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A Rural Romp!
Stately Pursuits - Katie Fforde
Member Name: kingfisher111
Stately Pursuits - Katie Fforde
Date: 16/05/11, updated on 04/08/13 (125 review reads)
Advantages: fun and easy to read
I am a big fan of the novelist Katie Fforde and have read many of her books. Although I generally seem to have kept up with her later books, I realised that there are a few earlier ones that I have not read. Stately Pursuits, written in 1997 was one that I had not read until recently when I managed to pick it up quite cheaply in a charity shop. Having now read it, I can safely say that her style really has not changed over the years and the only difference is that technology has moved on quite a bit. I couldn't help noticing that very few of the characters have mobile phones in the book and no one uses emails to keep in touch. How things have moved on in a few short years!
At the start of the story Hetty is nursing a broken heart having discovered her boyfriend (who was also her boss) in bed with another woman. Jobless and homeless, she returns to her parents. They tell her about Samuel, a distant sick relation who is in hospital and needs someone to house sit his minor stately home. This seems an ideal solution for Hetty which is how she ends up at the rather ramshackle Courtbridge Manor. She is soon caught up with trying to restore the home to its former glory and making it pay for itself by opening it to the public. All is going well until Samuel's great nephew Connor turns up who has very different ideas for the house. There is a distinct loathing between the two but, as is often said, it's only a fine line between hate and love! In true Katie Fforde style there follow numerous misunderstandings between the pair of them and it's anyone's guess as to whether they will be able to resolve their differences.
Stately Pursuits is a lovely light easy read that is perfect for lazy summer reading. Being set against the backdrop of a stately home definitely adds interest too. It is a bit like entering a different world and meeting some very interesting characters that you are not likely to come across unless you live in a small country village and have a lot of time on your hands. It is a nicely paced story but not too long at about 370 pages. It kept my interest throughout although didn't exactly hook me the way some of her later books have done.
The characters are quite believable and Hetty is quite likeable too. As you read you can't help but hope that things work out well for her. She can be a bit frustrating too as she is not very good at communicating with the people around her and she also has the tendency to make some pretty daft decisions. It's all good fun though and if you are looking for something light and easy to read, you wouldn't go wrong with this book. I think it is slightly weaker than some of her later books, but then there are many authors that do seem to get better over time! If you are a fan of Katie Fforde it is definitely worth a read.
Stately Pursuits is currently available on Amazon for £4.42 (May 2011).
Summary: One of Katie Fforde's earlier books