I’ve been a fan of Katie Fforde’s novels since her first book, Living Dangerously, was published years ago. I like to save them up for a cosy Sunday afternoon read with chocolate & cups of tea handy. Summer of Love was just what I was looking for last Sunday.
Sian spent one passionate night with Gus nearly six years ago. He was off on a trip next day, they decided quite sensibly not to stay in touch even though they both felt that their one night stand could have lead to a deeper relationship. When Sian finds out that she’s pregnant, she has the baby, Rory, with help from her parents, & doesn’t tell Gus about it. Six years on, Sian has decided to spread her wings a little. She moves away from her parents to a cottage in the country, close by her friend, Richard. Richard is in love with Sian & wants to marry her. Sian can see all the advantages in marrying him both for herself & Rory. There’s just one problem, she doesn’t love him. In fact, she’s never loved anyone except Gus.
Sian settles in to her new home. She has a small but growing business painting furniture & is looking for a barn or workshop where she could work on bigger pieces than she can manage in her spare room. Rory loves playgroup & makes friends with the other children. Sian meets Fiona Matcham, the owner of the local Big House & they quickly become friends. Fiona is a wonderful character. She would have been the heroine of a Katie Fforde novel in earlier days. Fiona is 50ish, divorced after a disastrous second marriage & tentatively investigating internet dating, while also becoming friends with James, a local bookseller.
When Sian helps out with a dinner party at Fiona’s house, she is dismayed to discover that Fiona’s son, Angus, just returned after an overseas expedition, is really her Gus, Rory’s father. Fiona soon sees the resemblance between Gus & Rory & is determined that Sian must tell him before anyone else works it out. Romantic misunderstandings are further complicated by Melissa, childhood friend of Gus’s & a rich , spoilt young woman who decides to buy Sian’s rented cottage out from under her. Then, there’s Richard, who would be so perfect for Sian – if she wasn’t falling head over heels in love with Gus all over again.
Summer of Love is a gorgeously romantic, cosy read. I always think of Katie Fforde’s books as perfect winter reading as they’re always published here in May/June. In the UK it’s summer & I imagine the publicity focuses on them as perfect beach reads! It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. If you’re in the mood for love, humour, engaging characters, country living, a few moral dilemmas & descriptions of the most delicious food & drink, Summer of Love is the perfect choice.