A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde

I am a huge fan of Katie Fforde’s books and have read them all; some many times over as my favourite ones are the reading equivalent of comfort food (Paradise Fields, Highland Fling, Wild Designs and Artistic Licence).

In A Springtime Affair two threads are woven together – the stories of Gilly, who runs a boutique B&B, and her daughter Helena, a weaver. It is refreshing in a work of romantic fiction to have a main character who is older. When Gilly’s son, Martin, encourages her to sell up, it is sobering to realise that she is in her fifties, not in her eighties, running her own successful business, and not ready for the rocking chair just yet.

Having survived an abusive relationship and acrimonious divorce, Gilly has turned the home she loves into a successful B&B; she enjoys making everything just right for her guests, and is always cooking and baking shortbread. Out of the blue, her son suggests that Gilly sells her property and lives in his granny annexe, so that she would be available to babysit her grand-daughter. The sheer selfishness and greed of this plan beggars belief. I can’t believe she is even willing to consider it. However, Gilly only wants the best for her children, and does wonder if she should agree, and then she could also help Helena get her foot on the property ladder.

Unlike Martin, Helena would never dream of agreeing to this; she is an independent woman making a living as a craftsperson. When property consultant Leo turns up, Gilly is flattered by his attention to begin with, until she comes to her senses and finds out that he is in league with Martin. Alarm bells begin to ring when Helena (who is a super-recogniser) tells her where she has seen Leo before.

Jago is Helena’s landlord; she helps him rescue a kitten, and, as neither of them is looking for romance, they agree to be each other’s plus-one to stop their friends matchmaking. Of course, this is a Katie Fforde novel so we all know how it will end; the interesting part is how we get there.

A Springtime Affair is well written with believable characters and realistic dialogue. I really loved William’s eccentric aunts – they are great fun and added so much humour to the story.

For each novel, Katie has always researched some craft or occupation for her main characters; this time it was weaving, and we also learned a bit about gliding and running a B&B. This helps to make them more interesting, and other writers now seem to be following her lead (I read one recently about artisan gin, and another about being a museum curator).

I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Springtime Affair and, as always, look forward to her new book early next year. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy in a exchange for an honest review.

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