Title: Find Me At Willoughby Close
Author: Kate Hewitt
Series: Willoughby Close #3
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Available: 14th March
Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…
Harriet Lang had the perfect life, so she’s left reeling when everything is taken from her in one fell swoop. Suddenly, Harriet learns her beautiful farmhouse in the Cotswolds is double-mortgaged, her husband Richard’s been unceremoniously fired—and he’s become a little too close to his young, sexy assistant.
Harriet moves into Willoughby Close with her three children, trying to hold her head up high. With the help of her neighbor and newfound friend Ellie Matthews, Harriet starts to rebuild her life–but dipping a toe in the dating pool feels strange and meanwhile her children are struggling in different ways. She wonders if starting over is really possible…
Then Willoughby Close begins to weave its healing magic on both her and her children, and Harriet begins to see a way forward. She even starts to date sexy local vet Tom Roberts–but when Richard reappears in her life, wanting to make amends, Harriet must make the painful decision about how much of the past can be forgiven—and what kind of future she is fighting for.
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
This book is all about Harriet. Even though the events are happening to her whole family, Harriet remains the main focus. Which is understandable, because she is hit hard – especially at the start – and she has a lot of adjustments to make. This whole book is a growth exercise for her, really, starting with a lot of pruning before she can finally try to grow again in a different – and hopefully better – direction.
Which is fine, because I do have a lot of sympathy for her, but my goodness, sometimes it is hard to like her. She might appear upbeat to people, but inside she’s so negative a lot of the time. Her thoughts of the children, even her memories, are usually something awful or annoying or just petty and not very nice. She remembers good things about Richard, but with the children it’s always a grind. Children are difficult and exhausting and doing it alone is a mammoth task, but there were times when I wanted to shake Harriet and demand she find something, anything, good about her life and her children, because surely there must good parts sometimes.
I felt rather bad for her children, mostly because this book is so focused on Harriet that they don’t have much personality. Particularly William. I wanted to get to know William. He’s just a bundle of energy running around in the background. I don’t think Harriet has a conversation with him once. Little Chloe has a few moments, as does surly Mallory, but William gets nothing. He doesn’t seem to mind, but that’s because we don’t ever get to know him.
As for Richard… I definitely wanted to shake him several times, but at the same time I could sort of see how the dissolution of their marriage happened. It’s not easy and it’s not nice, but it is more than one event that led to it all. The betrayal of trust is a big thing, and I’m glad that Harriet didn’t simply get over it, but at the same time, she does bury her head in the sand at times and I was occasionally frustrated at her lack of practicality.
But then again, she has a lot to learn in this book, and it is a definite struggle for her. Personally, I found the blurb a little misleading, because the sexy vet is barely a footnote, and it’s clear from the start that this book is a personal journey rather than a romantic one. Even Harriet’s friendship with next door neighbour Ellie isn’t that important. Instead it’s more of an age-old quest for happiness and an exploration of whether or not money is truly the key.
So it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it’s still a good read. Harriet isn’t always likeable, but she is believable and real. Her life is far from perfect and she has a lot of adjustments to make, but her story was an interesting one. If you like your books about real life, with women figuring out how best to muddle through and hopefully find a way to happiness, then you will probably enjoy this. If you’re looking more for a fluffy, romantic escape, this isn’t it. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of charm to be found in Willoughby Close and I look forward to finding out more about the mysterious new resident in the next book.
Find Me at Willoughby Close is out March 14th.
Visit Kate Hewitt for more details.