22 December 2016

Book Review: Return to the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

"Blue skies, new love, and a glass of Bordeaux . . . what could possibly go wrong? 

When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager. 

Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.

Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria. 

Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams? "

Rating: 4/5

One book I thoroughly enjoyed reading earlier this year was Helen Pollard's book The Little French Guesthouse. So when I saw on Twitter that Helen was bringing out a sequel to that book due to the popularity of the first book, I was thrilled, and very much looked forward to reading it. I hoped that it would be a welcome return to characters that I had thoroughly enjoyed reading about previously, and luckily Helen Pollard didn't let me down. Emmy is still living in the guesthouse, La Cour des Roses, but this time is helping out Rupert with the management. She's seeing her French boyfriend Alain, and everything seems to be going really well. But when Rupert's ex-wife Gloria suddenly reappears, an important booking is forgotten, and some hidden truths are found out, Emmy has to wonder if her future does lie in the French guesthouse after all.

If you haven't read the first novel, my suggestion would be to read that before you dive into this one, simply because it really is a follow-on and things will make much more sense if you reading it one after the other. It would be okay as a standalone book, but would work better if you read them in the right order. Emmy ended up at the guesthouse when she found her ex-boyfriend in bed with Rupert's wife Gloria, and this book carries on a short while after the end of the first book, ready to find out what life in rural France is going to be like.

Of course, it isn't plain sailing for Emmy, because that would make for a bit of a boring read wouldn't it! The sparks begin to fly when the awful ex-wife Gloria reappears on the scene, and causes a bit of strife for everyone, especially poor old Rupert, who was seemingly getting on okay without her around. I disliked her immensely, and her actions in this book did nothing whatsoever to turn my feelings around! I loved that there was a character you could vehemently dislike though, she made it interesting to read, and I almost didn't want to read on and find out what havoc she was going to cause!

Emmy and Rupert's relationship was fun to read, as it was before. The pair have a real banter between them, and as things start to go wrong at the guesthouse, we see the strength of their friendship and how well they work together. The disaster of not realising a huge booking is due wasn't either of their faults, but they work so hard to try and pull everything together for the visiting family. I loved reading about the build-up to this, and how they finally managed to pull everything off, which concluded with some very moving scenes indeed! Alain and Emmy's relationship is also explored more in this book, and I did hope that the pair would end together, they seemed so well suited!

There was also a very touching storyline inside this book, involving an old friend of Rupert's that Emmy befriends and has to help out. This was very moving, and well written by Pollard, showing us that we all need to be around for each other, especially in a time of need, and that not everyone has a special someone looking out for them when they most need it. It was a fantastic addition to the book, and added a little bit more of a serious element overall. For me, this was a fantastic second visit to La Cour Des Roses in France, and it was great to meet up with Emmy and Rupert again to see how the business was faring! Helen Pollard has seemlessly slipped back into her narrative of these characters and the beautiful setting - just what you need on these chilly winter evenings! I'd definitely recommend this, and the first book in the La Cour Des Roses series!

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