Sunday, 2 August 2015

HI Readathon - Pippa's Cornish Dream by Debbie Johnson

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Every summer has a story…

Since Pippa Harte was forced to take over her parents’ farm, she’s barely had time to shave her legs let alone make time for a date. Now she’s more likely to be getting down and dirty mucking out the pigs – and avoiding those of the human male variety.

When Ben Retallick walks out of her childhood and back into her present it seems that perhaps Pippa has more time than she thought. All Poldark smoulders and easy-going charm, Ben’s definitely worth whipping her wellies off for!

But Ben is a man with his own past and his own issues – and as much as she’s enjoying having him around, she’s got to get a grip. After all life isn’t always a beach … Then again, this is Cornwall.

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

Pippa's Cornish Dream has to have one of the nicest covers I have seen this summer. Warm, bright, colourful and attractive, it's instantly eyecatching and once you have read the book you see how it ties in so well with everything that happens throughout what proved to be a surprisingly delightful read. Sometimes it's the books you expect the least from that you get the most enjoyment from and that's what happened with me here. This is Debbie Johnson's second novel following on from her Christmas release - Cold Feet at Christmas and all I can say is it is a lovely, lovely book. Just a pure pleasure to read, I couldn't put it down as there was just that special something urging me on to discover does Pippa get the happiness its evident she deserves? I flew through this in several hours as it's such a light breezy read that highlights the talents of Debbie Johnson as an author and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Right from the opening page I fell straight in love with our main character Pippa Harte. I even read the opening few paragraphs out loud for my mum as it was just so funny and I wanted someone else to appreciate what wonderfully humorous writing was in store for me. We first encounter Pippa as she is battling against a blocked toilet in Honeysuckle Cottage. This is one war she is determined to win as she gains pleasure from overcoming whatever daily obstacles the business and family life throw at her. Life has not been especially kind to Pippa. She is still very young and has had to become old before her time as her parents were killed in a car crash. This left Pippa is sole charge of her four siblings - Patrick now a teenage tearaway who never got over the loss of his parents and uses rebelling and causing mayhem as a form of expressing his feelings. Delightful 9 year old  twins Daisy and Lily and 4 year old Scotty. The three younger children need Pippa the most and life is a constant juggling act of school runs, washing, storytelling and not to mention maintaining the three holidays cottages. Oh and not to forget the crazy bunch of animals resident on the farm, all of whom have been given ludicrous, playful names by the children. Into the chaos steps Ben Retallick, he he has come to Honeysuckle Cottage seeking seclusion, peace and quiet. To give himself a chance to escape from both prying eyes and questions as his past is forever following him where ever he ventures. Once Ben and Pippa lock eyes over a toilet brush the course of Pippa's unpredictable life just gets that little more crazier.

Debbie Johnson sums up that instant attraction between a man and a woman just perfectly ' That magical moment between a man and a woman 'where you feel the thrill of potential the primal joy of heat calling out to heat'. The burning desire between the pair just dripped off the page and you so wanted them to get together even if just for a fling. Pippa had been through and given up so much that you wanted her to have a good time and let off some steam instead of feeling the pressures of being a mother figure 24/7. I loved how there was no messing about by the author the pair gave into their burning desires and a holiday fling ensued. Both admitting to each other they didn't want a long term thing. Ben had been left hurt in the past and Pippa had too much going on her life to commit to a long term relationship. This is what made the book different and fresh and kept the pace moving along. Too often there is so much miscommunication and dancing around skirting the issue that's there for everyone to see. This couple obviously had the hots for each other and decided to do something about it. But does the path of true love run smooth? Well does it ever in novels? No and that's what made me keep reading I don't want people getting together and staying together. I want to be kept on my toes discovering can they weather all the difficulties thrown at them. Can Ben overcome his problems from the past which were definitely major? Can Pippa open her heart to love?

Pippa is a character that I have so much respect for her. She gave up everything to look after her siblings. Adopting the mother role at only 18. All her hopes, dreams and ambitions for college and life were pushed aside and she took on a huge amount of responsibility. She deserved nothing but admiration and recognition for such a selfless act. In the beginning of the book she is in a constant state of worry over Patrick, money and the regular visits to the social worker. Her day to day life leaves little time for herself and Debbie does a fantastic job of conveying just how much Pippa has taken on and how she attempts to maintain a normal life as possible for her family. Pippa  is shy and reluctant at times when the going gets tough she needs to open up that little bit more and over the course of the book we see a whole new side emerging. Although she always doubts her abilities both as a mother figure and someone to be loved yet the reader can see her potential and that she is doing a wonderful job. Her parents looking down from above would be nothing but proud of her. Pippa has no adult company, no one to talk to or seek comfort and support. So when Ben comes along that little piece inside her she kept hidden slowly starts to open with surprisingly happy results or so you would hope. Ben reawakens Pippa's lust for life and I wanted her to grab happiness with both hands and keep it firmly in her grip.

Pippa's Cornish Dream was a joy to read. We see a total transformation in a character as she navigates life and all its challenges. Ben was complicated but sure Pippa brought along her issues and additions as well and together their story was inspirational and uplifting. One thing that surprised me though was that there really wasn't that many characters throughout the book which was unusual. But it gave those that were there a chance to shine and Debbie Johnson really pulled it off where many authors can rely on background people to fill in pages. Pippa's Cornish Dream is the ideal read when you want something that is not going to tax your brain too much whilst still keeping your interest. A set of characters you are firmly invested in combined with a marvellously satisfying storyline and not to mention the stunning setting of Cornwall this book had it all. Hopefully we will hear more from Pippa in the future. I wonder what she could be getting up to at Christmas time??????

I'd like to thank Emma for reviewing Pippa's Cornish Dream which we received from the publisher via NetGalley.

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