Wednesday 14 June 2023

Guest Review: A Summer Surprise at the Little Blue Boathouse by Christie Barlow

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

When Bea Fernsby discovers her fiancé’s eyes have been wandering, she calls off the wedding and hits the road. The village of Heartcross in the Scottish Highlands is about as far away from home as she can get, and when she stumbles into the ideal summer job at The Little Blue Boathouse and meets gorgeous vacationer Nolan Hemingway, things finally start looking up.

Now, as an old mystery surfaces and Bea and Nolan band together to find out what happened to his late grandfather’s one true love, fate throws Bea some unexpected curveballs…and promising opportunities.

Bea’s stay is only supposed to last a couple of weeks, but as the old saying goes: ‘Once you arrive in Heartcross, you never want to leave…’

Review: This is book 11 in the Love Heart Lane series by this author. This series features the Scottish Highlands village of Heartcross and the lives of its residents and visitors. Each new arrival in the village is told that once they have discovered it, they will never want to leave, so the population tends to rise with each instalment. Although this is a series, with many characters reappearing again and again, each book is complete in itself and can be read as a standalone. I have become quite fond of the village and the people in it, and am looking forward to finding out about the newcomers who will feature in this part. 

This story concerns Bea, who lands up in Heartcross wishing to get as far away from home as possible after catching her fiancé cheating yet again. She remembers the village from news coverage when a flood cut it off from the Scottish mainland. Having arrived in the village with no plans except escape for a couple of weeks, she is lucky to land a temporary job working in the Little Blue Boathouse where water craft and equipment are hired out and boat tours sold. Fortunately, the job comes with a small flat above the shop where she has the most amazing views of the water and the countryside beyond. As well as the locals, she meets attractive artist Nolan, who is visiting the village aboard his late grandfather’s houseboat. He is planning to take part in the village’s river festival, but he is also investigating a mystery regarding his grandfather’s visit to the village many years ago. Bea and Nolan become close, but he is determined to move on immediately after the festival and she is also supposed to be leaving soon. As they are definitely attracted to each other, can the village work its magic on them and persuade them to stay a little longer?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and my latest visit to Heartcross. It was good to meet up with several of the characters I have got to know in previous parts of the series. I loved the idea of the river festival, with visitors thronging the banks of the river watching the craft that had gathered there. Bea was lucky to land a job for the duration of her stay and I envied her the temporary accommodation with what must have been marvellous views from her window. She was brave to travel all that way from home, but was definitely rewarded by meeting Nolan. As well as being easy on the eye, he was also a really kind and considerate person. I hope that the couple may crop up in future parts of the series if they decide to stay. I can recommend this book, and the entire Love Heart Lane series; it is easy to be drawn in by the village and the people there. 

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