The perfect summer read. Continuing the light-hearted, uplifting dramas around the 'The Dog & Duck' pub and the life of its landlady Ellie Browne.
Ellie Browne has found happiness running The Dog and Duck pub in the idyllic village of Little Leyton, and her blossoming romance with tall, handsome property developer, Max Golding, is going swimmingly. With her new best friend, Digby, the black Labrador at her side, life just couldn't be sweeter.
But their peace is shattered when Max's younger sister, Katy, turns up unannounced with a whole heap of attitude. And Max's loyalties are stretched further when his glamorous ex, Sasha, re-appears with her own burgeoning secret.
With the master of the manor preoccupied with the demands of his 'other women', Ellie's forced to consider if she has any role to play in Max's life or in the village of Little Leyton.
Can Ellie get her life and relationship back on track in time for the summer charity ball at Braithwaite Manor?
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A favorite for the writing and the feel-good endorphins that have run wild for the hours since I fin
The perfect summer beach read that is sure to leave you smiling, happy and ready to head to England for your own slice of village life. Jill Steeples should be writing tourism brochures for village councils in need of new blood – every moment of this book was steeped in atmosphere. Ellie decided to move back to her hometown after a successful but unfulfilled life in London, the early exposure to a village where everyone knows your name, your history and your business is a transition not easily left behind. When her best friend’s father decided he wanted to give up landlording the town’s pub for travel, Ellie stepped in and has taken over: small changes that mark the Dog & Duck as a community gathering point. News, information, meetings, romances and even a few tiffs occur regularly, and the presence of Digby the Labrador makes for a homey atmosphere.
But, pulled twelve ways from Tuesday, it seems as if Ellie is never wanting to say ‘no’ to anyone, from welcoming her parent’s tenant, to spending time with her best friends and carving out time with her new-ish boyfriend Max, there’s rarely time for Ellie to just move forward without worrying about something. And when you add Max’s teenaged sister Katy to the mix, complete with stroppy behavior, attitude and a bone-deep sadness that he doesn’t seem to know how to handle, one more person has been added to Ellie’s to sort out list. With plans for the summer fete, concerns about her own management style for the pub with surprise inspectors prone to dropping in, her own insecurities about her relationship, the limited time they spend together and now Max’s pregnant ex-girlfriend turning up to rent one of his cottages, the constant barrage of elements continues. And yet, with good grace, only a few minor meltdowns and the communication breakdowns between Max and Ellie occurring with regularity, while I could see the possible ending coming, the actual pathway was as twisty as a maze.
But, despite the back and forth and Ellie’s occasional moments of insecurity and second guessing, the characters were real, present, flawed and likable. Secondary characters, including dogs, pensioner regulars, and the seemingly endless well of good humor that Ellie draws from to keep herself balanced, it was hard to put this story down. With a super surprise at the end that was only a surprise to Ellie (I figured it out quite early) and a wonderful sense of family, friends and community – this is a story that will make you contemplate your own relocation to a small community if only to get those welcomes. A favorite for the writing and the feel-good endorphins that have run wild for the hours since I finished the last page, I’m curious to see what the next season at the Dog & Duck will bring.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.