Anna, a newly qualified interior designer, has decided it's time to put her money and her expertise where her mouth is and risk everything to buy a tiny but adorable cottage in desperate need of renovation.
Outside, the chocolate-box cottage is perfect, but inside, all is chaos. With a ladder for a staircase, no downstairs flooring, candles the only form of lighting, and a sleeping bag and camping mat for a bed, Anna soon wonders if she's bitten off more than she can chew.
Her neighbor Chloe comes to the rescue, providing tea, wine, and sympathy---and a recently rescued greyhound, Caroline. But just as Anna's starting to settle in, make new friends, and see the house transforming before her eyes, the good-looking yet impossible Rob Hunter arrives on the scene and puts even more obstacles in her way. Will Anna be able to get over all of life's hurdles in the end, or will she stumble and fall?
In the less than sprightly latest from Fforde (Restoring Grace), newly minted interior designer Anna, 27, is renovating a run-down cottage in the Cotswold to flip for a profit. At her neighbor's request, she takes in a homeless greyhound, and it happens that Rob Hunter, the local greyhound "rehoming officer," is also the inspector who ensures that historical homes are properly restored. Though he initially is a thorn in her inexperienced renovator side, Anna comes to appreciate Rob's humor, warmth and caring nature. But then Max Gordon, the architecture guest lecturer Anna's had a crush on for years after a near-miss on getting together when she was in college, appears at her London reunion and seems poised to sweep her off her feet. The cast of country secondaries provides color and interest, and Fforde adroitly registers Anna's subtler feelings. But the pace is slow, and the renovation details overwhelm the romance.