This was the first book I have read by Christina Jones, but it definitely won't be my last. I have found another chick-lit author to read. I really enjoyed Christina's style of writing, it flowed effortlessly and I was able to loose myself in the book, frequently loosing time when I picked up the book.
The book is about Ella Maloney, who has left her job in London, and her long term boyfriend behind and taken a job as a mother's help. The job is in a small village, and the house is called Hideaway Farm - a great description as it is very difficult to find, as Ella found out when she travelled there for the first time. The mother Ella is helping, Poll, is a single mother who lives in an impressive farmhouse with her young son, but as soon as Ella arrives, she realises Poll is not telling her everything. Ella soon finds out that Poll has invited three other people to live in her home, waifs and strays who have suffered personal tragedy in their lives, but has Poll invited them to live there because she wants to help them, or has she got ulterior motives?
There is a love story throughout the book, Ella instantly falls for her new housemate, Ash, but when he arrives home, in his new company vehicle, an ice cream van, with gorgeous, exotic dancer Onyx, Ella instantly thinks she has no chance, and anyway she is in a long term and long distance relationship with Mark.
The village names throughout the book are those strange, odd names that sound so strange you instantly know they must exist Hazy Hassocks, Bagley-cum-Russet to name but a few. Each village has the variety of villagers that I picture would live in a tiny village, where community is high and village gossip flowing. When Ella visits Patsy's Pantry, the villagers are out in force, trying to find out about her and sharing what they have heard and think about Poll's idea of moving waifs and strays in to Hideaway Farm.
The story also includes a TV cooking programme, 'Dewberry's Dinners' which sounds like a cross between Come Dine with me and Masterchef and I really enjoyed the scenes which included this programme; the two married hosts who barely speak to each other off camera, but present the vision of a happy partnership, who bounce off each other with funny banter at all times on screen, the female presenter who travels with her own personal stylist, make up artist, hairdresser and wardrobe team, the male presenter who mucks in with the production team, sharing a few cans with staff before and after filming, acting as one of the lads.
I really enjoyed the book and enjoyed the slight twist at the end. There was a strong storyline throughout the book and I liked the happy ending which finished the book. I liked the characters and I think the house sounds like a great place to live (well except the creature living in Ash's room), where you couldn't feel alone, would have lots of fun and the house would be constantly filled with the smell of cooking filtering from the kitchen at all times.
I would recommend this book to all chick lit fans but also to people who want an easy read, something to curl up with on a cold evening or on a sun lounger!
Thank you to Oasis for sending me this book to review as part of their book club.