Lavender House is the third and final installment of the Quercus Summer Reading Challenge.
Nancy de Freitas is the glue that holds her family together. Caught between her ageing, ailing mother Frances, and her struggling daughter Louise, frequent user of Nancy's babysitting services, it seems Nancy's fate is to quietly go on shouldering the burden of responsibility for all four generations. Her divorce four years ago put paid to any thoughts of a partner to share her later years with. Now it looks like her family is all she has.
Then she meets Jim. Smoker, drinker, unsuccessful country singer and wearer of cowboy boots, he should be completely unsuited to the very together Nancy. And yet, there is a real spark.
But Nancy's family don't trust Jim one bit. They're convinced he'll break her heart, maybe run off with her money - he certainly distracts her from her family responsibilities.
Can she be brave enough to follow her heart? Or will she remain glued to her family's side and walk away from one last chance for love?
Hilary Boyd is an author I have never read before, so although the blurb didn't sound like something I would have picked up for myself, I was interested to give it a go. The main characters were of an older generation than I usually read about, but this actually made for quite a refreshing change. It was a cosy and heartwarming read. Jim was a lovely character, gentle and charming despite his steroetypical 'country and western' appearance. Nancy's inability to say 'no' began to grate on me a bit, and I just wanted to have a word with her and tell her to do something for herself for once.
There's a joyous message to be found in this book - it's never too late for love. No matter your age, the awkwardness and charm of a new romance remains the same, those early days where you're feeling your way blind into the relationship, unsure of your feelings, let alone the other person's.
This book is not something I would have chosen for myself, but it is a lovely read, and a book that I will happily pass along to my mum and grandma.
*Thanks to Quecus Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a review!*