After having a "rootle" through my ever increasing "to read" pile, I winkled out a book I hadn't even remembered being lent, though once started was pleased to have found!
The book in question is - "Pastures new by Julia Williams".
Amy Nicholson and her young son Josh have decided to finally leave London and the protection and help of their mother in law/grandma who it has to be said, has started becoming a little over bearing.
This is after all understandable, as a year previous Amy's partner and Josh's father Jamie was killed in a motor bike accident, and has left them completely bereft.
One of their dreams was to move to the country and become a bit more self sufficient and raise a family in the clean country air, so once Amy feels a bit less distraught she decides she would be brave and follow Jamie's dream for him.
Amy and Josh move to a delightful little village called "Nevermorewell", and finds herself immediately in the centre of a thriving and wonderful community of people, all of whom seem to revolve around the allotments situated at the bottom of the garden that Amy has started to rent.
All is well until she meets a man called en, the local doctor and all round gorgeous good guy, she feels the stirrings of a crush, but will her grief allow her such feelings?
This book was absolutely fantastic, and had me hooked from the first page!
Though the story is of course based upon the death of Jamie, and how Amy deals with these feelings of grief and loss, I was enthralled at how she finally discovers that yes she is completely distraught, but at last it feels that there might actually be life after his death for her.
The book is set in the village of Nevermorewell, and is made up of an eclectic mix of characters, each one being strong and well established in their own right, but each one feeling quite integral to the development and healing process of Amy and Josh.
Surprisingly the book is actually really funny, with the subject of the two main deaths in the book being very well written, there is the obvious grief and loss being portrayed beautifully in the book, but it is done with humour, so the book actually doesn't feel that depressing to read, this said however you do at times feel Amy's desolation of her loss and this surprised me at how quickly I could be laughing then crying as I read through.
Alongside the chapters covering Amy's move are chapters dedicated to a few of the characters already living in the village, mainly Harry, a long time widowed man who Amy feels an instant affinity with.
Caroline (whose house Amy is renting) a carefree woman who has just decided to go travelling on a him, and left her then boyfriend to repair his heart after her departure.
My favourite characters (aside from Amy) is Saffron and Pete, a second marriage amalgamated family, who are portrayed as "living the dream", this couple are hysterically funny, and seem to mirror many other couples I know!
The book is available to buy via www.amazon.co.uk, and retails for around the £4.99 mark.
This is a really wonderful book, and one that I would thoroughly recommend!
Thanks for reading x
I have previously read two superb books by Julia Williams and it is now my mission to read all her novels. The latest one I have read is Pastures New which I believe is actually the first book that she wrote. First books can sometimes be a bit disappointing (especially if you have enjoyed later books by the same author) but not this one. Pastures New was immensely readable and enjoyable from the moment I picked it up to the moment I read the last page. It also only took a matter of days to read as I just did not want to put it down!
In the book, Amy, a young widow, moves to the small village of Nevermorewell in an attempt to start out again - hence the title. Her former partner and father to five year old Josh died in a motorbike accident a couple of years ago. Amy knows that she has to get on with her life particularly for Josh's sake and Nevermorewell seems the best place to do it. Everyone is so friendly and she even has an allotment to take care of. She is soon befriended by Saffron who needs help with her gardening business after being left in the lurch, and kindly old Harry, an octogenarian, who quickly becomes a surrogate father and grandfather figure to Amy and Josh. And then there's always Ben the dishy local doctor who is always willing to help out. It's just such a shame that Amy knows that she will never fall in love again after Jamie - or will she?
This was such a wonderful storyline with such loveable characters that I was immediately hooked. I had to keep reading just to find out what happened next. It was not only the main story lines surrounding Amy that had me hooked, but a number of other story lines as well that were interwoven so well. Julia Williams has a wonderful easy way of storytelling and having read two other by her I felt that her style was very familiar.
She is also so good at creating lovely believable characters that you can't help but end up rooting for. Amy was strong yet vulnerable but also very determined. She was also quite a frustrating character in her determination to go it alone and at times I wanted to just give her a big shake and make her at least try and work out things with Ben! My favourite character had to be Harry - warm, and grouchy in equal measures but with a heart of gold and he would have done anything for Amy and Josh. There was such a warmth to all the characters and it was enjoyable to read of the community that built up round the allotments.
Overall this was a fabulous book. At just under 500 pages it was just the right length with a good pace and a mixture of story lines that kept you wanting more. I must have read over 100 pager per day and I would have probably read more if I did not have a young family to look after!
This fabulous book is currently available in paperback on Amazon for only £4.99 (October 2010). I definitely recommend it if this is your type of book.
I was recently browsing my local charity shops for a new book to read, something new and an author I hadn't read before as I was getting a tad fed up of reading the same few people's work over and over. I wasn't having much luck until I set eyes on this small little paperback, written by an author I'd never heard of, and to be honest the wintery christmassy looking cover swung it for me. And for 75p, if I hated it I couldn't care! But luckily for me, another treasure was uncovered.
Amy Nicolson is a young widow who has recently lost her boyfriend and father of her son Josh in an accident. She wants to make a fresh start away from the memories and the mother-in-law Mary so moves to Nevermorewell, a small village miles away from home. Amy soon settles into village life and life on the allotments and makes some new friends for her and Josh along the way. Amy is just settling in when local Doctor Ben Martin stumbles into her life and leaves her all confused. Will love begin to grow on the allotments? Or are the secrets that bind them pull them apart?
I know that the story doesn't sound like the most exciting in the world, and it certainly isn't, but what it is is a lovely, heart-warming story of love, confidence, discovery and trust all stuck together by the wonderfully indulgent and enjoyable setting of Nevermorewell and a cast of lovely characters. The author Julia Williams has really opened the eyes of the reader when she created this little world, and totally allows you to lose yourself in her words and feel yourself being sucked into lifen the allotments with a warm cuppa in your hands!
This was what I really loved about the story to be honest. I do love a book where you can just close your eyes and imagine yourself there, sitting alongside the characters, and this is exactly what this book delivered on for me. I could imagine the little houses of Nevermorewell, the muddy but cared for allotments, and Amy's little terraced house, and this just added to the charm and authenticity of the story itself. Williams really has the knack for writing places that you can instantly imagine yourself in from the first few pages of the book.
As well as wonderfully written settings, Williams has created a likeable and funny group of characters to follow through the story. Being the main character, Amy was the main focus of the book and she was definitely a loveable character. I sympathised with her circumstances, losing her partner and having to leave all her memories behind, but this made me warm to her much more quickly and I therefore wanted things to work out for her. Together with her son Josh, the pair made a lovely family and Williams has written a brilliant relationship between the pair which is touching and heart-warming.
There are other characters throughout that play their own important part as well. Harry, an elderley gentleman who owns an allotment near Amys, is Amy's first friend in Nevermorewell. He also hits it off with her son Josh, and he features strongly through the book and is the sort of neighbour we would all want! Ben is Amy's love interest and close friend, a real man's man who loves his GP practice, his motorbikes and looking after his friends. He was so much like Amy that the pair were perfectly written and seemed so perfect for each other! Caroine is the town vamp and an awful woman but equally laughable, she provides a bit of welcome comic relief into the book. And finally Saffron, Amy's new business partner and stressed mother of young children, she's trying to rebuild her marriage as well as her business.
But what I really loved about this book was just the way it plodded along in its own little pace, but it never seemed boring! It was a slightly predictable love story with a somewhat inevitable outcome but that didn't bother me at all. I could really sit down and immerse myself in this fictional little world, and I came to really care about these people and this village. Williams clearly has a knack for writing things that will touch people, and this is certainly a great debut novel. The third person narrative is enjoyable and easy to read, sweeps all over the countryside and its ways of life, and draws you into Amy's world of love, discovery and finding your old self. Definitely recommended, a lovely read especially for these coming cold winter months, one to curl up with.
ISBN: 978-1847560087. Published by AVON books, a division of Harper Collins in December 2007. The paperback contains 480 pages, and is available on Amazon for £4.50, or free from your local library. This is the debut fiction novel of author Julia Williams, her second novel 'Strictly Love' is due out 22nd September 2008. For more information on the author, see her website http://www.juliawilliamsauthor.com/.
Thank you for reading.