Friday 3 February 2023

Guest Review: The Hidden Secrets of Bumblebee Cottage by Christie Barlow

A new start…

When Jinny Birdwhistle is pushed over the edge one time too many times and quits her job as a tabloid journalist, an impromptu – and rather unconventional – job search leads her to a new house, car, and career making honey and chutney in the small Scottish village of Heartcross. And with handsome beekeeper Gabe Warner to help her learn the ropes, she’s ready to embrace ‘country girl life’ and leave the past behind her.

…uncovers an old secret

Yet there’s more to strong and silent Gabe than meets the eye and though Jinny planned to leave her journalistic instincts in London, she can’t help doing a little digging. Now, as she uncovers a mystery that links to her own history, Jinny realises that you can’t outrun the truth and the only way to move forward is to face the past. But now that she’s at home in Heartcross, she won’t have to do it alone…

Review: This book is number 10 in the Love Heart Lane series from this author. The stories are set in the little Scottish highland village of Heartcross, a handy map of which is included at the beginning of this book. I have been following the series since book 1, and have enjoyed reconnecting with local residents in each new book, as well as meeting up with newcomers. Since everybody in the village says that once you arrive in Heartcross you never want to leave, there is an ever growing cast of characters in these books, but each can still be read as a standalone. 

The central character in this story is Jinny, a tabloid journalist who has been working for her father since leaving school. Having become increasingly disenamoured with the nature of her job, she works up courage to confront her father and walk out, leaving behind her luxury London apartment and top of the range car. An advert for a job in the Scottish village of Heartcross with a business producing chutney and honey that comes with the lovely Bumblebee Cottage has her making the long journey by train and bus for an interview. Having secured the position, she is delighted by everything and everyone in the village, and feels particularly lucky to have handsome and patient beekeeper Gabe by her side as she learns the job. As she gets closer to Gabe, she can’t help feeling that there is a mystery surrounding him that the journalist in her simply has to explore. However, how will what she discovers affect the growing attraction between them?

As a big fan of this series of books, I expected to enjoy this one, but it even surpassed my expectations and is my favourite one yet. Not only did I love meeting a few of the residents of Heartcross again, there was an interesting newcomer to the area, a whiff of romance and a mystery to untangle as an added bonus. I really liked the main characters, Jinny and Gabe, both hiding secrets of their own. She was so brave to strike out for a new life in a new environment, while he was amazingly calm and considerate whilst all the while dealing with memories from the past. I really envied Jinny for being able to stay in the beautiful Bumblebee Cottage, with its thatched roof, comfortable rooms and wonderful far-stretching gardens. I can recommend this book, and indeed all of the books in this series. Although they can be read as standalone stories, I would recommend reading them in order to get a good picture of the village and its inhabitants. I am already looking forward to and have preordered the next book in the series.  

To order your copy now, just click here!

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