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I enjoyed the setting of this book and I liked the main characters Very important in a romance to like the main character I did have an issue with Hetty s boss beau breaking up with her by allowing her to find him in bed with another woman not really a spoiler because it happens so early in the book It seemed unusually cruel and not believable It was probably a device to gain sympathy for Hetty, but, as readers, we don t want to have to suspend disbelief too much I guess my other issue was with Hetty s new love I am way too much of a romance reader to accept that she s going to fall for a guy who she considers majorly unattractive So yes, I am being contrary here My name is Mary I want the story to be close to reality but I want all the characters to be at least mildly attractive, so when we imagine them, we have smiles on our faces I do like Katie Fforde s writing and would definitely give her another go. This book was so promising I loved the idea of a novel about a woman fixing up an old house and her life along with it Then romance happened It was horribly chliched, I felt embarrassed at parts because it was so awful In addition to the strange format of the book, I could not stand to watch as the protagonist s impression of the antagonist changed It was unbearable I knew what would happen, it did, and I nearly threw the book across the room because I could not shake the unfavourable impression of the antagonist when he began to shift I would not recommend this book. Didn t think it was amazing , but I really liked it a lot Probably the best Fforde book so far and I ve read most all of them Still the story was the same old, same old,I have have house I need to fix itThere s a big, gruff, hot, angry manWe fight a lot.Guess it s love.hahaha A great weekend read So much fun and totally romantic Makes you want to start a new life project and learn something unfamiliar. It s been a while since I was able to treat myself to one of Katie Fforde s huge back catalogue of books, and I m glad the opportunity finally presented itself However I can t help but think I would have enjoyed it even had I read it when it was first printed, instead, of many years laters, after having read her later books which do get better and better by the book Unfortunately some of the slight problems I had with this book, were nothing to do with the content itself, but that I had won a paperback of it in a competition, and its only as I started reading, I discovered it had that old second hand book smell to it, which unfortunately I don t find that pleasant, so I found I was struggling to read the book for comprehensive periods of time despite enjoy the story I would describe this as a warm hearted book, and that if you love your stately home renovations and tours then this will be ideal for you Hetty and Connor are at loggerheads from the start, but they do say there is a fine line between love and hate, and with both of them incapable of expressing how they may feel, I found it really frustrating to read and not want to knock some sense into them I just didn t really take to Hetty, she seems to remind me of myself in some respects and that is quite uncomfortable to read She is a character who seems unable to take control of her own life, allowing others to dictate her job, her love life, her role in life generally The writing feels like it is the early basis of how Katie Fforde is as a writer today, in that is very descriptive draws you into the story and is fairly easy to read The story flows well, and you are introduced to some lovely characters. This was fun It was what I wanted out of the book Old fashioned chick lit Fun side characters, good community stuff, and a nice romance.Also fulfills Forced Proximity for It was better than average romantic fiction because Katie Fforde creates a very likable main character in Hetty, and the setting is nicely realized As others have written, the plot is predictable, and all the loose bits are happily tied up at the end My guess is that Fforde has been heavily influenced by Jane Austen the novel recalls the misunderstandings and misperceptions, the character types of a Jane Austen novel the smart, independent young woman, the haughty but appealing man, the bevy of exceedingly involved village acquaintances It s an enjoyable summer light read. I have read this book quite a few times, but I feel a bit like it should be adult for its market I love the tension between Hetty and Conan the barbarian and it kept me glued and made the book impossible to put down I also loved the fight to keep the house in order However a lot of talk about virginity and safe sex made me feel like I was back doing sex ed at school, and made the racier Scenes a bit unrealistic. Sometimes, I open one book after another, old favorites or new novels, and nothing works Yesterday was one of those days I couldn t get into one book a good mystery and closed it after a few chapters Started another a new fantasy I ve been waiting for and couldn t read past chapter three I ll return to them both but I wanted something light and fluffy, charming and mindless, and I found it all in this book I finished it in one sitting, read it all night and enjoyed it I smiled almost the entire time A very therapeutic book.After the protagonist Hetty finds her jerk boyfriend and boss in bed with another woman, she is heartbroken and unemployed With nothing better to do but sigh despondently and wallow in self pity, she accepts her mom s suggestion to house sit an old house belonging to her distant, many times removed octogenarian uncle, while he is in the hospital, having surgery The house is about 600 years or and in bad repair but charming It seems to be the pride of the locals, the focal point of the village, but the uncle s heir, Conan the Barbarian, wants to demolish the house and sell the land for an amusement park as soon as the old uncle is dead Hetty sides firmly with the villagers and their campaign to save the house, She hates the Barbarian in absentia, theoretically Well, the heir s name isn t really Conan the Barbarian, it s just the local community s nickname for him His name is Connor Barrabin, but Hetty doesn t meet him until page 70 Before that point, the book is slow and mostly filled with a narrative summary A bit boring, but I kept reading, hoping for something to happen, and it did as soon as Connor appeared on the scene The story is told from Hetty s POV, but Connor is the best character, colorful and contradictory and very male He is not perfect but he is a solid and respectable presence on every page, even though his communication skills leave much to be desired by Hetty Like most manly guys, really For the readers though, Connor is the source of constant humorous misunderstandings and some of Hetty s scatterbrained but delightful escapades.She seems flakier, sometimes even silly, although she is the one who changes the most in this book It s her story after all.The writing flows artlessly, with a little humor and a little sex, very tasty, nothing hot or sizzling A romantic story at its best, forgettable but fun. `Read ⇗ Stately Pursuits ↲ I Don T Suppose You D Care To House Sit For A While Hetty Longden S Mother Thinks That Looking After Great Uncle Samuel S Crumbling Stately Home Will Be Just The Thing For Hetty S Broken Heart Hetty Doesn T Mind At Least She Can Be Miserable In Private But Private Is A Relative Term In A Village Which Revolves Around The Big House Particularly When You Are Expected To Thwart Great Uncle Samuel S Awful Heir, And His Nefarious Plans For His InheritancePitchforked Into The Community S Fight To Save The Manor, Hetty Has No Time To Wallow And Once She Has Shared Her Troubles With One Neighbour Caroline A Very Understanding Shoulder, Despite Her Glamorous Appearance And Impossibly Long Legs , And Cast An Appreciative Eye Over Another Peter Equally Long Legged, But Offering Rather Practical Help , She Wonders If Her Heart Is Irretrievably Broken After All