I always say it doesn’t feel like summer until there’s a new Ali McNamara book to read. Well, it certainly felt like summer when I was reading this, as I was on holiday in the Scottish Highlands and the sun was shining!
Ava has taken on the rental of Bluebird Cottage in the beautifully named village of Bluebell Wood. She has come here for the peace and solitude and clearly something has happened which has changed her as a person. The mystery of what happened in London to make Ava retreat into herself and become so scared and reclusive was really intriguing and I felt that Ali McNamara wrote about this very sensitively. Romance is in the air with the lovely Callum, vicar of the local church, and certainly not what Ava expected a vicar to be like.
Birds are really important in this story and almost everyone in the village seemed to have a bird related name. It was so clever the way the author worked in bird references throughout the book. The gentle encouragement of the villagers, not to mention a few nudges from the birds, help Ava to gradually become more relaxed and even part of the community. I really enjoyed reading about how the birds motivated Ava in so many ways with their little gifts which made her take small steps to living her life more fully again. There was a deeper, hidden link behind many of those gifts too which I won’t reveal of course. It was lovely to see that young Robin, who didn’t always see the world in the same way as everyone else, was the person who made the important connection.
There’s always a hint of some magic at work in Ali McNamara’s books and that’s what makes them such fun to read. Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood is a charming and feel-good romantic book. If you are looking for a bit of escapism, then you should definitely escape to Bluebell Wood.
My thanks to Clara Diaz at Little, Brown for sending me a copy of the book for review.
Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood is published by Sphere and available now
in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.
From the back of the book
Welcome to Bluebell Wood where the sun shines, the locals are kind and there’s something more than a little bit magical about the place.
Ava loves city life but when something happens to make her feel unsafe, she retreats to the calm and quiet of Bluebell Wood. The once high-flying Ava now locks herself away in her fairy-tale cottage, only leaving to explore the trails of the nearby woods or to potter in the garden with her dog, Merlin.
When Ava begins to feed the wild birds that flock to her bird table, they start leaving her trinkets of appreciation in return. The gifts seem innocent at first, but they soon seem to take on a deeper meaning.
It isn’t until Ava meets Callum, the handsome parish priest, that she can’t help but wonder if the birds might have been trying to get her out of the house all along. But will their curious behaviour help to heal Ava, and transform her and Callum into the lovebirds they clearly long to be?
About the Author
Ali McNamara is a writer and author of twelve novels, the latest of which is Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood.
Her debut novel, From Notting Hill with Love…Actually, the first of three ‘Notting Hill’ books, became an instant bestseller.
Ali has had much overseas success with her books – particularly Breakfast at Darcy’s which was a Top Ten bestseller in Italy. Her novels Step Back in Time and Letters from Lighthouse Cottage were nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year.
Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and her beloved dogs. In her spare time she likes antique shopping, people watching, and daydreaming, usually accompanied by a good cup of coffee!
Ali has two chronic illnesses: M.E./CFS and UCTD and is a disability and invisible disability advocate.
To find out more about Ali visit her website: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk or follow her on Twitter: @AliMcNamara, Facebook and Instagram.