18 March 2013

Book Review: The Perfect Retreat by Kate Forster

"Can you live on love alone?

Willow Carruthers – British Oscar winner, style icon and mother of three is facing a crisis: she’s broke, discovery of her partner’s infidelity has left her a single mother and, if the banks have their way, she’s about to be homeless.

Meanwhile nanny to Wilow’s children Kitty, is desperate to keep her job and knows just the place they can retreat too – her crumbling ancestral home in the Bristol countryside, Middlemist House.

To both women in their hour of need, the idea of leaving LA seems brilliant in theory, until Kitty’s brother Merritt returns home unannounced.

From London to L.A, The Perfect Retreat is pure escapism - full of sex, scandal and intrigue."

Rating: 5/5

I really loved Kate Forster's debut novel which was released last year called The Perfect Location which was a fantastic escapist novel. I was therefore really thrilled to receive a review copy of her brand new book, The Perfect Retreat. I was wondering if there would be a link to the previous book written by Forster since the titles were very similar, but they weren't, they are complete separate and I was quite pleased, I do like a fresh new story! I also really liked the cover of this one, it's bright and quite English looking, and fits in well with the theme of the book too.

The book centres around celebrity actress Willow Carruthers and her failed marriage. She's stuck living in London with her three children, and her nanny Kitty too. When Willow finds herself in a huge financial mess, she quickly has to leave their expensive London home, but Kitty quickly comes to the rescue with her old family home Middlemist House. However, when they get there, Kitty's elder brother Merritt suddenly reappears after years, shocked to find an A-List actress and his sister living in the house. Willow finds she quite enjoys getting herself back in the spotlight and living in the British countryside, and Kitty enjoys being back home with her brother too - what other life changes will Willow, Kitty and Merritt be making at the retreat that is Middlemist house?!

I have to say I loved this book right from the beginning, and I enjoyed reading about Willow and Kitty! I was worried that I would hate Willow because of her celebrity status but Forster writes her so well that you can't help but warm to her and really sympathise for her circumstances. Her husband is an awful character, you hate him quite easily which I think worked well in Willow's favour! I didn't really like her as a mother to her 3 children, but I guess she couldn't be perfect, she is certainly a flawed individual. Kitty was lovely from the off, perfect with the children and just the right person to balance out Willow's starry lifestyle.

I enjoyed the introduction of Merritt as well, and it allowed for the development of the storyline at Middlemist house. Forster does such an amazing job of describing it that you can easily visualise the house as Kitty walks around, from the dusty old rooms to the decrepit old gardens, and then it's renovations as things progress there. Forster really loses herself in the descriptive writing and I enjoyed reading it so much, it sounds perfect. There are scenes set in London too which were fun to read, but I far preferred those set in the countryside and Middlemist house! Merritt is so likeable too, he's the perfect main male character for the book, and he's a fantastic man for his sister and for his new tenants too.

I absolutely loved this book, and couldn't put it down once I had started reading! I was able to easily lose myself in the world of Willow and Kitty, and it just got better as it went on. I really loved the things with Kitty towards the end, they were so well handled and highlighted some important issues too, and they were sensitively handled. With this, I really enjoyed not only the tales of the main characters, but also the more minor ones too, Harold in particular stands out, and Forster writes Willow's children so well too, I fell in love with each of them, they were so sweet! I really did love this book, and cannot wait for Kate Forster's next offering, she is fast becoming one of my must-read authors!

You can buy The Perfect Retreat as an eBook or a paperback now!

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