The brand new novel from bestselling author Holly Hepburn, perfect for anyone who loves Jenny Colgan, Veronica Henry and Lucy Diamond. A Year at Castle Court is Holly Hepburn's four Castle Court e-novellas collected together as a novel for the first time.
Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester's bustling streets.
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn't think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there's support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb's cocktail bar on the third floor!
Review: I think the setting of this novel is one of my favourites. The way it is described in the story makes it very easy to picture. I loved that it was set in Chester too, I can't remember reading another book set there and I'm glad its sightly further north than a lot of the books out there at the moment. It also makes for a very close knit community which adds tension to the whole thing!
I loved meeting all the characters as well. Cat and Sadie are great anchors for this story and I like the fact that we have two friends as the main characters as opposed to a couple or just one person on their own. They may seem a little stubborn on the outside, but deep down they know who to trust and who not to. The others characters in the court are all very interesting and we unearth a few skeletons from their closets as the novel progresses. They are all very strong willed and so, as I am sure you can imagine, there are some tense moments, as well as some comedy misunderstandings. My favourite other characters are definitely the guys who own the diner, they are great!
The fact that this whole series focuses on these women owning their own business and sorting out their own issues is incredibly empowering. Yes there might be some talk of men in their lives, but ultimately, all of their success is down to them. There is a phrase that I loved in this novel that just really typifies how much of a cheer for strong women this series is. Rather than saying one of the characters felt like she had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali, she uses Nicola Adams for the analogy, I cheered at this!
Overall I loved all the issues discussed in this novel. There is plenty of drama, plenty of comedy and just as touch of romance all of which keep you guessing as to how it is all going to end right up until the last minute. I really loved spending time in Castle Court and I am sure you will too!
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