Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo.
When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.
Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…
Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.
I'd like to thank Avon Books for my copy of Escape to Willow Cottage via NetGalley. Apologies for the delay in reviewing as I actually read this book late last year but for various reasons never got around to writing the review until now.
Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published in 4 parts but as I'm not a fan of reading serials I waited until the complete version was published before reading. And I'm so glad I did as I was able to move seamlessly throughout the seasons without my reading experience being interrupted waiting for the next part to be published.
From the moment when we first meet Beth at an auction, looking for a property to renovate as a new beginning for her and her son Leo, it is clear that there is something troubling her but we don't know what. As a complete rookie she finds herself accidentally bidding on and becoming the owner of Willow Cottage, a delightfully sounding cottage in the Cotswolds a world away from her life in London. But on arrival in Dumbleford, and seeing her new property, Beth realises that she might have made one rash decision too many and that running away might not be the answer...
It was clear from the outset that Beth was definitely like a fish out of water when it came to the cottage, I could imagine myself probably doing the exact same thing in the auction room although I wouldn't be in a position to go ahead with the sale! And as for renovating the cottage, well let's just say that she lands on her feet when she bumps into local Jack, he might have been gruff on the exterior but he had a heart of gold and was the guardian angel that she needed for herself and Leo even if he did on occasions give her cause for concern.
Beth was very much in need of a few good friends and luckily for her, she had a couple of really good girlfriends by her side - Carly, her best friend in London who has been by her side through everything she has faced, and her new friend in the village Petra, a fellow single mum who has more in common with Beth than they both realise. Carly's side storyline with her boyfriend Fergus created some hysterical, cringeworthy moments that had me chortling to myself but also one of the most romantic scenes that might have melted my cold heart a little.
But throughout this gorgeous read there was a serious undertone bubbling to the surface which when the sinister plotline was revealed made the whole impulsiveness of Beth's actions make sense to me. It was a situation that was extremely scary for Beth, and I'm sure one that many readers may have found themselves in, which was tackled with such sensitivity by Bella Osborne. I found myself rooting for Beth to find the strength to stand up for herself and I might have given a little internal cheer when someone got their just desserts.
Escape to Willow Cottage was a charming read from start to finish even if it did put me through the wringer at times with my emotions. All the characters, main and secondary, played their part but I have to admit I might have had quite a soft spot for Jack's dog Doris who did steal the show on occasions. I'd previously read Bella's first two books It Started at Sunset Cottage and A Family Holiday which I did enjoy but would say that Escape to Willow Cottage is my favourite to date so am looking forward to reading her current serial Ottercombe Bay at some point. Emma has reviewed the first two parts Where There's a Will... and Gin and Trouble, and will be reviewing Raising the Bar in April and Shaken and Stirred at a later date, but once again I'm holding off again until all the parts of the series are available before I start reading later this Summer.
As I also received a paperback copy of Escape to Willow Cottage I have decided to give it away to a follower of the blog so they can enjoy reading this themselves.
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