Title: Kiss Me At Willoughby Close
Author: Kate Hewitt
Series: Willoughby Close #4
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance
Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…
After her husband unexpectedly dies, Ava moves to Willoughby Close, trying to keep her chin up and herself to herself as she’s always done—not answering questions, not making friends, and not seeing much of a future. Her marriage was far from perfect, but it offered her a much-needed security that has now been ripped away. She’s not sure what to do now that she’s thirty-five, widowed, penniless… and unexpectedly pregnant with her late husband’s child.
Jace Tucker is the over-the-top sexy caretaker of Willoughby Manor, and he can see beneath Ava’s glamor girl act to the hurt she’s been hiding for so long. She has secrets for a reason—and so does he. The last thing she needs right now is a fling with a man who hides a past as regrettable as her own.
But with a baby to think about, and neighbors determined to be her friends, Ava finds herself starting to change and even more alarmingly, beginning to hope. Can Willoughby Close work its everyday magic on a woman like her? And when the past comes calling for both her and Jace, will they have to answer for their previous mistakes?
Source: Review copy from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
Although my reaction to this series has sometimes been a little lukewarm, I couldn’t pass up the chance to find out more about the mysterious caretaker, Jace. Which is a good thing, because this book is definitely my favourite of the series so far, even if it did leave several loose ends hanging to be hopefully tied up in the final book.
Ava made a brief appearance in the last book (Find Me At Willoughby Close) as the glamorous, but slightly stand-offish new neighbour at the Close. Now we find out why exactly she wasn’t so keen to meet the neighbours – and I don’t blame her. Her situation at the start is such a slap in the face that I was instantly on her side, even if she does come across as prickly and a bit abrasive at first.
Because Ava is a survivor. She’s been through some rough patches in life and weathered them in whatever way she could. Constantly judged on her looks alone, she’s created a front against the world, which means she’s not easy to get to know. But as the book progresses and she forms proper friendships for the first time, the real Ava is finally allowed to emerge and reveals herself to be a pretty decent, caring woman who was easy to like.
Her relationships with Jace and Dorothy brought out the best in her. Both are similar to Ava in different ways and neither allow her to get away with any masks. I loved how Ava came to care for Dorothy and the strange friendship they formed.
However, it’s her relationship with Jace that forms the core of the book. Sometimes flirty, sometimes just friends, but always with a bubbling of more going on beneath the surface. It was great to finally learn Jace’s story and see what made him tick. I also loved how he saw Ava and how supportive he was of pretty much everything she tried to do. For a shadowy figure touched with arrogance over his good looks, Jace turned out to be pretty wonderful.
In all, I really enjoyed this one. Ava has a lot of growing to do, but thanks to her new friends and Jace, her journey is a positive one. I did, however, feel like the ending was a little rushed. There is so much that needs to be tied up in the last chapter that it, unsurprisingly, doesn’t all get done. Despite how far both Ava and Jace have come, some things are left in a fairly precarious state at the end, creating a definite sense of HFN rather than HEA. However, with one more book to go, it looks like we’ll be getting all the answers soon. I can’t wait to read Henry’s story.
Kiss Me At Willoughby Close is Out Now.
Visit Kate Hewitt for more details.