Amelia has a dream: toasting chestnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world - a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.
They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they'd anticipated. On top of that, there's Amelia's newly loved-up mum and her tearaway half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with - pushing Amelia and Jack's marriage to breaking point.
Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage's previous owner - and a hidden secret. As Amelia's ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?
Review: aww what a lovely book. I knew this book would be lovely because of the whole concept of it, a comforting fireside, a cosy cottage, a dream come true, but it was even more comforting and warm and lovely than expected. I actually got this book on audiobook from the library and, whilst I had it in paperback too, I would really recommend it in this format because it was a truly lovely listen-well narrated and true justice was given to the writing. I was into the story right from the get go and loved the fact that it was about a teacher. I have to say that the teaching side of it was excellently researched, this author captured what life as a teacher is like, the stresses and the emotional side of it as well as the frustrations that you can feel in terms of your career developing!
The rest of the storyline was also excellent. I loved the way that it was structured into different rooms and though the doing up a house aspect as well as the relationship aspect of the storyline were just as realistic as the teaching side. The structure meant that this was a fast laced read and there was some new twist and turn with every single chapter-just perfect. The characters in this novel were all extremely likeable and relatable. Obviously, being a teacher (and one who is trying to move house right now at that) I related to Amelia and the emotions that she felt with her job, the cottage and her relationship with her husband. I though Jack was very well-written as well, he was a proper man and someone who felt things and expressed his emotions as a. Modern man does. Amelia's mum really added colour to the story, as did her dad and his daughter (Amelia's half sister).
The setting was, of course, described beautifully and I really felt like I lived in that cottage for the duration of the novel, seeing every lick of paint, every new piece of furniture and every memory that was going to be made there. The village it was set in felt like it could have been any village near to me and really came to life on the page. Overall this was a really great read and something I've recommended to lots of people to read again. I have other novels by this author and they are definitely being bumped up the TBR to be read soon! A comforting, lovely, realistic story to snuggle up with at any time of year!