NEW Cosy Mystery series announcement by Vivian Conroy #CornishCastle

curtains cover reveal

Exciting news!  Vivian Conroy has a NEW cosy mystery series due to grace your ereader very soon … I’m pleased to introduce you to the Cornish Castle Mystery series.

The first two books; Death Plays a Part (1) and Rubies in the Roses (2) are available to pre-order now on amazon and also on goodreads to add to your TBR.  See relevant links below:

Pop back tomorrow when I will ‘open the curtains’ to reveal the covers in all their technicolour gorgeousness and I will have an exclusive fun fact!

To connect with Vivian Conroy please visit the following links:





Celebrations & Confetti by Rebecca Raisin book review and blogtour


Celebrations & Confetti At Cedarwood Lodge written by Rebecca Raisin, publisher Carina, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen. Turning it into the perfect destination for big celebrations, weddings and parties has brought her back home, but Cedarwood Lodge is in need of a lot of tender loving care.

Perhaps all the work will be the perfect distraction from the real reason she had to leave her glamorous New York life behind.

Will coming home be the best decision of her life… or her biggest regret?


Celebrations & Confetti is the first instalment in the new Cedarwood Lodge series written by Rebecca Raisin.

I’ve always loved Rebecca Raisin’s style of writing especially how she draws you into the setting of the novel.  I totally could see myself walking into Cedarwood Lodge and could imagine the before and after in the renovations that new owner Clio had in mind.  Clio has been recently working in New York as a wedding planner but she is now back in her hometown of Evergreen after purchasing Cedarwood Lodge.  The Lodge has been left empty for years and is looking a little tired but Clio has plans to turn it into the best lodge around to host all matters of events.  Clio remembers the Lodge when she was a child playing in the grounds and the location of the lodge is just perfect with it’s vast gardens overlooking the mountains.

The Lodge however, holds many secrets and Clio discovers that her own mother is privy to one of these secrets.  Clio also has her own secret and she is holding back about the real reason she left the city.

With the renovations in full swing and the first booking for the lodge in place Clio’s life is full on.  No time for romance but love is blossoming for someone at the lodge.

This was such a wonderful, heart warming story and a great introduction to a new series.  I was totally swept away with Clio and her dreams.  I’m looking forward to more from Cedarwood Lodge and am intrigued to find out if the new renovated walls will reveal their secrets and whether cupid will cast it’s spell.  5/5*

To find out more about Rebecca Raisin and her books please visit the following pages:





Nice Day for a White Wedding by A.L. Michael blogtour and book review

nice day for a white wedding

Nice Day for a White Wedding (The  House on Camden Square book 2) written by A. L. Michael, publisher Carina, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Sometimes, Happy Ever After is where the real trouble begins…

Chelsea Donnolly wasn’t supposed to amount to anything. But if there’s one thing the bad girl from the estate liked better than trouble, it was a challenge. So, to the amusement of her best friends Evie, Mollie and Ruby – and the disbelief of her teachers – this bad girl turned good.

These days, Chelsea is the kind of girl people are proud to know – and, after a surprise trip to Venice, she has a ring on her finger to prove it. But to get there, she’s had to learn to keep her deepest secrets from everyone – even her fiancé. And when wedding preparations threaten to blow her cover, Chelsea can’t help but wonder: in her battle to the top, might she have left the best parts of herself behind?

limoncello print

I’m so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the release of the second book in The Camden Square series.  I’d like to thank the author and netgalley for an arc in return for a review.

This is only the second book I’ve read by A.L. Michael and I’ve come to appreciate what a joy and delight they are.  Once again I feel inspired, optimistic and happy after reading this book.

Nice Day for a White Wedding is book 2 in The Camden Square series.  I would encourage readers to read book 1 first as you get to appreciate how the characters got to where they are now.

This story focuses on Chelsea’s life, we time hop back to when she was a teenager living on the rundown estate, her friendship with the enigmatic Ruby, her unconventional childhood and the traumatic ordeal she had to endure.  Chelsea’s character appears outwardly as quite strong willed, she was very determined to better herself despite her upbringing.  Chelsea has tried very hard to hide the negative side of her past but unfortunately it rears it’s ugly head at the worse time possible.

New friendships are formed and old ones are feeling the strain of the past fighting with the present.

This story was uplifting, colourful, full of glamour and beautiful people and locations.  A story that played with your emotions bringing highs and lows with a gorgeous romantic feeling at the forefront.  5/5*

Please do pop on over to the other stops on the blogtour:

nice day for a white wedding blogtour poster

To find out more about A.L. Michael and her books please visit the following links:




Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A. L. Michael book review

goodbye ruby tuesday

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday (The House on Camden Square, Book 1) written by A.L. Michael, publisher Carina is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Four friends have become three. But that’s only the beginning.

Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.

A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby, who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?

key red ribbon

This was such an uplifting story, I felt quite emotional and energised at the end.

The author, A.L. Michael, has quite cleverly written around the grief that the three young women were feeling over the untimely death of one of their best friends from school.  Although, the girls had all grown apart in the ten years since they left school the legacy of Ruby Tuesday has brought them all back together.  Initially, just for the funeral but a surprise letter from Ruby has given the girls a seed of hope for the future.

Whilst the girls were at school they were known as trouble makers, their family life and backgrounds hadn’t been easy.  The girls had a lot of fun at school but the best time they had was dreaming about opening up an Arts Centre were all four of them could share their love of art, theatre, dance, cooking, anything creative really.  Over the last ten years life has got in the way of this dream but vivacious Ruby never quite forgot and within her legacy she has left the girls the keys to a dream they’d all buried ten years ago.  However, a time limit beckons.  Can Evie, Mollie and Chelsea pick up from where they left their dream ten years ago and turn this seed of hope into reality?

Turning grief into a new beginning was so heart warming.  There were many moments in the story when  we time hopped back to the girl’s teenage years and their time with Ruby.  Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is book 1 in The House on Camden Square series and we focus mainly on Evie’s story.  When Evie learns of this legacy she is quite instrumental in bringing the dream into reality, she is also the creative genius within the trio.  Evie’s family life is quite troubled and it has made her very angry and many times in her past she has struggled controlling this anger.  An ugly reminder from her past keeps returning and is a threat to the girl’s future.

It was just wonderful to see all the characters developing and growing with this challenge.  Each girl brings a different perspective and strength to the story and I loved the sub-characters of Killian, Esme, Evelyn and Kit.  I can’t wait to hear more from the girls and the development of these sub-characters.

A gorgeous story I couldn’t read quick enough.  Inspiring, uplifting, charming and romantic.  Bring on the next story ‘Nice Day for a White Wedding’, which was released yesterday!  5/5*

To find out more about A.L. Michael and her books please visit the following links:

What Happens at the Beach blogtour author guest post with TA Williams


I’m so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting What Happens at the Beach written by T.A. Williams.  It’s been a few weeks now since the publication of this delightful novel.  To purchase the novel please click on the following link:

Link back to my review of: What Happens at the Beach by TA Williams book review

I’d like to welcome T.A. Williams to my blog today:

Hi Adele

Thanks again for your lovely review of What Happens at the Beach. And thanks for helping out on this blog tour. Here are my answers to your questions.

Best wishes


Q:  I really enjoyed What Happens at the Beach … what inspired you to start this What Happens series?

A:  The first one was just called “Tuscany” while I was writing it.  It was only once it was finished and I was discussing with my editor at Carina UK what title to give it when the idea struck me.  I was already planning another book to be set in Cornwall so that’s how the idea of a series of standalones in different places came about.

Q:  I love how you feature a black labrador in your stories and understand you have a dog of your own, does your dog get involved with your story planning and writing?
A:  Alas, my faithful old black lab went to that great kennel in the sky a few years ago. He was 13 and he was an abused child – we got him as a rescue dog and the vet told us he’d be lucky to live to four or five. He made it to 13. He died while I was on a long bike ride all the way from here to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain and my wife was heartbroken, she vowed never to get another dog. So, that’s why I get my gratuitous canine fix from sticking one in all my books. Although, spoiler alert, there isn’t a lab in my next book. I’ll be waiting for the comments from my readers… 

Q:  What are you working on at the moment?
A:  I’m just editing my next book, recently finished. This one is set in London and Venice and the title will probably be something different from “What Happens in..” but I’m not sure what yet.

Q:  If you had to pick your favourite ‘What Happens’ book which one would it be?
A:  I’m a total tart, really. I always like my most recent book more than any of the others. That said, I really love What Happens in Tuscany because we lived for four happy years in that old Tuscan villa and I loved it.

Q:  You’ve written in quite a lot of genres, is there a genre you fancy exploring?
A:  I love history. In fact, as you can see from What Happens at the Beach… I am fascinated by the Cathars of Southern France. I think I might try my hand at historical fiction again one of these days. 

I look forward to a historical novel from yourself 🙂

Q:  Which genre of books do you enjoy reading and have you had a favourite read this year?
A:  I actually read a lot of non-fiction. I’m hooked on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and this year I read a fascinating historical novel called just “Q”, written by a secretive group of academics spread around Europe. Fascinating.

Q:  How long have you been writing and what drove you to put pen to paper?
A:  Believe it or not, I’ve been writing since I was 14. That’s over fifty years! I still have all 44 handwritten pages (in pencil) of “The Lake Dwellers”, a shameless ripoff of Arthur Ransome’s “Swallows and Amazons”. As to the question of what drove me to it, I really don’t know. Now, (and I’m sure my wife would agree), it’s a drug. If I don’t get my regular daily writing fix, I feel I’m missing out. 🙂

Thank you so much Trevor for joining me today, it’s been an honour to have been chatting with you.

To find out more about T. A. Williams and his books please visit the following links:
dog paw print trail clipart

What Happens at the Beach by TA Williams book review

what happens at the beach

What Happens at the Beach written by T A Williams, publisher Carina an imprint of HarperCollins UK is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

For the perfect summer romance…

It’s finally time for Natalie Dryden to decide what she really wants! After ditching her sparkling engagement ring, and her ghastly fiancé, she jets off for the sun-kissed shores of Southern France – the only place that has ever truly felt like home. For the first time ever, Natalie is determined to forget all about men and follow her dreams!

…head to the French coast!

Only, avoiding the male population isn’t quite so easy, especially when she meets smooth-talking Philippe and gorgeous fisherman, Remy! But then Natalie, quite literally, bumps into brooding millionaire Mark whilst swimming in the glittering azure-blue bay – and her life is turned upside-down.

Love might be off the cards for Natalie, yet suddenly she finds herself in her dream job and working with her dream man! But is it all too good to be true…?


black lab

I’d like to thank netgalley and #KEPRTours for an arc and to be involved in the #ReleaseDayBlitz for this novel.  What better to help promote this gorgeous summer read than a review of the novel …

This is TA Williams 5th novel in the What Happens series. Each book is a standalone but each one and a further other contemporary romance novel TA Williams has written features a wonderful furry friend character.  They say a man’s best friend is his dog but in TA Williams novels it appears the dog has a liking for the female leads.

This story is set around Natalie, a recent graduate in Medieval History.  Following the very recent split from her fiancé David, Natalie escapes his over bearing mother and travels to the south of France to stay with her elderly grandmother.  Her grandmother, Collette, is 90 but is still quite young at heart in her mind.  She lives in a gorgeous house close to the beach.  The house has been in the family for years and Natalie has enjoyed many summers spending time with her gran at the beach.

Natalie is enjoying this time relaxing with her gran, visiting the beach, swimming in the glorious clear turquoise blue sea.  She’s managed to gain a part-time job helping out old friends at the local restaurant and manages to catch the eye of a millionaire yachtsman and the local fisherman.  However, Natalie is not interested in love so soon after her break-up with David until she meets the owner of the chateau next door to her gran’s.  Mark Markeson sparks an interest in Natalie, not only is he her gran’s neighbour but he is also the master of the adorable black Labrador that visits Natalie’s gran daily.  The black Labrador is such a wonderful addition to this story, he sparks a warmth to the storyline and I also do believe animals can help bring people together.  I believe this is very clever of TA Williams acknowledging the charm of animals and bringing it to life in his stories.  Without revealing too much about the storyline Mark Markeson has a secret job and aspiring dream and when it’s revealed it helps bring Natalie and Mark closer together strictly in a professional manner (much to her gran’s dismay).  Can the hurt from both Natalie and Mark’s past be healed?

I loved how this story led us into the history of the area.  I could tell the author knew about the area and I was fascinated hearing about this and it has sparked my interest in finding out more.  This is my first read of TA Williams, although I do have a few of his other books patiently waiting for me on my kindle.  I love his writing style, his description of the location of his settings is very clear in this case I could picture the beach and the sea and I had fallen for this wonderful chateau that Mark lived in.  The whole area sounded so idyllic.  I loved all the characters, the main characters were easily recognisable and soon well liked and the array of sub-characters fitted in well with the storyline.  I could easily imagine further stories being told about some of the sub-characters.  The story had much warmth, humour, it was quite touching and emotive at times.  A thoroughly delightful story that will encourage me to read all the other What Happens books.  4.5/5*


View of medieval city Carcassonne, image courtesy of google

About the Author

TAWilliamsFirstly, my name isn’t T A. It’s Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…
I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in southwest England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.
I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.
To find out more about T A Williams books please visit the following links:



Cover Reveal: Breakfast at Poldark’s by Samantha Tonge

Breakfast at Poldarks_FINAL (3)

I am delighted to reveal the cover of Samantha Tonge’s upcoming new novel; Breakfast at Poldark’s.  Breakfast at Poldark’s is due to be published by Carina UK on the 28th July 2016.

To pre-order link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Kate Golightly needs to move forward and what better way to do that then with a trip to the Cornish coast with best friend and boss, Izzy.

The sea wind is just what Kate needs to finally relax and begin to let go of her past. Except she’s suddenly got one big reason to panic! She RSVP’d ‘yes’ to the Queen Bee of her high school’s wedding saying she’s bringing her boyfriend (she doesn’t have one) who looks just like Ross Poldark!

With only two weeks to find the Poldark look-alike of her dreams Kate is under a lot of pressure for the Cornish coast to deliver…

A hilarious and moving romantic novel from bestselling author, Samantha Tonge. A must-read this summer!

blue flower scroll n heart clipart

As soon as I saw this cover I was mesmerised by the gorgeous blues; from the sky, to the sea, to the blue in her dress it’s just so striking all together.

To find out more about Samantha Tonge and her books please visit the following links:

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin book cover reveal


I am so pleased to be involved in the Cover Reveal blogtour organised by #KEPR tours.  What a gorgeous summery cover it is …

Don’t miss the exciting new title in The Little Paris Collection, The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower.  The book is due to be published on the 1st July 2016 and is now available to pre-order with the following link

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin, publisher Carina, is the 2nd book in the Little Paris Collection.  The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower can be read as a standalone but to enjoy the full series I would highly recommend reading all the books in The Little Paris Collection:

  • The Little Bookshop on the Seine
  •  The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower
  • The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

Rebecca Raisin is a contemporary romance fiction writer and all her novels are beautifully detailed with characters to fall in love with and a storyline to warm your heart …

To find out more about Rebecca Raisin and her books please visit the following links:


A Home in Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh book review

home in sunset bay

A Home in Sunset Bay by Rebecca Pugh, publisher Carina, is available in ebook format from TOMORROW Tuesday 9th February 2016.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister…

Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?

Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!

An uplifting romantic comedy about sisters, friendship and the love of good food.

1950s diner image

I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

This is the second book written by Rebecca Pugh, Rebecca has a way of describing her settings for her novels so beautifully and full of character and charm that make you want to get in your car and drive down to Sunset Bay.

Two sisters, Mia and Laurie, haven’t seen eye to eye for a few years.  Since the death of their beloved Grandma Dolly the girls went their separate ways.

Mia carried on living in her Gran’s gorgeous, character filled home in Honeysuckle Cottage in the picturesque Sunset Bay.  She also took up the reigns of the running of Dolly’s Diner, a 1950’s inspired diner, right on the beach front of Sunset Bay.  Dolly’s Diner is very special to Mia as it was her Grandmother’s dream to have her own diner and when her dream was fulfilled with creating Dolly’s Diner she couldn’t have been happier. When her lovely granddaughters, Mia and Laurie, visited the diner they fell in love with the diner too, especially Mia.  So to be left the diner in her grandmother’s will Mia felt honoured and privileged to be living out her and her late Gran’s dream.

Laurie’s life wasn’t quite so picturesque.  Laurie had been pressured since school and uni to do more with her life.  This all led to Laurie living and working in London, with her career plan starting in a solicitors.  Laurie had been content with her work and her relationship with Neil her boyfriend but felt the constant pressure of having to achieve all the time.  Following the death of one of Laurie’s closest friends Laurie starts looking at her life and realises she wants more.  Her life is soon turned upside down when she catches her boyfriend in an act of infidelity.  Heartbroken and still grieving the loss of her friend Laurie decides to take a sabbatical and packs her bags and drives down to the only place she believes she will gain peace … Sunset Bay.

When the sisters meet up again words are said and misunderstandings emerge.

We follow Mia and Laurie’s journey of finding each other again.  Finding friendships and love in a beautiful setting.  We learn that life can be simpler and more beautiful if we step away from one destiny and change direction into another.

A gorgeous, heart warming romance perfect for a cold winter’s day. 5/5*

To find out more about Rebecca Pugh and her books please visit the following links:

The Little Bookshop on the Seine book review and excerpt

book cover the little bookshop on the seine

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin, publisher Carina, is available now in ebook format.

To buy links:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

reader on booksI’d like to thank the publishers and the author for an arc in return for an honest review.

This was such a delightful story set around a bookshop in Paris, what more could a book lover want?

I love Rebecca Raisin’s style of writing she creatures lovely, warm hearted characters and has made some wonderful series of stories based around these characters who reside in the charming fictional town of Ashford, Connecticut.  Its been wonderful to carry on reading about the much loved characters of Ashford and to learn more about them and watch them grow.

Sarah is the owner of the bookshop in the sleepy town of Ashford.  She has gained a great relationship with a fellow book owner in Paris.  When Sophie suggests a shop swop for 6 months to help her out during a trying time Sarah jumps at the chance to spread her wings and stay in Paris working in Sophie’s shop Once Upon a Time.  Sarah is hoping for a dreamy, romantic time working in the city of love, strolling along the streets steeped with so much history.  However, when she arrives in Paris it doesn’t initially live up to her expectations and the delights of Paris have to be ignored while she tackles the stress and strain of owning a very busy city centre bookshop (the total opposite of her little shop in Ashford).

Sarah’s love life is also suffering whilst she is in Paris.  Ridge is constantly working away and struggles to spend much time with Sarah.  When he finally visits Sarah in Paris, Sarah starts to believe her relationship with Ridge is back on track.  However, the lure of his job beckons and Sarah is left alone again.

We are introduced to some lovely new characters in Paris.  I particularly loved Oceane, she sounded so glamorous and vivacious.  T.J. was also a great character and his personality shone through the more you read about him.  Once Upon a Time sounded like the best bookshop in the world, I hope a bookshop like this does exist and if it does I hope Rebecca lets us know.

This was a gorgeous, feel good story that eclipsed with a fabulous ending at Christmas time.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about Paris and the lovely new characters we’ve been introduced to in the next two instalments in the Little Paris Collection.  A wonderful story filled with festive charm and romance 4.5/5*.

The Little Paris Collection:

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

book borderCarina and Rebecca have kindly given me an excerpt to share with you:

My email pinged and I dashed over to see who it was from. That’s how exciting my life was sans Ridge, an email was enough to make me almost run, and that was saying a lot. I only ran if chocolate was involved, and even then it was more a fast walk.

Sophie, a dear Parisian friend. She owned Once Upon a Time, a famous bookshop by the bank of the Seine. We’d become confidantes since connecting on my book blog a while back, and shared our joys and sorrows about bookshop life. She was charming and sweet, and adored books as much as me, believing them to be portable magic, and a balm for souls.

I clicked open the email and read.

Ma Chérie,

I cannot stay one more day in Paris. You see, Manu has not so much broken my heart, rather pulled it out of my chest and stomped on it. The days are interminable and I can’t catch my breath. He walks past the bookshop, as though nothing is amiss. I have a proposal for you. Please call me as soon as you can.



Poor Sophie. I’d heard all about her grand love affair with a dashing twenty-something man, who frequented her bookshop, and quoted famous poets. It’d been a whirlwind romance, but she often worried he cast an appraising eye over other women. Even when she clutched his hand, and walked along the cobbled streets of Paris, he’d dart an admiring glance at any woman swishing past.

I shot off a quick reply, telling her to Skype me now, if she was able. Within seconds my computer flashed with an incoming call.

Her face appeared on the screen, her chestnut-colored hair in an elegant chignon, her lips dusted rosy pink. If she was in the throes of heartache, you’d never know it by looking at her. The French had a way of always looking poised and together, no matter what was happening in their complex lives.

“Darling,” she said, giving me a nod. “He’s a lothario, a Casanova, a…” She grappled for another moniker as her voice broke. “He’s dating the girl who owns the shop next door!” Her eyes smoldered, but her face remained stoic.

I gasped, “Which girl? The one from the florist?”

Sophie shook her head. “The other side, the girl from the fromagerie.” She grimaced. I’d heard so much about the people in or around Sophie’s life that it was easy to call her neighbors to mind. “Giselle?” I said, incredulous. “Wasn’t she engaged – I thought the wedding was any day now?”

Sophie’s eyes widened. “She’s broken off her engagement, and has announced it to the world that my Manu has proposed and now they are about to set up house and to try immediately for children –”

My hand flew to my mouth. “Children! He wouldn’t do that, surely!” Sophie was late-forties, and had gently broached the subject of having a baby with Manu, but he’d said simply: absolutely not, he didn’t want children.

The doorbell of her shop pinged, Sophie’s face pinched and she leaned closer to the screen, lowering her voice. “A customer…” She forced a bright smile, turned her head and spoke in rapid-fire French to whoever stood just off-screen. “So,” she continued quietly. “The entire neighborhood are whispering behind their hands about the love triangle, and unfortunately for me, I’m the laughing stock. The older woman, who was deceived by a younger man.”

I wished I could lean through the monitor and hug her. While she was an expert at keeping her features neutral, she couldn’t stop the glassiness of her eyes when tears threatened. My heart broke that Manu would treat her so callously. She’d trusted him, and loved him unreservedly. “No one is laughing at you, I promise,” I said. “They’ll be talking about Manu, if anyone, and saying how he’s made a huge mistake.”

“No, no.” A bitter laugh escaped her. “I look like a fool. I simply cannot handle when he cavorts through the streets with her, darting glances in my bookshop, like they hope I’ll see them. It’s too cruel.” Sophie held up a hand, and turned to a voice. She said au revoir to the customer and spun to face me, but within a second or two, the bell sounded again. “I have a proposal for you, and I want you to really consider it.” She raised her eyebrows. “Or at least hear me out before you say no.” Her gaze burned into mine as I racked my brain with what it could be, and came up short. Sophie waved to customers, and pivoted her screen further away.

“Well?” I said with a nervous giggle. “What exactly are you proposing?”

She blew out a breath, and then smiled. “A bookshop exchange. You come and run Once Upon a Time, and I’ll take over the Bookshop on the Corner.”

I gasped, my jaw dropping.

Sophie continued, her calm belied by the slight quake in her hand as she gesticulated. “You’ve always said how much you yearned to visit the city of love – here’s your chance, my dear friend. After our language lessons, you’re more than capable of speaking enough French to get by.” Sophie’s words spilled out in a desperate rush, her earlier calm vanishing. “You’d save me so much heartache. I want to be in a place where no one knows me, and there’s no chance for love, ever again.”

I tried to hide my smile at that remark. I’d told Sophie in the past how bereft of single men Ashford was, and how my love life had been almost non-existent until Ridge strolled into town.

“Sophie, I want to help you, but I’m barely hanging on to the bookshop as is…” I stalled for time, running a hand through my hair, my bangs too long, shielding the tops of my eyebrows. How could it work? How would we run each other’s businesses, the financial side, the logistics? I also had an online shop, and I sourced hard-to-find books – how would Sophie continue that?

My mind boggled with the details, not to mention the fact that leaving my books would be akin to leaving a child behind. I loved my bookshop as if it were a living thing, an unconditional best friend, who was always there for me. Besides, I’d never ventured too far from Ashford let alone boarded a plane – it just couldn’t happen.

Please,” Sophie said, a real heartache in her tone. “Think about it. We can work out the finer details and I’ll make it worth your while. Besides, you know I’m good with numbers, I can whip your sales into shape.” Her eyes clouded with tears. “I have to leave, Sarah. You’re my only chance. Christmas in Paris is on your bucket list…”

My bucket list. A hastily compiled scrappy piece of paper filled with things I thought I’d never do. Christmas in Paris – snow dusting the bare trees on the Left Bank, the sparkling fairy lights along the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Santa’s village in the Latin Quarter. The many Christmas markets to stroll through, rugged up with thick scarves and gloves, Ridge by my side, as I hunted out treasures. I’d spent many a day curled up in my own shop, flicking through memoirs, or travel guides about Paris, dreaming about the impossible…one day.

Sophie continued: “If you knew how I suffered here, my darling. It’s not only Manu, it’s everything. All of a sudden, I can’t do it all any more. It’s like someone has pulled the plug, and I’m empty.” Her eyes scrunched closed as she fought tears.

While Sophie’s predicament was different to mine, she was in a funk, just like me. Perhaps a new outlook, a new place would mend both our lives. Her idea of whipping my sales into shape was laughable though, she had no real clue how tiny Ashford was.

“Exchange bookshops…” I said, the idea taking shape. Could I just up and leave? What about my friends, my life, my book babies? My fear of change? And Ridge, what would he have to say about it? But my life…it was missing something. Could this be the answer?

Paris. The city of love. Full of rich literary history.

A little bookshop on the bank of the Seine. Could there be anything sweeter?

With a thud, a book fell to the floor beside me, dust motes dancing above it like glitter. I craned my neck to see what it was.

Paris: A Literary Guide.

Was that a sign? Did my books want me to go?

“Yes,” I said, without any more thought. “I’ll do it.”

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