28 April 2014

Book Review: The Perfect Match by Katie Fforde

"Three years ago Bella Castle left her home town nursing a broken heart over Dominic Thane, the man she fell in love with but couldn't have.

Now she's made a new life for herself in the country, working as an estate agent.

Bella loves her job and she loves her boyfriend Nevil. But recently he's been preoccupied, and she's starting to question if his future hopes and dreams are a perfect match for hers.

And when Dominic turns up unexpectedly in search of his dream house, she begins to wonder if home is really where the heart is. But she's over him, isn't she?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Perfect Match as a hardback or an eBook now.

I haven't read one of Katie Fforde's books for a few years now. I don't know why, as I have enjoyed the ones that I have read in the past. Therefore, I was really pleased to receive a review copy of her new book The Perfect Match, complete with a lovely new cover look for Katie too. I'll be honest and say that I had read mixed reviews of this book, but I went into it with an open mind, as I always try to do when I review books. Katie's books are always a nice, pleasant read, with no cursing, which does make a nice change I have to say! Luckily for me, Katie didn't disappoint with this book, and I was left with a happy smile on my face as I closed the cover for the last time.

Bella Castle works as an estate agent with boyfriend Nevil, and she's pretty good at her job. She knows what sells a house, and which of her properties will suit which of her clients - and she's more than happy to make a few necessary alterations if it means finding someone their dream home too. But Bella's happiness is frozen when a face from her past makes himself seen in her town. Dominic Thane, the one that got away, is still under Bella's skin, and makes her begin to question her relationship with Nevil, and everything about her life too. Not to mention she's worried for her Godmother Alice, who seems to be entering the world of dating once again. Will Bella be able to make it work with Nevil, or is there another perfect match out there for her?

Amazingly, this is Katie Fforde's 20th novel, and what an amazing milestone that is to reach. This story is definitely a brilliant one to mark such a milestone as well. While the book is mainly about the character of Bella, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the story featuring Alice, Bella's Godmother as well. It was fun to read about two different generations in the same book, going through very different experiences in their lives, but relying on each other for support as well. It ensures that this book has a broad appeal, both with Katie's younger reader, but her older ones too. The fact that Alice is free and single made for a nice change from the happily married older lady I tend to encounter in novels, and I loved that she was getting out there and meeting someone, determined to find some fun in her life once more! Alice was fantastic, and I really was hoping that she'd have a happy ending, she certainly deserved it for the hoops her love interests children were making her jump through!

Bella was a brilliant character, someone I really enjoyed reading about, although I did want to give her a bit of a shake to wake her up to what a pig her boyfriend Nevil is! No-one should have to put up with being spoken to how Bella was by Nevil, he was truly horrid to her and it was a shame she seemed to take it all to heart when he was so rude and nasty to her. I wanted her to get the courage to tell him to sod off, and go and find the lovely Dominic, who seemed the complete antithesis of evil Nevil! The history between Bella and Dom is a bit vague at first, and when it was revealed I was slightly disappointed - I was hoping for something a bit juicier than the truth that was revealed, but maybe that's just me!

The book was really easy to read, and I found myself looking forward to settling down with it in the evening once I had a few hours to sit and read. It was a great story to get lost in - not too many characters, and a relatively uncomplicated plot that I could follow with ease, but most importantly, characters and a story that I really cared about and was able to invest in. Fforde's writing was as brilliant as ever, evoking emotion in her readers where necessary, but at the same time painting a picture clearly in your mind of the story, the houses that Bella goes to visit and even the clients she meets along the way! I loved too that Bella wasn't your typical pushy estate agent - she seemed more intent on finding the perfect home for buyers, and the perfect tenants for sellers - a wonderful trait for her to have, even if Nevil doesn't necessarily agree!

For me, The Perfect Match was a lovely read. I really did enjoy reading both Bella and Alice's stories, and the two together worked really well, showing that love can happen at any age, and at the most unexpected of times as well. One thing I would mention is that perhaps I would have liked more scenes with Dominic and Bella, as strangely there weren't that many throughout the book, but still I did hope the couple could have the happy ending they deserved. Fforde weaves a wonderful story that makes you smile as you're reading - it's an old fashioned love story at it's best, uplifting and beautifully written right until the final page. Definitely one to devour.

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