So there are books that you want to keep for a while before you read them and then there are others that you can’t wait to read and end up reading almost the second they arrive with you. This second point was how I felt about this book so this review has been written in advance of today which is quite unusual for me. Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for having me on the tour (I squealed with excitement when I got the emailed) and for sending me a copy of the book to review.
The Book: When Rilla Clark’s long lost father dies, she leaves New England and heads to his cottage in the Scottish Highlands to sort out his affairs. Rilla’s determined that her visit will be a fleeting one. The little village of Applemore holds a lot of memories for her, but looking back might just open up her heart, which she’s kept well-guarded until now.
Lachlan Fraser is less than delighted with his inheritance. He left the grand, crumbling Applemore House as soon as he could, and he can’t see why his three sisters love it so much. Gathered together at their family estate, the battle of wills over what to do with the house is just beginning when into their life walks Rilla, who they haven’t seen for over fifteen years…
Old friendships and long-hidden emotions are rekindled as the romance of a Highland winter works its magic – will Rilla and Lachlan discover that home isn’t a place, but a feeling?
The Review: It’s not a secret that I love Rachael’s books, Sealed with a Kiss is one I read at least once a year when I need a guaranteed pick me up and an escape from other people for a while. Knowing this book was being written and set in Scotland I was keeping an eye out for it and genuinely did squeal with excitement when the review email appeared. Unlike Sealed with a Kiss, this book is set on the mainland albeit very much in the north-west of Scotland. This is very much a winter book and reading it at the very beginning of autumn had me almost hoping for snow!
I liked both Rilla and Lachlan, and the other characters in the story. It was easy to understand their individual dilemmas and the growing pull to the area they were in, despite them having been away from it for many years. There were other characters stories as well, that were intertwined in here, all connected to Applemore House in one way or another. Both Rilla and Lachlan have plans and lives that don’t involve the house of the village but things start to change while they are there and it was interesting to see their characters develop and change as the story progressed.
I loved the village, though we didn’t spend long in it, but what drew me in the most was the big house and the cottage, and the relationships contained in both of them. There were past memories and a real sense of community which made it a warm and cosy read. While there was understandably the concerns that Lachlan had about the house, there was also for me a feeling of escape and healing, as if this was somewhere you could go to have a break and have space to make decisions.
There are a small number of books that I would have on my “re-read when in need of comfort” list but this book is definitely on it now. It’s like a big, enveloping hug. It’s warm and cosy and a perfect winter read, or even autumn/early spring when it’s still cold and wet outside. It’s one of those books that made me feel like I was part of something, like I belonged in the book and that’s not something that happens often. I’m thrilled there is going to be a second book set here (secretly hoping for more than that!) and will probably squeal even louder if I get a tour email about that one. The book isn’t out till 25th October but it’s definitely one to put on your list or pre-order now.
Rachael Lucas has written ten novels for adults and teenagers, including the Carnegie nominated THE STATE OF GRACE, the top ten bestseller SEALED WITH A KISS and her most recent British bestseller THE TELEPHONE BOX LIBRARY. She is also the author (as Rosie Curtis) of sweet holiday romance We Met in December, an Amazon Editors’ Pick. Her novels have been translated into many languages, including Italian, Turkish, French, German, Latvian, Estonian, Danish, Norwegian, and more.
Sign up for Rachael’s newsletter at rachaellucas.com, follow Rachael on twitter at twitter.com/karamina, find her on Facebook at facebook.com/rachaellucaswriter and keep up with her day to day stories on Instagram – just search Rachael Lucas to find her!
Rachael lives by the seaside in the north west of England with her family and two very enthusiastic spaniels. When she’s not writing at the kitchen table with a coffee by her side, she’s out walking the dogs on the beach or the nearby pinewoods. She’s a huge Kindle fan – her ten year old self would have been over the moon to be able to carry a whole library around in her pocket – and a lover of sweet, romantic, small town stories, which is exactly what she likes to write. She’s a big Hallmark movie fan, wanted to be Anne of Green Gables when she was growing up, and Jo March was her literary heroine. (She still is.)
Rachael’s books are full of warmth and gentle humour, as well as beautiful small town settings which give her readers an escape from everyday. Rachael has been described as having “a gift for capturing complex emotion and both romantic and platonic intimacy” and writing which “exudes positivity and warmth” (Publisher’s Weekly). The Guardian called her “honest, romantic and hilarious”. Her teenage boys think she’s a bit disorganised, and that she forgets to cook dinner when she’s writing. (Luckily they don’t get to leave a review.)