The Cornish Village School – Happy Ever After by Kitty Wilson
When Marion Marksharp has problems, everyone in the small Cornish village of Penmenna has a view. It is partly because she has worked hard to create an aura of perfection in the school, running the PTA with more than military precision, but also because she has worked hard to achieve the perfect family life with her husband Richard. This is the fifth book in a delightful series featuring those who work or have connections with the small village school set in an idyllic village in Cornwall, but the books don’t have to be read in strict order, as they each deal with a different couple. The gentle humour and the real insight into people are really good reasons for reading these books, as the people of the village skirt around Marion and her organisational skills which change lives. The ruler of many events at the school,such as fairs, valentine evenings and special projects, she has chosen those women that she can dominate into doing her orders her way, while wearing her distinctive style of dresses. Her three boys Rafe, Rupert and Rufus are notorious for their intelligent ways of causing mayhem and upset while her beady eye is not fully on them, but are models of excellent behaviour when she is in control. Marion has been walking in and out of the school and terrorising the school for years, but essentially she wants the best for everyone, even Harmony the teacher with strange ideas. In the past she has got involved in everyone else’s relationships to a certain extent, but in this book her own comes under pressure. Can she manage to salvage her own relationship, let alone make sure it is a happy ever after for everyone?
The one thing Marion loves beyond her power over the villages’ affairs is Richard. It emerges that she had a difficult childhood, and from the instant she sees him at college she was smitten, and still finds him irresistibly attractive. He has a flat in London, and one of the reasons Marion is so involved in other people’s concerns is because he spends most of his time there, and she represents him in the school. When he has to cancel their special anniversary weekend that Marion has been looking forward to at the last moment, she decides to surprise him by turning up at his flat. What she discovers there makes her believe that he is having an affair, and in her anger and despair she decides to use her experience and expertise to become an event organiser. Using her contacts she begins to try and persuade her friends to expand their wedding plans. Meanwhile someone is convinced that their marriage is not over.
This final book in the series has not lost any of the magic spark of the other books, and the humour is still as prevalent as ever. While Marion has never really been an easy character to like, her vulnerability makes her far more attractive. The combination of people in these novels is as strong as ever, and the setting as beautiful. These books have never been the traditional romantic read, as they always look at the community as a whole, but in this book Marion’s new circumstances there is a rounding up of the friends and people of the village as everyone is forced to take a fresh look at their relationships. I really enjoyed this book and how so many things are rounded off. I recommend it as a really light hearted book as well as a fictional escape to a beautiful Cornish village.