Reviewed by Emma Crowley
Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what
Vet Molly has always been career driven and focussed on caring for her animals, but when she meets a gorgeous Mystery Man at a conference and their connection is off the charts, well, one night off work won’t hurt anyone…except the next morning he’s vanished and all Molly knows about him is his first name.
Three months later, back in Love Heart Lane, everyone loves the story of Molly's amazing one-night stand. It's so unlike her! But when Mystery Man turns up walking his dog through Primrose Park and their night together seems to mean nothing to him, Molly needs her friends and neighbours more than ever. And especially when she’s left with the most unexpected of surprises…
Many thanks to Harper Collins UK via NetGalley for my copy of Primrose Park to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.
Six books in and I am loving Christie Barlow’s Love Heart Lane series more than ever. There has not been one book in the series that I have not enjoyed and I always eagerly await my return visits to the village of Heartcross in the Scottish Highlands. Primrose Park is the new story that features local vet Molly McKendrick and I think she is the character so far that I have really felt such empathy for. Not that I have been in the situation she found herself in but it was the way that Christie conveyed Molly’s story that really got to me on an emotional level. That’s not to say I didn’t love reading about the previous characters that have predominantly featured, of course I did, but there was that special something that made Molly really get under my skin and I was filled with sadness thinking she would have to go it alone when really she deserved happiness and someone in her life who would value and love her for the incredible person she was.
Molly is a career driven person but in a good way. She runs her own veterinary practice and boarding kennels and is now taking on the role of running dog behavioural classes. No one can say that she doesn’t always want to enhance her knowledge and provide the best service she can. Her love for animals always shines through and her ambition is not shoved in your face. Rather it is celebrated and this is a young woman who knows what she wants in life and is determined to achieve it but not in a ruthless manner like some characters you read about. Instead Molly has such a fantastic personality. She is driven and hardworking, giving it 100% working long hours and always striving to be the best in her field. She has so much going for her but perhaps the one area lacking is her personal life.
She admits she has been happy working away on her career but is now feeling that special someone is missing in her life but so far she has never met him. Molly doesn’t go searching for love, it’s not her ultimate goal in life but suffice to say if Mr. Right came along she wouldn’t be turning him away in a hurry. These feelings of loneliness are starting to creep in and she is becoming jealous of her friends who have all found romance. Molly has so much love to give she now feels ready to let someone in and share this love with them but the clock is ticking. Will she find who she is looking for?
Whilst away at a hotel on a training course in order to run her dog behavioural classes she bumps into a man in the car park and is literally love struck. It’s instant love at first sight for her and she would have previously laughed when she heard people saying this had happened to them. But it seems the stars have aligned for her and a night of passion ensues with Molly feeling things are clicking into place. That is until she wakes up and the man has left her alone. What did she do wrong? Did he not feel the same way? Was she just another notch on his bedpost? Several months pass and Molly continues with her work. She finds herself the temporary owner of a little dog called Darling who certainly doesn’t live up to his name. Rather he is fierce and an ankle biter. His owner Dixie, long term resident of Bumblebee Cottage, located next to the Old Bakehouse, has moved into a nursing home. Birdie, Dixie’s daughter, seemed to foist the dog upon Molly and with her good nature she couldn’t refuse. Darling causes havoc at the dog classes and as he flees he leads Molly to someone she thought she would never see again, Cam, the man she spent the night with and never saw again. But his reaction is far from welcoming, it’s like he doesn’t know her and Molly couldn’t have been more hurt.
I thought Molly really was pinning her everything on one day seeing Cam again and when this wish did become a reality she was just utterly heartbroken that he could be so cruel and callous and act as if he had never set eyes on her before. Molly had believed their emotional and physical connection was off the scale so to be so cruelly rejected like that must have been a harsh blow to take. The story once Cam makes a reappearance moved along at just the right pace and I loved how all the various strands were developed. There was lots going on but at no point did the plot become difficult to keep track off. I thought everything flowed so beautiful and yet at the same time all the little subplots connected back to Molly in some shape or form. She has a lot to deal with and she is very surprised when something unexpected crops up in her life. But I thought how she dealt with it was so admirable given the circumstances. She never put pressure on anyone despite feeling so hurt and being treated as if she was a time waster.
I loved how Molly’s friends rallied around her as she really was going through the mill in more ways than one, Isla, Felicity and Allie have all featured before and I am glad they still get to make an appearance again even though it is Molly’s story to share. They were the ultimate support system to her and the bonds of friendship really shone through in such a lovely way. But at the same time Molly is her own woman and she is determined to dig deeper behind the frosty exterior of Cam and find out just what is going on with him? She wasn't letting him go without a fight yet she wasn’t pushy or demanding of him and as the story developed and things became a little clearer as to why it came across the way he did. I thought Molly showed great patience and it was like she was biding her time.
Molly really did need Cam, the reason for which will become clear when you read this wonderful story, but she knew to go full pelt at him would make him run even further. Cam is a complex character, who when reading this book you will think what’s with all the attitude? Can’t you just be nice to Molly who is such a darling and the most wonderful of people. He just seemed to have so many mood swings and came across as being so abrupt and rude when it was totally unnecessary. I questioned if Molly had truly opened up to him would he have changed his demeanour?
As for the title of this brilliant, heart-warming story, Primrose Park, it became the focal point towards the end for a very good reason which was just so sweet and sentimental. I loved how Molly became deeply invested in the life of Dixie and became determined to right a wrong when she senses something isn’t quite right. Molly is the driving force behind a community effort when the park is vandalised and bringing it back to its former glory, well the reason behind this was just so inspiring, heartening and encouraging. I loved how Molly ploughed on with it despite not feeling at the top of her game. It showed her genuine caring nature and once again highlighted how once Heartcross gets its teeth into you there is no getting away.
Primrose Park is another fabulous addition to the Love Heart Lane series and it’s an utter joy to read. These stories give you the feel good feeling in spades and at a time when we need to feel uplifted and see that good things can happen in the world. The community of Heartcross and its residents highlight this more than ever. I found myself paying close attention to new place names mentioned in the book and also several new background characters and I hope these will form the basis of future books. I really hope this series will continue for as long as possible because without doubt it has been the best thing that Christie Barlow has ever written. You can tell how much she loves writing it and how deeply invested she is in every aspect of it. Heartcross Castle is the next instalment due for publication in October and I can’t wait for it. But in the meantime enjoy every minute of your time spent reading Primrose Park.It’s an uplifting, cosy read with an idyllic setting with just the right dollop of romance.