Monday 7 January 2019

Guest Review: Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.
A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley.
Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.
When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.
Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Review: This story was originally published as a 4-part serial, but is now available in its complete form; I chose to listen to the unabridged audiobook. I haven’t read anything from this author before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found a compelling and well rounded story that kept me engaged, and listening long after I should have been doing something else. Some serious issues, including domestic violence, are raised in the story and dealt with in a sensitive and skilful manner.

The central character in the story, Beth, is running away with her young son, Leo, from a relationship that has turned bad. In her desperation to get away at all costs, she goes to an auction and buys a cottage that she has never seen, having lost other properties for which she intended to bid. However, this idyllic property in the Cotswolds turns out to be rundown to put it mildly and the dreamy little village of Dumbleford where it sits appears to be populated by a series of zany characters. She has little alternative but to set to and try to turn the aptly named Willow Cottage into a habitable and saleable property; a gargantuan task for which she has little or no knowledge of the skills required. Among the local inhabitants she meets early on is the rather attractive and mysterious Jack, who at first encounter appears rather rude, but who eventually comes to her aid in more ways than one.

I thought this was a really lovely tale, with an amazing array of characters. Beth has ended up in a typical country village where everybody knows everybody else and peoples’ eccentricities become less strange as you get to know them. Of course, they also add a lot of humour to the story. Beth’s best friend, Carly, also adds a touch of amusement to the story, especially in scenes with her boyfriend, Fergus. Another character who comes to the fore is Petra, who runs the village pub. She is also a single mum and becomes a firm friend. Beth definitely needs friends, because all through the story there is the spectre of her ex, Nick, a dangerous character; even when he eventually turns up, there is a further twist in the tale. What I found especially enticing about this book is that there is humour, there is romance, but there is also edge of the seat excitement and drama. I can see that it would have made a great serial, with good cliffhanger moments, but I’m still glad that I read the complete book, as I would have hated the wait to see what was going to happen next.

This is a marvellous story, well written and with something for everyone; I highly recommend it and will be looking out for more from Bella Osborne.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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