Monday, 29 August 2016

Review - The Lavender House by Hilary Boyd

The Lavender House by Hilary Boyd was the third and final book that I read as part of the Quercus Summer Book Club. Despite having heard of the author previously I’d never actually read anything written by her before and, with an absolutely stunning cover, I couldn’t wait to get started on it. I surprised myself by enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would and thought it made for a perfect summer read. 

After her husband left her for a younger woman several years ago, Nancy has somewhat given up on love and has resigned herself to spending the rest of her days looking after her family. That is until an evening out in celebration of her friend, Lindy’s, sixtieth birthday when she meets Jim. With country music being a major passion of his and making his living through singing at clubs, sparks immediately fly between both Jim and Nancy. However, can Nancy let go enough to settle down into a relationship with Jim before it’s too late? 

As a book which is told from the perspective of several different characters, something that I always appreciate as it allows me to see the bigger picture, I thought that overall the characters were great and that they each brought something different to the novel. I particularly liked Nancy’s two grandchildren who were always on hand and were guaranteed to make me laugh with their childish innocence and chatter. 

However, as the novel progressed I did grow increasingly annoyed with Nancy, her daughter and mother. Whilst her mother was clearly quite unwell and her daughter was struggling in her marriage, I thought the way they treated Nancy was disgraceful. They viewed her as a slave, frequently expecting her to drop her plans at very short notice to sort out one of their problems in exchange for very little gratitude. I really wanted Nancy to turn around and say NO for once in her life, stop worrying and put herself first for a change. I sadly feel this paints quite a realistic picture of people of Nancy’s age who often take on a lot of responsibility within their family singlehandedly. 

The one thing I particularly liked about the way in which Hilary has written this book was how she kept you hanging on. It was unpredictable and it wasn’t clear how things were going to end for the couple until you turned the final page. With lots of description present throughout the book, Hilary really sets the scene for her readers. Given the title of the book the only thing I would’ve liked to see more made of was Lavender House, which sounded like a beautiful place but which I felt like I didn’t really get to spend much time with. 

I’m glad to have finally got the chance to read a book that was written by Hilary Boyd and thought that it was really easy to become immersed in the world she created. I’d recommend The Lavender House to anyone whose looking for their next contemporary romance to read. I’m definitely open to reading more written by Hilary in the future.