A book of an idyllic Cornish village and school, with a romantic story at its heart, this is a novel which hits many targets for a relaxing and entertaining read. Although the third in the series, this book works well as a stand alone novel, as each book is built around different main characters. There are characters who are mentioned in every book, but it is certainly not essential to know their stories. In this book, Pippa is a teaching assistant in the first class, and much is made of her extravagant personality and her singular dress sense. She meets Kam, who is hoping to establish a teaching career in Cornwall, and who soon becomes more than just a colleague. Both of them have families who are keen that they should settle down; indeed Pippa’s mother Jan has a prime candidate in mind for her daughter, James, who is capable of showing two faces. Kam’s family from Middlesbrough are also keen to see him with a wife, preferably nearer than Cornwall. Both Pippa and Kam have significant friends who despite their idiosyncrasies want the best for them, and will make suggestions. The central focus of this book is answering the question: can Pippa and Kam ever be together when so much seems against them.
The book opens with Piipa, in half of her Easter bunny costume, meeting a young man who has apparently just been interviewed for a part time temporary job at Penmenna school. It seems that Kam is attractive and has a sense of humour that matches her own, but there is no guarantee that they will ever see each other again. Meanwhile, Pippa must cope with the terrifying Marion Marksharp, chair of the PTA who tries to rule teaching staff and parents alike. Then her friend Lottie, who wants to be a taxidermist, is on hand with friendly advice. Her family reintroduce the son of a family friend, James, who seems an ideal potential match. However, it soon becomes obvious that he is concealing a terrible ego. Kam, meanwhile, is soon totally smitten by Pippa, but aware that his five year plan does not allow for diversions into romance. Can any relationship survive such pressures?
This is a book of real humour and realistic dialogue. The characters are memorable and well written in every detail. The obsessive mother who cooks compulsively, the children who panic about the school hamster, Sir Squeaks-a-lot, the community pub and the local festivals, all have the ring of truth. The area is so well described as being full of beauty, beyond that which is seen by tourists. Pippa is a well drawn character, with her sense of humour and interest in vintage clothing. The plot is not explosive, but well paced and worked out, even with its obvious hiccup. The dialogue is realistic and funny, reflecting the characters well. This is a terrifically entertaining book with plenty of telling details and contemporary interest. I recommend it as a lighthearted read to fans of contemporary fiction.
This is a good escapist read with positive messages. Its humour is clever and understated and clever, written with a real ear for how families talk to each other. I believe that their are two more books in this series, but they are only available as ebooks, which I do not read. I do hope that the publishers can be persuaded to bring them out in print, please! Despite the issues of storage and organisation, I do love real books. I like being able to handle them and see how I am progressing, as well as the whole collecting of series, publishers, authors works etc. For discovering all the various works by a particular writer, I use https://www.fantasticfiction.com/ to look writers up quickly, as well as the exact order in which their books should be read. It can, of course, also swallow many hours in checking up on authors as one list suggests another…