Thursday, 15 February 2018

Emma's Review: The Pets at Primrose Cottage: Part Four No Place Like Home by Sheila Norton

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

With Emma’s past threatening to ruin her life in quiet Crickleford, she’s running out of options. If people – especially Matt, her reporter friend – find out her secret, it might force her to leave the place she’s come to think of as home.

When flooding strikes the town while Emma is looking after an elderly couple’s dog, she has to take her biggest risk yet – but could this be the one that blows her cover for good? And if it does, can Crickleford – and Matt – ever accept Emma for who she truly is?

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Many thanks to Ebury Publishing for my copy via NetGalley of The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part Four to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

At last we have reached the final instalment No Place Like Home in The Pets at Primrose Cottage series by Sheila Norton. Finally we will discover the numerous questions that arose as I was reading through the first three parts. There is not much point recapping what has happened up until this point as if you are only picking up part four not having read the other parts than that is not really the ideal thing to be doing. It's different with a continuation of full length books in a series as most times you can dip in and out without any confusion but when a book is serialised it is best to start at part one and work your way through one after the other if possible.

As we return to the small village of Crickleford autumn is making itself known with changeable weather which matches the mood that Emma Nightingale finds herself in. She is on constant alert that the paparazzi will arrive on her doorstep, with flashing camera lights and microphones ready, to catch any titbit of information that will make her story known and earn them some money in the process. A state of fear and anxiety exists within Emma that her secret will be let out and everyone she has become friends with and come to love and care for will thinks she is one big fraud who told so many lies. The person who knows her darkest secret has kept low for the moment but they could pounce and spill forth everything they know at any minute and Emma's world will once again come crashing down.

What's worse is Emma's love life has also taken a nose dive. She hasn't heard from local reporter and would be love interest Matt since a bit too much was revealed in the pub. Has she scared him off? Is the truth too much for him to handle? Will he to get in on the action and write about her just so he can further his career? So many worries running through Emma's mind and uncertainty and heartbreak abound. Apart from the fact Emma told so many lies to begin with which I have mentioned previously, for the fact that it was so frustrating and annoying, is that Emma is so wounded by her prior experiences that she has forgotten how to act rationally, to think things through and ultimately to face things head on. This is a weakness on her part instead of thinking things through,confiding in someone or just facing things head on, she just seems to run around in circles evading things. Fear of exposure is a dark cloud hanging over her head when maybe she should just have been honest from the start and seen how people would have viewed her situation.

There was such a big build up throughout the book that I really hoped that the big reveal wouldn't be a damp squid and so much of a let down. Of course I had my suspicions as to what it actually could be but I didn't guess the finer details or know the exact circumstances. To be honest after reading it I did understand the hurt Emma experienced but the necessity for the name change and the running away seemed a bit over the top. Her actions at the time, this will make sense when you read the story, were completely justified and some of the things she did were actually funny. As they say revenge is a dish best served cold and she did this to perfection. So the question remains was Emma just too harsh on herself? Would the villagers of Crickleford have accepted her for who she was underneath the persona she projected rather than the exhaustive unrealistic lies?

Just like in part three I felt there was a lot more action in the story especially to do with the animals and Emma's pet sitting service. The mini plotline with the budgie was hilarious and cringe inducing for its owners but it made me laugh. Also the night of the rising waters in the village does leave you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen and it shows a softer aspect to Emma where the bravado is put to one side as she battles with Matt to do what is best. I also enjoyed how a different side of Matt was exposed. He showed his vulnerability and in the same way I wanted Emma to do the same so they could share their individual loads and work together to over come their own personal issues and anxieties. I felt we got more in-depth with both characters despite the relatively short length of this part of the story.

Again before the conclusion Emma causes consternation and confusion especially for me as a reader, I wanted as I have done in all the previous parts to give her a good shake and say cop yourself on, come into the real world. Look at the people around you who want to help you and will be there for you no matter how bad your experiences have been. The way you view things may not be the same as others. Don't take for granted what people may think as they may surprise you. The road of lies and deception may not be the best one for you. There was also one resolution to a sneaking suspicion I had all along regarding a little something and when it was confirmed it really did help make things a lot clearer and it explained certain situations that had cropped up.

Overall this was a satisfying conclusion to the series and I have enjoyed the time I spent with Emma and the friends she made and animals she met in Crickleford. In future I think I might wait until the full length books are published just so I can satisfy the urge to get all the answers in one go. This is the first book I have read by Sheila Norton but the sample chapter of The Vets at Hope Green has made me want to go back and read that book. I look forward also to reading more of her books in the future especially if animals are going to continuously make an appearance.

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