Thursday, 28 April 2016

Review of The Chic Boutique on Baker Street by Rachel Dove

The bit on the back…

The perfect escape to the country…

Recently single and tired of the London rat race Amanda is determined to make her dreams of setting up an idyllic countryside boutique come true, and the picturesque village of Westfield is the perfect place to make a fresh start.

Local vet Ben is the golden boy of West¬field, especially to resident gossip Agatha Mayweather, who is determined to help Ben get his life back together after his wife left.

When a chance encounter outside the ‘chic boutique’ sets sparks flying between Amanda and Ben, Agatha is itching to set them up. But are Amanda and Ben really ready for romance?

Firstly thank you to Harlequin for the review title of this book and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour today. This is Rachel Dove’s debut novel and is all about Amanda and Ben.

Amanda is starting over in Ben’s home village of Westfield, after a traumatic exit from the big city life. The story follows Amanda as she settles in to her new life, which is the complete opposite of the life she has been trying to live in London. She has gone from one extreme to the other and this forms the main theme for the story. I felt a connection with Amanda instantly and was on her side from the very beginning.

The story of Ben and Amanda is at times frustrating. Both Amanda and Ben have been scorned in their previous lives and that makes them both reluctant to see what’s right in front of them. Even when you think they might be getting somewhere something sets their relationship back. There is a slow and steady build-up of romance throughout the book, and although the take a while to get there themselves, the chemistry between the characters is evident in abundance.

The village is full of very real characters. If you’ve ever lived in a village in your life you will definitely be able to identify with some of these characters, and if you haven’t then Rachel will paint you a very real image of village life for you. The village ladies play a big part in the story from supporting Amanda to trying to play Cupid for her and Ben. It’s sweet and honestly funny at times as they are often more akin to excited school girls than ladies of the age they are!

On reflection it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. The writing is accomplished and keeps you hooked throughout the story. I read this in two sittings because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. It’s an easy and enjoyable read that you can just lose yourself in. The characters are excellently formed, bringing the story to life and the story itself is interesting, heart-warming and with a real message behind it about self-belief and following your dreams. Fans of Rachael Lucas, Rebecca Pugh and Sarah Morgan will enjoy this novel.

Check out the other stops on the tour using #ChicBoutique

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