‘Summer At The Little French Guesthouse’ by Helen Pollard

Summer sun, chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss … Right?

Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.

The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness.

But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart?

This is the third book in the ‘La Cour des Roses’ series.

To my shame, this is the first book I have read by Helen Pollard.  Needless to say that it certainly won’t be the last one, as I have two ‘episodes’ of the ‘La Cour des Roses’ series to catch up with and then read the author’s other books.

I don’t want to type too much about the storylines as I have a bad habit about giving away too many spoilers about books that I have really enjoyed.  Oops.  This installment of the series sees Emmy preparing for her wedding to the gorgeous sounding Alain.  The wedding has turned Emmy’s mother into a ‘Mother Of The Bridezilla’ but Emmy tries not to let this bother her.  Alain’s ex is on the scene, mainly because she is married to Alain’s brother, and she seems to be holding something back.  Emmy tries not to let this bother her and her circle of friends are trying to shield her from anything that would disrupt her happy day.  However, a secret from the past threatens to overshadow the wedding.  Will this secret prevent Emmy from getting married? Will Emmy’s mother be able to tone down her ‘Mother Of The Bridezilla’ attitude?  Will the happy couple get married?  Well for the answers to those questions and more you are just going to have to read the book and find out for yourselves as I am just not going to tell you.

I absolutely LOVED the character of Emmy.  She suffered horrendous heartbreak when her boyfriend ran away with another woman, but she got back up, dusted herself off and then carried on.  Emmy seems like a really nice person to know.  She is honest, she is fair, she is down to earth, she cares about people, she does more than her fair share of hard work, she is ready with advice when necessary or with a tissue if needed, she has the patience of a saint, she is optimistic, she is helpful, she is level headed, she is a good friend, she cares and she is just an all round good egg.  Plus she has the gorgeous sounding Alain desperate to marry her.  I loved Alain.  He is the same sort of person as Emmy.  They work really well as a partnership and if they are apart then they desperately miss each other.  Alain has known heartbreak too- mainly when his wife betrayed him and ran off with his brother, Adrien.  That woman has a lot to answer for but then again, if she hadn’t done that to Alain, then he wouldn’t have got with Emmy, who is a much better match for him.  As my friend says ‘everything happens for a reason even if you can’t see it at the time’.

In my opinion, ‘Summer At The Little French Guesthouse’ is really well written.  It is billed as being a ‘feel good novel’, which it is but it is also more than that if that makes sense.  It teaches you that good things can come out of bad and that even when things appear bad, you just have to get up and carry on rather than hiding away.  The author clearly cares about her characters and what happens to them, which clearly shines through in her writing.  The author writes about her characters so convincingly that you almost begin to imagine that they are real and that the action is playing out in front of you.  The author certainly grabbed my attention from the very first word on the very first page and I wasn’t released from the book’s grip until the last word on the last page.  As I began to care about the different characters and what happened to them, I just had to keep reading and I didn’t notice the pages speed past.  It was almost as if the pages were turning themselves and before I knew it I had finished the book, which I was both pleased about (because I knew how the story ended) and not pleased about, (because I didn’t want the story to end).  I certainly felt as through I had been through the emotional wringer after I had finished this book but I was left with the overall sense of happiness at the way things turned out.

In short, and if you hadn’t already guessed, then I absolutely totally and utterly, blinking well LOVED reading ‘Summer At The Little French Guesthouse’ and I would totally recommend that you read it.  I can’t wait to read more from this fantastic author.  I’m not off to dig out the first two books in the series from my huge ‘TBR’ (to be read) pile (wish me luck I may be some time) and read this series from the beginning.  I award this book an easy 5* out of 5*.



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