Well, today is all about celebrating the wonderful books by Jessica Redland which are set in Whitsborough Bay. Settle yourself down for a long read as I have a review of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms, an extract from Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove and a review of Coming Home to Seashell Cottage. These books have been published before under different titles which I have noted under the book covers. All the Whitsborough Bay books are published by Boldwood Books. Thanks to Megan at Boldwood for the opportunity to take part in the tour.
Sarah has just come out of a disappointing relationship and heads home to the Whitsborough Bay on the Yorkshire coast for a bit of TLC from her family. While there, she is offered an amazing opportunity by her auntie, an opportunity which involves setting up a business which would turn her hobby into her work. She decides to go for it and sets about making a new life for herself back home. While moving into her new place, she discovers a tape recording from 12 years previously. The tape is a recording of a psychic reading she had when she was 18. The tape had vanished so she had never listened to it and being rather drunk during the reading, she couldn’t remember the predictions. The predictions and messages on the tape recording are scarily accurate with some already have been fulfilled and others being proved right throughout the book. Most importantly, the clairvoyant says that Sarah will meet her one true love at the age of 30 and that he will be called Steven. And so the search for Steven begins!
I don’t really think I believe in fortune tellers and psychics but I could understand if I had come across a tape like the one Sarah found with its accurate predictions, I would be out looking for a Steven too! As you can imagine, Stevens (and Steves and Stevies) suddenly appear all the time in her life and each time she wonders if he could be her Steven. It seemed to me though, and to others, that the perfect man for Sarah was right under her nose even if he wasn’t called Steven.
The book is full of well drawn characters with Sarah’s best friends, Clare from London and Elise from Whitsborough Bay, who can’t stand each other, providing some great scenes. Her mum and dad were always so proud of her achievements, her matchmaking Auntie Kay with her own secret about love from the past was determined to help Sarah find her Charlie. And no I haven’t made a mistake with the name, you’ll understand if you read it.
New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms is a warm, sparkling story with a very satisfying ending. Sarah comes to realise that “when true love comes along, you have to hang onto it with all your strength because it’s worth it.”
From the back of the book
What if you already know your future… but not the path to take you there?
When Sarah Peterson accepts her Auntie Kay’s unexpected offer to take over her florist’s shop, she’s prepared for a change of job, home and lifestyle. What she isn’t prepared for is the discovery of a scarily accurate clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All her predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven.
As she prepares for the biggest move of her life, Sarah can’t help but wonder if Seaside Blooms could be a new beginning for love too?
Buying link: New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms
‘Li! Are you ready yet?’ Gary shouted up the stairs. ‘I thought we were meeting them at seven.’
I glanced towards the digital alarm clock: 18:28. Still twelve minutes till we needed to leave. I took a deep, calming breath then called, ‘Just a few more minutes. We won’t be late. I promise.’
Squirting another mist of hairspray on my loose auburn curls, I blew a few flecks of make-up off my new teal dress, then pulled on a pair of black strappy, sparkly shoes. Grabbing a black pashmina and clutch bag off the bed, I took a quick glance in the full-length mirror on the wall. Not bad. Perhaps a little over-dressed for a meal at The Bombay Palace with my sister and her fiancé, but surely Gary would be impressed with the effort, especially as the dress was his favourite colour on me. Maybe he’d even pay me a compliment. I shook my head at my reflection. I wouldn’t get my hopes up on that one. I’d be lucky if he managed the ultimate cop-out non-compliment of, ‘You look nice.’
I paused at the top of the stairs and gazed down at my husband tapping something into his phone, a deep frown creasing his brow. Even in a mood, he was still irresistible with his dark hair, dark eyes and tall, athletic build.
‘I’m ready,’ I called, preparing myself to do a little twirl so he could appreciate the tightness of the bodice clinging to all the right places – a daring move for someone who normally wore long skirts and maxi-dresses – but he barely managed a cursory glance as he pocketed his phone.
‘About time too,’ he said. ‘I’ll get the car started. Can you lock up?’ Without waiting for an answer, he went outside.
I reached for the banister and clung onto it as I took a few deep, shaky breaths and willed myself not to cry. It was fine. Timekeeping stressed him out and, even though we weren’t actually late, he was understandably tired and irritable. He’d been working long hours with the surgery expansion recently and seemed to be permanently on edge. He’d likely skipped lunch again so was bound to relax when we ate.
‘Would you like me to drive back tonight so you can have a drink?’ I asked as Gary backed his Lexus off the drive. I reached across to give his thigh a gentle stroke but withdrew my hand when I felt him tense under my touch.
‘I’m fine, thanks. We’ll stick to the rule.’
‘Okay.’ Gary’s ‘rule’ was that if it’s your family or your friends, you drink and the other drives. I rarely drink so was happy to be the designated driver most of the time, but Gary refused to deviate.
I stared out of the window as he drove along Abbey Drive then guided the car out of the small new-build housing estate where we’d lived for the past six years. Glancing across at his tight jaw as we joined the main road into Whitsborough Bay, he certainly looked like a man who could do with a relaxing drink. Perhaps I’d have one more try at breaking the rule.
‘Are you sure? You know I’m never bothered about drinking when we’re eating.’
We stopped at the traffic lights, but Gary still didn’t look at me. His hands tightly gripped the steering wheel. ‘I’ve already said I’m fine. She’s your sister so I’m the driver. Can we just drop it, Li? Please?’
‘Okay. Sorry.’ I turned to look out of the window again, blinking back tears. He’d come round when he saw Jess and Lee. He loved their company, even if he didn’t seem to love mine at the moment.
From the back of the book
When it feels like everything is against you, sometimes you just need a little bit of hope…
Married to her childhood sweetheart for over twelve years, Elise feels like starting a family is the next natural step. However her husband, Gary, has other ideas…
Suddenly single, Elise is completely heartbroken and struggling to start over on her own. But when she’s enlisted to be bridesmaid to her best friend, Sarah, she has to put on a brave face, put her own feelings aside and find a way to get over Gary. Fast.
So when she meets handsome, recently-divorced, Daniel, she thinks he could be just what she needs. But why can’t she shake the feeling that he must be too good to be true?
Will she ever be able to take that leap and trust again?
Buying link: Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cover
This book focuses on Clare, a career woman who very reluctantly has to return to Ireland, her homeland, for work. She left under something of a cloud some years previously and has had no contact with most of her family ever since. Returning brings back all kinds of painful memories and leads her to try to find out a bit about what happened after she left.
Gosh, this is a hard book to review without giving away anything. Part of the appeal of this book is discovering the surprises along with Clare. And my goodness what a lot of surprises she had in the course of the story. I’m not sure how I would have reacted in her position. What I really liked about her was the way she reacted to everything that happened and rose to the challenge of coping with whatever life threw at her. She had plenty support from her friend Sarah’s brother Ben. Sarah and her other good friend Elise both had their own issues to deal with. It was lovely to catch up with some of these characters from the first book and find out what had happened to them in the intervening time. A whole host of new characters from Clare’s past are introduced to the story too, some truly unlikable and others who really valued Clare’s support.
Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is an enjoyable, warm-hearted book which was just what I was needing. Like the other books in the series, this visit to Whitsborough Bay focuses firmly on friendship and love and is both engaging and uplifting.
From the back of the book
For Clare O’Connell, home is where the heart aches…
Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:
1. Don’t talk about Ireland
2. Don’t think about Ireland
3. Don’t go to Ireland
4. Don’t let anyone in
And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future is all that counts, isn’t it?
However Clare is about to realise that you can run from the past, but you can’t always hide from it…
When her boss insists she travels to Ireland for work, Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty – the home of her family, and the home of her secrets. The one place where vowed never to return to again…
With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Will Clare stick to rule number four?
Can she be brave and face up to her family and the demons of her past?
Buying link: Coming Home to Seashell Cottage
About the author
Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels including The Secret to Happiness,which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.
Jessica’s Twitter @JessicaRedland
Jessica’s own website – https://www.jessicaredland.com/
Jessica’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/
Jessica’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/
Link for Jessica’s Newsletter – http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter