Summer of Love – Katie Fforde

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.

9 thoughts on “Summer of Love – Katie Fforde

  1. I wonder … how many readers remember when they first read a 'new' author (by which I mean new to them?) I can distinctly remember reading Katie Fforde's first novel, Living Dangerously. It was one of the W H Smith new talent books (or some such promo) and I loved the cover (who says a good cover doesn't sell a book? Far too many covers are now look-alike jobbies, in pink and turquoise chick-lit livery, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s the covers were usually of attractive interiors, such as Living Dangerously and Alexandra Raife's The Larach being good examples.) It was a cold January day, but bright sunshine, so husband and I packed up a picnic (I think it was crab baps and coffee) and took it to Shaldon, on the banks of the River Teign, with our books, and like a couple of old biddies, sat out of the wind but in the sunshine in a shelter and enjoyed a couple of hours there, me with Katie's first novel and husband with whatever he was reading at the time. And I've read almost all of Katie's books since then, some are a little too formulaic for my liking but I can understand why theyre addictive, but this one sounds as if she's right on form again.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean about covers. I loved KF's early Penguin covers, those lovely painterly interiors & I loved the fact that her heroines were older women. I was only in my early 30s then but I loved Polly in that first book. I still enjoy her books but I do miss the older heroines. As her heroines have got younger, I find them less compelling – probably because I'm older! That's why I loved Fiona in Summer of Love & why I wrote that she would have been the heroine of an early KF novel. I'm glad the stick figure chick lit covers have been superseded although I've read that KF's sales soared when she wrote about younger women & had candy-colored covers. It depends who the publishers are marketing to, as Sue Hepworth & Linda Gillard have said recently. They're obviously not marketing those kinds of novels to me, although I enjoy a good contemporary romance & have some favourite authors who i always read. I love the Vintage Classics covers, for instance, & the new OUP designs. Actually, I could write a whole post on this, with examples! Maybe I will.

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  3. Yes, Lyn, you could write about covers, because Covers Sell Books (or rather sometimes not having a particular 'design' sells books, as with Persephone, all uniform dove grey!) We could then discuss the covers which 'work' for us and those we'd not touch with a barge pole (or a library 'long arm' … i.e. a book grabber for books on high shelves) regardless of what was between the covers!
    I must now put Summer of Love on my List … but as I have about nine book pre-ordered (a strange expression, but for books which haven't yet been published) on Amazon, I think it had better go on my Wish List for a while!
    Writers I always read: Katharine McMahon, Sarah Challis, Rachel Hore, Kate Morton, Jacqueline Winspear, Amanda Brookfield, Hazel Holt, and many more.
    Margaret P

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