Meet Me at Number Five won ChocLit’s Search for a Star 2016 and I can quite understand why – it’s brilliant! Grace Carrisbrook is just about to undergo IVF treatment when she is devastated to discover that her racehorse trainer husband, Charlie, has been having an affair with one of the stable girls. Stunned, she flees what is her childhood home to live with her grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie. Hennie is a single mum to two young children which is quite difficult for Grace, having just had her own dreams of motherhood shattered. Determined to stand on her own two feet and make a fresh start, Grace gets a job at the nearby restaurant Number Five under the watchful eye of sexy owner and head chef Sam.
When I was younger I used to be obsessed with horses. There was as much chance of me having one in our small garden in a terraced house in the city as there was of me going to Malory Towers but I could dream! I read loads of books with horses in them: Jill Enjoys Her Ponies, Jinny at Finmory and many books by the Pullein-Thompson sisters. So I really enjoyed the aspect of this story which was based in the stables at Farrier’s Rest and in the racing world. Like Grace, I was concerned for the welfare of the horses when she left but was pleased that new farrier, gorgeous Guy from Texas, seemed to be on her side and keeping a watchful eye on the horses.
It was obvious from the start that Grace and Sam were attracted to each other but with her being newly separated and him aiming for a Michelin star would their romance even get off the ground? The way the author has written about the pair, the electricity between them almost crackled off the page. I really wanted Grace to find the happiness she deserved but it seemed that the timing was always wrong for her and Sam. Hennie, her cousin, was also finding herself rather attracted to Guy but she had sworn to renounce men. If only her heart knew that too!
The girls’ grandmother Clara was a terrific character. She was rather well-to–do and refined with friends in high places. She was a strong-willed no-nonsense woman who wasn’t afraid to say exactly what she thought. This led to some rather funny exchanges with her grand-daughters as she didn’t quite conform to the image of a little old lady! She was determined to see that both her beloved grand-daughters were happy and settled she wanted to see this happen as soon as possible. She was definitely of the opinion that when you have the chance of happiness, you take the opportunity and grab it with both hands. From the glimpses we see of Clara’s life, I think she has led a very interesting life and it would be great to learn more about the younger Clara maybe in another book.
There is so much going on in this book and I felt really engrossed in the characters’ lives as they went through all kinds of trials and tribulations. I admired Grace’s feistiness as she began to stick up for herself, I was furious with Charlie who was the real villain of the piece, I was willing all the various romances to work out and I may have drooled a little over both Sam and Guy!
Meet Me at Number Five has the perfect mix of ingredients I look for in a book – it is romantic, funny, sexy and emotional, with strong female characters and has not one but two handsome heroes. It made me laugh and it definitely gave me a lump in the throat at times. I found it completely captivating and was gripped throughout the whole story. I highly recommend it and will definitely be watching out for future books by this author.
From the back of the book
What if finding happiness was a race against time?
Grace Cavendish knows a thing or two about horses – but what she doesn’t know is that her husband, top horse racing trainer Charlie Carrisbrook, is having a literal ‘roll in the hay’ right under her nose.
When the painful truth is revealed Grace has no choice but to move in with her highly-strung grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie; a single mum who has renounced men (at least that’s what she says!)
Determined to start again, Grace takes a job at the local cafe, Number Five. And whilst serving up coffee and cake is a far cry from the stables, she enjoys it – especially as she gets to work alongside the rather scrumptious Sam Whittaker.
But the past is racing to catch up with Grace. Can her life still be a romp to victory or will a devastating secret stop her dead in her tracks?