Barlow’s Book Reviews


Welcome to this issue’s book column by me, Christie Barlow! As summer is upon us I ask you the question, what makes a really great beach read? A handsome hero? A gripping thriller or a heart-breaking historical fiction that will have you sobbing into your sunbed? I Christie Barlow, author, bookslove my holidays, it gives me quality time to top up my tan while galloping through a handful of books soaking up numerous plot lines and discovering new authors. Today, I’m bringing you three of the best summer reads that are a must for your beach bag or Kindle!
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The Sunshine and Biscotti Club  – JENNY OLIVER

First of all, can we just take a look at the cover … this oozes gorgeousness! I knew the second I set eyes on it I just had to read it. What’s even better, the minute I opened the book I was transported to Tuscany, the ovens were pre-heating, the prosecco was chilling and I wanted to visit Hotel Limoncello.The story alternates between three leading ladies. Libby Price, food blogger and owner of Hotel Limoncello. This was her life’s dream, with only a few weeks to go until the renovations are finished her life is Instagram perfect until she catches her husband cheating. With the husband now out of the picture she calls upon her friends from her university days to help to get everything ready. Eve is mum to twins, her marriage to Peter isn’t working. A trip to Italy to help Libby open The Sunshine and Biscotti Club might be the perfect escape. Then there is Jessica, who has thrown herself into her work to shut out the memory of the man who never loved her back. Even though the three friends have been separated for years, it doesn’t take long for their true friendships to shine once more. This is a warm-hearted and cosy tale. The story kept me interested all the way through. I especially enjoyed the scenes where they created recipes for the Sunshine and Biscotti Club! They were mouth-wateringly good and I found myself wanting to bake biscotti!
This is the perfect summer romance. It captures dreams, friendship and goals in an awe-inspiring way. The writing is exquisite, the characters adorable and the plot engaging. It was a pure joy to read and left me filled with happiness.


The Butlins Girls  – ELAINE EVEREST

In Elaine Everest’s book The Butlins Girls, we are introduced to Molly Missons who I absolutely adored from the outset! With a world still recovering from the war, the tragic death of her parents and some long-lost relatives trying to steal her livelihood, Molly applies for a job at the holiday camp Butlins in Skegness.
This story is focused around genuine friendship and the wonderful characters that Everest creates utterly swept me away with this story and I couldn’t put the book down.
Freda, Bunty and Plum each have their own heartbreaks which is woven into the main plot so successfully that I found all the characters believable and myself completely immersed in their individual stories. I wanted to work at Butlins and be in their gang! Enter Johnny Johnson into the equation, Molly’s crush, star of the silver screen and things begIn to get even more interesting. Overall, it was the perfect story with characters you can’t help but love. Molly’s friendships and relationships with the people she holds close to her heart are delved into beautifully. The plot itself was full of surprises, great friendships and love. I felt bereft when I finished reading. A truly charming heart-warming book that didn’t disappoint.



Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage – Heidi Swain

If it’s cosy heart-warming reads you adore, full of village life, idyllic scenery, and utterly adorable characters then Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain is the book for you!
Firstly we are introduced to Lottie Foster, a gorgeous character and when her grandmother’s best friend dies she leaves Lottie her home, Cuckoo Cottage, with one stipulation, she must live there for at least a year. After moving in, and making an unexpected discovery in one of the barns of vintage caravans, a business idea begins to bubble away.
Everything was going swimmingly until she meets Matt, a charming local builder who points out that beneath the charm Cuckoo Cottage is falling apart and needs money spending on it, money Lottie just doesn’t have. Then throw handsome neighbour ex-army vet Will into the mix and what could possibly go wrong?
But before she can finally enjoy living with her legacy she must uncover who she can trust, and who to avoid at all costs! And with two men vying for her attention, can she find love in her new home…?
Overall, expect humorous moments, romantic confusion, learning curves and chickens – such a winning formula! So pull on those wellies and head for Wynbridge to enjoy this delicious heart-warming rom-com with that extra special something.
A story that captures life perfectly as well as your heart.



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