When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager.
Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.
Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria.
Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams?
My eagerly anticipated return to La Cour des Roses to catch up with Rupert and Emmy was thankfully all I had hoped it would be. Having enjoyed the first book (review here) so much, there is always a niggling fear that the next might disappoint, but if anything I enjoyed this more. I suspect this is largely due to having already fallen in love with the location and the characters. Something which is very easy to do.
This story picks up pretty much from where it was left, so none of that 6 months later stuff to avoid tying up loose ends and filling in the gaps. When we return to the guesthouse it’s like visiting old friends. Emmy and Rupert are still struggling to find their feet in working together to get things on an even keel. The spectres of Nathan and Gloria still lurk in the background and the colourful cast of local friends are always on hand to offer support and in the case of Alain quite a bit more.
What I love about this series is the effortless way that Helen writes, I’m instantly hooked and want to know what happens next, and in this instalment there is plenty of drama to keep you reading. From disastrous house guests, to large suprise bookings, illnesses and misunderstandings. Drama and crises mixed with an underlying warmth and humour that balances everything perfectly.
Of course for anyone who read The Little French Guesthouse the big question is what happens with Alain. Well I’m not spoiling that story but will say we do get to see (if only) a lot more of him and can appreciate all his qualities. We also get to know all lot more about some of the minor characters we’ve met before, and I suspect that some will also feature quite heavily in book 3 (which I am wanting to read now – but I guess all good things come to those who wait). The French countryside as ever, also has a starring role and this time round we get to visit a few chateaux and linger once again in the cafes and markets, wishing we were there as well.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it does exactly what it says on the cover – makes you feel good and smile. The only thing I would say is, if you haven’t read the first book, please do yourself a favour and read that first. While this could be a standalone, you’d be missing out on a great opportunity to spend longer at La Cour des Roses.
I received a copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review