8 November 2015

Book Review: The Great Village Show by Alexandra Brown

"Tindledale is in a titter. The Village Show competition is coming around again and after last year’s spectacular failure, the villagers are determined to win. Meg, teacher at the local school, is keen to help and to impose some much-needed order.

After a terse encounter with a newcomer to the village, Meg discovers that it is celebrity chef and culinary bad boy, Dan Wright. Meg thinks he is arrogant and rude but rumour has it that Dan is opening a new restaurant in the village which could really put Tindledale on the map!

As things come together, villagers old and new all start to come out of the woodwork, including new arrival Jessie, who seems to have it all. But first impressions can be deceptive and Meg discovers that when it comes to Tindledale – and Dan – nothing is ever quite as it seems…"

Rating: 4/5

Available to buy now.

This book is the second in Alexandra Brown's 'Tindledale' series. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, which was a festive offering called The Great Christmas Knit Off', so my expectations for this summery offering were very high! Luckily, Alexandra didn't let me down and this was a very enjoyable read as well, and it was nice to catch up with the characters that I loved from the first Tindledale novel.

This time, we are following Meg, a primary school teacher who lives in Tindledale, and very much loves her village. Her son has moved away to University, and Meg decides to dedicate her time to saving the local school, which the council are threatening to close due to its low intake numbers. So when Tindledale is offered the chance to take part in The Village Show competition, Meg decides they must enter and put Tindledale back on the map. When celebrity chef Dan Wright makes an appearance, Meg is wary of him and is sure he is there to ruin their cosy village. As the competition approaches, Meg is forced to let Dan help them in the competition, but is there more to him than meets the eye?!

If you have Alexandra's first Tindledale book, you'll certainly want to read the next installment and catch up with residents once again. However, this would work equally as well as a stand alone read - there's a few mentions of what happened in the previous book, but since it isn't a follow on story as such, knowing the previous story isn't a necessity. I enjoyed meeting Meg and following her throughout the book. She's kind-hearted, and very keen on keeping the village spirit up, ensuring that all the residents are part of the competition, and also saving her beloved school. Not only are her memories tied up there, but she knows how important it is for the local community to keep the school and not have the children shipped out on a bus every day!

Meg is very much at the centre of the competition, helping to organise the various ideas and stalls, and as she has to forge some kind of working relationship with celeb chef Dan, it throws up some unforeseen emotions for her! I enjoyed the slow development of the pair's friendship, especially as I couldn't stand Dan throughout most of the book, I definitely agreed with Meg's low opinion of him! But as the story goes on, more is revealed about him and of course everything becomes clear.

There is another story, far more serious, running alongside the main one, involving new Tindledale resident Jessie and her young triplets. There was a very serious side to this story, and Alexandra handles it really well, making you feel a lot of emotion about Jessie's tale, and hoping that she would find the happy ending she and her children deserved. It did make me quite emotional, but it was an important storyline to highlight, and worked well in the book, a bit of seriousness alongside the light-hearted story. I also enjoyed reading how Jessie slowly became part of the Tindledale community, showing how welcoming the residents, in particular Meg were. The competition was also a very fun part of the book, reading all of the residents preparing for it in every way possible, and how seriously some of them were taking it, it certainly put a smile on my face!

This was a really enjoyable book, and it was nice to be back in Tindledale, albeit in the middle of summer this time! The idea of entering a village show competition was a new one to me, and I really enjoyed reading about the preparations, the show itself and the villagers throwing themselves wholeheartedly into it all, especially Meg who was certainly a driving force for the whole thing! Throw in a bit of mystery to do with the new local celebrity Dan, a new resident hiding a secret and a village show and you've got a great recipe for a brilliant story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the next Tindledale story!

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