes are raised even higher.
Kaley - 3.5 Star
I knew right away that A Place in the Country by Elizabeth Adler was going to be an emotional novel. Divorce? Check. Single mother? Check. Temperamental teenager? Check. Moving to another part of the world? Check. Any of those things would be enough to rattle me, but all of that and more? Whew. It was interesting to read about Caroline and Issy’s journey and find out how they handled all these changes.
There was so much happening in this book that it almost felt like it was a bit over the top. There was also a very serious issue (the dangerous choices that Issy makes that is alluded to in the synopsis) that is glossed over. The only people Issy tells are her best friend (another teenager who is ill prepared to deal with such a situation) and her grandmother. And grandma doesn’t do anything! I don’t want to give anything away so it’s hard to really talk about this issue. Just know that there should have been a better discussion about what happened. It was not an OK situation and if a teen read this they wouldn’t realize that.
I do love that Caroline was able to make an attempt at realizing her dream of owning her own restaurant. It wasn’t an easy process by any means but she definitely had a great support system, which helped her immensely.
I’m not sure what was needed for me to enjoy this novel more. I’m not a fan of moody teenagers, particularly ones who are acting out against their single mom so Issy wasn’t really an endearing character for me. She came around a bit by the end but I have to admit that she is probably what kept me from loving this book.
Overall, I liked A Place in the Country by Elizabeth Adler. I didn’t love it but I do think others might. If you like emotional stories, particularly ones involving families, this one’s for you!
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for our review copy!
Connect with Elizabeth Adler here: