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Jennie Copeland thought she knew the recipe for a happy life: marriage to her university sweetheart, a nice house in the suburbs and three beautiful children. But when her husband leaves her, she is forced to find a different recipe. And she thinks she's found just what she needs: a ramshackle house on the outskirts of the beautiful Talyton St George, a new cake-baking business, a dog, a horse, chickens... But life in the country is not quite as idyllic as she'd hoped, and Jennie can't help wondering whether neighbouring farmer Guy Barnes was right when he told her she wouldn't last the year. Or perhaps the problem is that she's missing one vital ingredient to make her new life a success. Could Guy be the person to provide it?
Last year I read and loved Cathy Woodman's first two novels in her Talyton St. Georgie series: Trust Me, I'm A Vet and Must Be Love. So I was thrilled when I learned Cathy was working on a new novel. And while The Sweetest Thing is set in Talyton St. Georgie, the focus has moved from Maz and her vet's clinic to a new character, Jennie. I was thrilled to receive an early copy to review and sat down one Saturday afternoon when I was feeling a bit low to devour it. I wanted to make it last over the entire weekend but I finished it the Saturday night I started it, much to my own chagrin for wanting to make it last.
Like I said, The Sweetest Things switches focus from Maz, Alex and Otter House Vets and we're introduced to Jennie Copeland who, after her divorce, has decided to move to Talyton St. George to open up a cake-making business and make her and her three kids life better. Jennie soon finds out that life in Talyton is anything but quiet and peaceful and soon finds herself with a menagerie of animals to look after including a dog, a horse and numerous hens. As Jennie struggles to get her cake making business going, the only thing making her new life bearable is her friendship with Guy, her gorgeous neighbour. I commented in my Must Be Love review that reading that book was like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and the same goes for The Sweetest Thing. Yes, we're introduced to new characters but Maz and Alex pop up along with other Talyton St. George residents and, of course, the book is set in Talyton St. George which we all know well.
I absolutely love Cathy's books. Her books are very reminiscent of Katie Fforde's novels as I know what I'm going to get - despite the fact I've only read two of Cathy's novels until The Sweetest Thing. Her characters are wonderful and her stories are incredibly sweet. Woodman has hit on a niche market, with her tales of animals and people and rural life and I know exactly what I'm going to get when I read the Talyton St. George novels. The plot probably isn't particularly unique with Jennie moving after her divorce and falling for neighbour Guy but Woodman's storytelling abilities make it easy to get lost in the world of her characters and you're desperate for them to have their happy endings.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the cast of the novel. Despite being twice my age (before people panic, thinking Jennie may be ancient, she's not; I'm 20, she's 40), Jennie was a brilliant main character and I warmed to her immediately as she falls in love with the house that will become Jennie's folly. I loved Guy immediately, too. He sounded very swoon-worthy and I loved his relationship with Jennie, even if they did get off to a difficult start (Jennie called him a bumpkin!). I loved Jennie's kids, too. Adam got on my wick at times but I loved Georgia and Sophie and they seemed like such sweet kids. Basically those are the only characters who occur regular as well as Jennie's horrible ex David and the less said about him the better!
I did think the teenage angst of Jennie's son Adam was a bit annoying, but it was understandable. I just thought he was a bit ungrateful. Mostly, though, I breezed through the novel. I loved getting lost in Talyton St. George again, and I'd love to live there if it was a real place! Seeing Maz again, though only fleetingly, was brilliant. As the book is told entirely from Jennie's point of view, it made it very easy to get into the story and I couldn't help hoping she'd get her happy ending, she'd get everything she wanted and her cake business would be a success. I for one can't wait to see what the next Cathy Woodman novel brings. It's due out in November and I sincerely hope it stays in Talyton and I definitely wouldn't object to seeing Jennie again. The Sweetest Thing is a must-read for fans of the other two novels though it can also be read as a stand-alone as there are no spoilers for the previous two books!
Two books which I really enjoyed last year were Trust Me I'm A Vet and also It Must Be Love both by Cathy Woodman. Both of the books were following Maz and Alex who were vets in the village of Talyton St. George. I have been keeping a close eye on Cathy Woodman's website waiting for the date for her new book to be released and at long last it has arrived. The Sweetest Thing is the title of her new book and for those of you who were fans of her previous books you will not miss this book as the front cover is much the same as the other two books.
This time our main character has changed, meet Jennie who is a newly divorced mum of three and has decided that now is time to live her dream and decides to up and move to the country. Jennie moves to the town of Talyton St. George. Jennie is looking forward to the tranquil life in the country and thinks it will be a great new start for her children although it is soon clear that life is not going to be so easy and tranquil as typical village gossip soon starts and Jennie's son Adam soon starts showing his distaste of country life. Jennie decides that she is going to need o bring in some money to be able to pay for the things the children want to help to settle them in so she decides to start her own cake business. Will the cake business work out and will she be able to help the children settle in the country or will they decide to go and live back in the city with their father?
I loved each and every one of the characters in this book. Jennie's relationship between her children and between the new love interest Guy in the book is brought across to the reader beautifully. From the first chapter we warm to Jennie's character and only hope for the best for her in her new start in life. The character of Adam who is Jennie's eldest son was very hormonal and emotional to read about. At times I felt annoyed with some of his actions and on over times I felt really sorry for the poor lad who is having a hard time adjusting to his new life after his parents split up and he is moved away from all he knows. The two daughters were a joy to read and we felt their excitement being brought to us through the pages of the book.
I have to say I actually enjoyed this book more than the previous two. I do have two problems with this book which I shall bring up now firstly I was so hungry reading this book after reading about a different kind of tasty cake in each chapter ( I can only say it seems as though Cathy Woodman has really done her homework on cakes!) and also that I am so in love with the village of Talyton St. George that I want to up and move to this place in the pages of my book!
Now that I have got my minor negatives out of the way I can tell you that this was a very enjoyable read, so much so I read this on my day off on Sunday it was a true page turner! The story felt quite real to me, which I feel is the reason why I struggled to put it down. The book is written from Jennie's perspective so we really get an insight in the way she feels and the way she is coping with her new life.
We do see the characters of Maz and Alex pop up briefly in this book which gives us a bit of familiarity but does not take over the story. We do have a new romance in this book between Jennie and her neighbor Guy which was lovely to read as unlike most books I seem to have read recently the romance between them is hard work due to the children and both Jennie and Guy's work I found myself all the way through the book wondering if they would eventually get together.
I would recommend this book (actually I already have my copy has gone to one of my clients already!) It would be an ideal holiday read or like me your lazy Sunday read. I can only hope that we do not have to wait too long for the next book and that it keeps on par with this book.
Please see http://reabookreview.blogspot.com/ if you are a book worm like me !!