A Village Affair by Julie Houston book review

 

a village affair

A Village Affair written by Julie Houston, publisher Aria, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2FWGjYb

Product Details

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends. As if that weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape. But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

field of wild flowers

I was recently on the blogtour for this fabulous, fun read and you can catch up with my post here  to read an extract from the novel.  I’m now delighted to share my review.

I thoroughly enjoyed this rom-com from author Julie Houston.  Julie Houston has a wonderful warm, witty way with words and I laughed out loud to many of the great scenes in this novel.  A story full of characters with zest, spirit, warm-hearted, fun and very relatable.

From the first chapter that reveals a secret that explodes through many people’s lives you are left with a melodrama and are hooked with wanting to know what happens next.  The author gives you insights into a life before, Cassie’s own mothers life specifically, to when Paula was having her own dramas of the heart.

Cassie is now having to deal with the repercussions of this secret and all on top of her starting her new job as Deputy Head at the local primary school.  However, another announcement was to startle Cassie and her life from hereon was going to be a chaotic juggling act.  An act that would have her go on an emotional journey.

I loved this story from Julie Houston.  It was fun, entertaining, feisty and had a lovely community spirit woven within the pages.  A story of accepting life’s hurdles but embracing new beginnings.

A Village Affair is Julie Houston’s fourth full-length novel.  Julie Houston has also written a festive novella, you can find my review here.

About the Author

Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number1 bestseller. She is married, with the two teenage children and a made cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

Social Media links:
Twitter handle: @juliehouston2
Facebook: @JulieHoustonauthor
Website: http://www.juliehouston.co.uk

A Village Affair by Julie Houston blogtour extract

 

a village affair

A Village Affair written by Julie Houston, publisher Aria, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy links:

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2MF22BW
iBooks: https://apple.co/2PEjcCb
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MFTI4T
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2yFfGjA

Product Details

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head teacher at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if it weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the front of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

 

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Julie Houston’s novel: A Village Affair.

I am currently reading this novel by Julie Houston and I’m already loving it, it has quite an exploding first chapter that makes you eager to find out what happens next.  I’ll be sharing my review of the novel soon on my blog but today I’d like to share an extract from the novel:

She’s Right Off My Christmas Card List…
At 1 a.m. on the Monday morning – the morning when I was apparently supposed to breeze into Little Acorns and take over at the helm, steering both staff and pupils in the direction demanded by the local authority, the governors and, more pertinently, bloody Ofsted, my husband slunk back home. I say ‘slunk’ but to be honest I didn’t have a clue as to the speed or mode of his arrival, being dead to the world as a result of a couple of Fiona’s little helpers.
Totally shattered from lack of sleep and the shock, as well as the bombshell of my sudden promotion, I was in a pretty catatonic state by the time Fiona and Clare left, late in the afternoon, to sort out their weeks ahead.
Clare, who was in the process of expanding her rather successful stag do business, Last Stagger, to incorporate hen dos, had been given a lift by Fiona to get her own car and laptop and, on her return, set herself up at my breakfast bar dealing with emails and the many enquiries for new business. Fiona, who believed any problem could be solved through food, and lots of it, found my pinny, ingredients in the fridge and freezer and set to rustling up a meal in order to have some semblance of normality for the kids. At least when Freya and Tom finally got around to realising this particular Sunday was shaping up to be rather different from the usual Sunday in the Beresford household, I had the excuse of being in shock and terror at suddenly finding myself head teacher instead of deputy. Having said that, while there might be a shepherd’s pie in the oven, I still didn’t know how I was going to explain Mark’s absence.
Before Fiona left to feed her own brood, she’d nipped down to Sainsbury’s, returning with an enormous chocolate cake, concealer and a pack of Nytol.
‘The cake’s for pud to stop your two talking,’ she announced drily. ‘If their mouths are full, they can’t be asking too many questions. You’ll need the concealer to cover up those red eyes in the morning and the Nytol…’
‘I’m not taking sleeping tablets,’ I protested. ‘I don’t believe in them…’
‘They’re just antihistamine,’ Fiona said calmly. ‘Far better that you actually get some sleep to face tomorrow than have another night like last night. You probably won’t need them, you’ll be so exhausted. I usually drop a couple when Matthew is snoring horrendously and doesn’t respond to my clapping.’
‘Clapping?’ Clare looked up from her laptop, bemused. ‘You applaud him for bloody snoring. God, I’d be kicking him, not encouraging him. Clapping?’
Fiona laughed. ‘Honestly, it works. Try it next time one of your men happens to be a snorer. You just gently clap two or three times and they turn over and sleep without another sound. It doesn’t always work.’ Fiona started giggling. ‘The other night I was so fed up with him I clapped really angrily – staccato – in his left ear, and he shot out of bed shouting, “What is it, what is it, wassamatter…?” fell over his bloody great size-fifteen boots – that I’m always telling him to shift from the bedroom – and landed in a naked heap on the carpet.’ Fiona carried on chortling. ‘Great entertainment,’ she added.
‘I think you need to get out more,’ Clare said. ‘Why don’t you go into the spare room when the snorer from hell kicks off?’
‘Haven’t got one any more. Now that the girls are horrible adolescents and can’t stand sharing a bedroom – or each other, come to that – Bea has purloined the spare room for herself. Moved all her stuff in there a couple of months ago and refuses to move.’
‘I’d smack her bottom,’ Clare said.
‘Not when she’s almost six foot and her hockey stick’s a constant accessory, you wouldn’t,’ Fiona said mildly. ‘Anyway, enough of my lot. How are you feeling now, Cassie?’
‘Like I’m in a dream,’ I shrugged. ‘Totally not with it. Even if Mark hadn’t done what he’d done, if he was here now with me instead of you two, I’d still be in a state about tomorrow.’
‘But why?’ Clare looked up again. ‘I thought you wanted to be in charge?’
I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself as terrifying thoughts of the next day replaced incredulous thoughts of Mark’s recalcitrant behaviour. ‘I know you two – particularly you, Clare, not having any kids in the system – don’t know much about what’s going on in education at the moment, but being a deputy head in a primary school is totally different from being the head. I have a class of my own to teach, albeit on a slightly, and I emphasise the word slightly, reduced timetable. I’m given two afternoons off to perform my deputy’s role.’
‘Sounds much better now then,’ Clare said, draining her cup of coffee. ‘As head, you won’t have a class to teach and you can shut yourself away in your office and swivel round on your chair, pressing those red and green lights that say, “Come In” or “Bugger Off”.’
I actually laughed at that. ‘You don’t know the half. I’m still going to have to deal with my new class tomorrow; someone will have to teach them and I can’t see David Henderson having sorted out any supply.’
‘David Henderson.’ Fiona whistled. ‘I’m still amazed that the man they call “the Richard Branson of the North” is actually your Chair of Governors. What’s he like? Rather attractive, isn’t he?’
‘Rather?’ Clare snorted. ‘Very, you mean. He’s gorgeous…’
‘With a very attractive wife,’ I smiled.
‘Since when’s that stopped Clare?’ Fiona sniffed, giving me an anxious look. ‘Look, Cassie, you can’t do everything. You can’t be expected to teach a class of thirty ten-year-olds and be deputy head and now head as well. What did David Henderson say? What’s likely to happen?’
‘Well, in cases like this, where the head is suddenly no more, if the deputy has been in situ for years then they will be acting head and another member of staff will be acting deputy until the post of head is advertised and filled. In my case, where I’m brand new, a new acting head is usually brought in from the authority. You know, someone who’s been a deputy for years in their own school and is actively looking for a headship. They’ll ship them in to take over temporarily.’
Clare looked disappointed. ‘Oh, so you’re not going to be head after all? Well, that’s all your problems halved in one fell swoop. You just need to sort Mark out and you’ll be back to square one, job done.’
‘Clare!’ Fiona frowned as she saw my face. ‘I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that. You get back to sorting your rampant stags and don’t be so damned flippant.’
I smiled at Fiona but realised my stomach was churning and I wanted to throw up. ‘I’m sure they will bring someone in to take over as head but, according to David Henderson, it won’t be tomorrow. He said he’d be on hand in the morning to help me. Shit,’ I said, suddenly realising. ‘I’m going to have to do a new-term, new-year, new-beginning assembly and I’ll have to explain to the children that Mrs Theobold is dead. Or do I say she’s with Jesus? No, I can’t; what about the Muslim children? OK, Mrs Theobold is with Jesus or Mohammed – take your pick, kids.’
‘Calm down,’ Clare said as she realised panic was mounting in every fibre of my being once more. ‘Sit yourself down, pen and paper in front of you, and we’ll help you compose your very first assembly as head. How hard can it be?’

About the Author

Julie Houston author picJulie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number1 bestseller. She is married, with the two teenage children and a made cockerpoo and, like her heroine, livs in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

Follow Julie
Twitter handle: @juliehouston2
Facebook: @JulieHoustonauthor
Website: http://www.juliehouston.co.uk

An Off-Piste Christmas by Julie Houston book review

an-off-piste-christmas

An Off-Piste Christmas written and self-published by Julie Houston is available NOW in ebook format and is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Off-Piste-Christmas-Julie-Houston-ebook/dp/B01MG8O968/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481549355&sr=1-1&keywords=an+off+piste+Christmas

Product Details (as per amazon page)

From the author of #1 Humour Bestsellers GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME, THE ONE SAVING GRACE and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a brand new festive novella to make you laugh and warm your heart…

The last thing Harriet Westmoreland wants is Christmas away from home, particularly when skiing, snow, heights and freezing her backside off are on the menu. While her own family, together with her best friend Grace’s, are soon whizzing down ridiculously high and scary mountains in the fashionable Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Harriet is stuck in the remedial class on the nursery slopes unable, it seems, to remain vertical.

Tired of trying to stay upright in the dunces’ class, Harriet decides to overcome her fear of heights and take her bruised body off to explore the refugios in the magnificent Dolomites above Cortina. And maybe catch a glance of George Clooney, rumoured to be in town… But what happens next triggers a totally unexpected avalanche of events which proves that, for friends Harriet and Grace and all their families, Christmas really is a time for little miracles…

ski-clipart

This is the first book I’ve read written by Julie Houston.  What a wonderful way with words Julie has, such warmth and humour but then all of a sudden a serious issue is thrown in to jolt your emotions!

This Christmas novella rejoins the characters you’ve grown to love from Julie’s previous romcoms.  However, as I hadn’t had the pleasure to read the other stories I treated this book as a standalone.  An Off-Piste Christmas can be read as a standalone as you soon figure out who all the characters are.  I did slightly get a little confused with a certain love triangle, took a little while to get my head around these few characters.  However, due to Julie’s great warmth and humour in the storyline you can’t help but be drawn into the chaos and fun erupting with the friends and family during their Christmas vacation to a ski resort in Italy.

There was laughter and fun at the ski slopes for poor Harriet who hates snow and the cold, she’d much rather be in a warm, cosy café with a comforting drink and her favourite book.  Harriet doesn’t expect to bump into someone from her past at the top of a snowy mountain.  This discovery rocks the emotions for the whole ski party.

A fun filled romance with lots of family fun with a thought provoking twist to take your emotions on another journey.  4.5/5*

To find out more about Julie Houston and her books please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.juliehouston.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JulieHouston2