A charming romantic comedy about a hard-up single mum inheriting a stately home – and a host of headaches – The perfect novel for curling up with during the long winter nights.Sophy Winter is not your typical Lady of the Manor….When she unexpectedly inherits Winter’s End – a crumbling mansion in the beautiful Lancashire countryside – it seems like all Sophy’s prayers have been answered. She eagerly swaps life as an impoverished housekeeper in favour of her own team of staff.But Sophy quickly realises the challenge on her hands – the house is decrepit and its eccentric inhabitants are a nightmare. And once it is discovered that Winter’s End played host to a young Shakespeare, the entire village of Sticklepond becomes curious about Sophy’s plans, especially charming Jack Lewis. But is he really smitten by Sophy…or her newly-acquired cash?Meanwhile, Sophy’s gorgeous head gardener Seth is the strong and silent type. But does his passion bloom for anything beyond the horticultural?As Sophy gets to grips with squabbling relatives, collapsing buildings and the ghostly presence of one of her ancestors, she wonders if Winter’s End is not so much a gift from the gods as a mixed blessing…A charming romantic comedy! (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: I dated a guy like Jack Lewis once. Briefly. Very briefly. Reminds me of a quote from the play I saw the other night – Prince Charming talking to his princess ( in Into The Woods): “I was raised to be charming. Not sincere.” Just a slick-talking guy with shiny teeth and good hair. No substance.
Sissy: But almost leaves a slime trail behind him. Every time Sophy talked about being attracted to Jack, I wanted to scream, “No! NO! Step away from the slimeball!” Too many times in the past was I initially deceived by a pretty face.
Bubby: Mr. Sissy has a very pretty face.
Sissy: Yes, however there is gold on the inside of Mr. Sissy. Now this is not your usual fairytale where poor girl inherits a fortune and a mansion. Sophy’s inheritance comes with a lot of trouble attached and I admired how hard of a worker and how undeterred by problems she was.
Bubby: She got the mansion. Too bad there was no fortune to go along with. At least not in cash. There is, however, a legend that somewhere lost in the walls of Winter’s End is a treasure of immense proportions. And there is. But I can’t talk about it. Sissy would smack me for being a spoiler!
Sissy: I would never smack you! (Unless it was vitally necessary to your maturation process . . .) At the beginning of every chapter there is a quote from the journal of Alys Bezzard, Sophy’s ancestress. So as Sophy’s story unfolds, the last bit of Alys’ life is revealed as well, and it is full of intrigue and sadness. A Winter’s Tale is a contemporary fiction/mystery/romance, but it is also salted with scrumptious bits of historic witchiness and magic.
Bubby: I am pretty sure I have achieved all the maturation that I’m going to get, Sissy. No smacking required. There’s nothing I like better than a little magic sprinkled in with a touch of romance. Makes me happy. I hadn’t read Trisha Ashley before and I was so happy to have discovered her. Sometimes when I find an author that is new to me I go on a bit of a buying binge and purchase two or three (or more) of their novels and read them all at once. I did this with Trisha Ashley and loved them all.
Sissy: So annoying when Bubby buys e-books that can’t be lent to me, so I always encourage her to buy the more expensive hard bound books. A win-win for me and the author! Now back to A Winter’s Tale. Sophy’s Great-Aunt Hebe is a curmudgeon, possibly because of her name. I would be a curmudgeon if my name was Hebe. My favorite quote of the book comes from her when she says,”What are you bellowing for? You sound like a cross between the Last Trump and a cow in labor!” I can’t wait to use that on one of my loved ones.
Bubby: Sounds like something you’d say. If you are looking for a light and fluffly dose of British-ness, A Winter’s Tale (or for that matter, any other book by Trisha Ashley) is the book for you. 4 bubbles.
Sissy: Seth, the head Gardener, is hot and broody. Therefore, you should read this book. 4 bubbles from me as well.
Click HERE to buy A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley from Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2013
After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.
These three women will discover more than they ever imagined in this coastal Maine town, buzzing with hopes of Colin Firth. Even the conjecture of his arrival inspires daydreams, amplifies complicated lives, and gives incentive to find their own romantic endings. (From Goodreads.com)
Sissy: I read this book whilst blissfully ensconced in a camping chair beside a burbling brook in the Wasatch Mountains, drinking an ice-cold diet soda, snacking on M&Ms and feeling that really, nothing could be better than that.
Bubby: I don’t remember where I was when I read Finding Colin Firth, but I do remember that I loved this storyline. Although, I have to admit something. And please, don’t hurl overripe fruit at me – but I don’t get the whole “Colin Firth” thing. He’s cute and all, and I think he’s a great actor, but there seems to be this mystique and other-worldly attraction that I can’t comprehend.
Sissy: Blasphemy! I fell in love with Colin Firth during the 6 hour PBS Pride and Prejudice miniseries.
Bubby: Not sure I ever saw that . . .
Sissy: I can’t be held responsible for the culturally deprived morass in which you reside. Anyway, Colin Firth is slightly more attractive than the usual man (the British accent is the clincher), a good actor and he seems down to earth, which makes him wildly appealing. I love the newer Pride and Prejudice but let’s be real here. That was all about Keira Knightly and not the broody boots who played Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth is everyman while at the same time being Mr. Darcy.
Bubby: OK, then, what’s with the Mr. Darcy thing? I don’t get that either. Why are women thrilled by a man who ignores and irritates them right up until he suddenly confesses his love?
Sissy: Clearly you need to watch the movie with me while I provide patient notes so that you can understand what every other woman in the world already gets. But that is really not what Finding Colin Firth is about anyway. A great ensemble cast of characters with interweaving story lines captures the reader’s heart. There is Bea, a daughter looking for her biological mother, Veronica, a woman looking to face her past and Gemma, a journalist torn between family and career.
Bubby: And pie! Lots and lots of pie! Veronica, a waitress who has returned to Boothbay Harbor after years on her own, is famous all through town for her Elixir Pies. And not only are the pies yummy, they are also “healing pies”. There’s Amore Pie (for finding love), Cast-Out Pie (to take away jealousy and other bad feelings), Happiness Pie, Spirit Pie (to remember loved ones who have passed away), even Hope Pie, Feel-Better Pie and Confidence Pie. I really want to try my hand at the Hope Pie – salted caramel cheesecake.
Sissy: I think that author Mia March’s main point in telling this story is that we all tend to undervalue happiness in our lives. Veronica always says that her pies don’t have any magical ingredients but just have “prayers and wishes and hopes baked in.” Perhaps it’s just that –if everything we did in our life was done with the expectation of happiness, every act done with wishes and hopes baked in, we might find a lot more happiness.
Bubby: Very wise, elder one. I agree. On the subject of happiness, let’s talk about Gemma a little bit. Now I realize that my reaction to characters and story lines is always affected by my own life and that I filter everything through the sieve of my own experiences. However, Gemma vexed me to no end. She has a fantastic husband who loves her with his whole soul. She is expecting a baby. She has in-laws who, obnoxious as they might be, love her and are thrilled to be a part of her family’s life. And is she happy? No! She wants everything she can’t have. She wants to live where she wants, have the career she wants and doesn’t really care that her wants are taking away other people’s happiness. I wanted to smack her for being so selfish.
Sissy: Wow. Tell us how you really feel. Gemma annoyed me as well but not to that extent. I totally got how she felt suffocated at the idea of being constantly with her husband’s large extended family. While the way she handled things wasn’t great, I think that by being completely open and honest with her husband they could have come up with a satisfactory compromise much sooner.
Bubby: I am glad that Gemma and her hubby were able to figure it all out eventually. In fact, that is one of the parts about Finding Colin Firth that I loved. It had a great ending. Is everyone’s life perfect and full of unicorns and rainbows now? No, but it’s better than it was. I highly recommend this read. 4 bubbles.
Sissy: Finding Colin Firth by Mia March hits the top of Sissy’s Favorite Summer Reads list.
Bubby: You have a list?
Sissy: Stop interrupting me. People are dying to get ahold of that list! I give it – the book, not the list – 4 3/4 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Finding Colin Firth by Mia March at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2013
Bubby: Hey Sissy! How did you enjoy our European Vacation?
Sissy: It was dreadful. I didn’t see any of the sights I wanted to see. The food was mundane. My children were messy. It was too hot. I didn’t have enough money. How did you like it?
Bubby: Wow. Sucks to be you. I always thought a European Vacation would be a thrilling experience full of culture and history and exotic food. Maybe we would have had a better time if we’d actually GONE to Europe instead of just pretending to go?
Bubby: But summer is now officially over – the kids are back in school, the weather should be cooling down soon (did you hear that, Mother Nature? Cooling down, I say!) and it is time to get back to the book reading and blog writing!
Sissy: Yes. My house has been thoroughly scrubbed top to bottom, my one remaining child sent back to school and I bought myself some new, sexy-librarian reading glasses. Ready to blog.
Bubby: Yippee! Maybe I should buy myself some sexy-librarian glasses. Oh wait, I don’t NEED glasses . . .
Sissy: Oh, there it is. The old spark is back! I was worried for a moment. Bubby was so mellow and laid back today that she could almost lick her own heels.
Bubby: And we all thank you for THAT mental image.
Sissy: Check back Tuesday August 27th for our Fall Kickoff Blog where we will be reviewing some exciting and entertaining reads.
Bubby: See you then!
© Bubble Bath Books 2013