The House of Birds and Butterflies: The Lovebirds by Cressida McLaughlin #BookReview (@CressMcLaughlin) @HarperCollins #TheLovebirds #NetGalley

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“It’s winter at Meadowsweet nature reserve. Wildlife-lover Abby is busy trying to lure in the crowds, and although her event planning is a little on the whacky side, her creative efforts are helping to keep Meadowsweet afloat. She’s not having quite the same luck, however, in getting to know the elusive village newcomer, disgraced celebrity author Jack. It’s clear that Jack has mysterious reasons for staying out of the limelight, and the village rumour mill is in overdrive.

Abby’s passion for the great outdoors is nothing short of infectious and when Jack joins her on a special nature walk, sparks unexpectedly start to fly.
As their relationship thaws, should Abby be on high alert? Or would a new romance be the most natural thing in the world…”

Okay, where did the time go? I swear, no sooner had I started this book than I had finished, so engrossed was I in the story. Forgetting where you are and what time it is is a sure sign of a good read.

This book is part two of the serialisation of Cressida’s latest book, The House of Birds and Butterflies which started with The Dawn Chorus which I reviewed previously. We pick up right where we left off with Abby spending New Year with her mother. Her mother is despairing of Abby’s seeming lack of romance although, of course, she doesn’t know about the mysterious novelist Jack Westcoat and I can understand Abby’s reluctance in telling her pushy mother about her tentative feelings.

To be honest, Abby doesn’t really know where she stands with Jack, she hasn’t heard from him since the winter nature walk so she is throwing herself back into her job promoting the Meadowsweet Nature Reserve with some wacky and creative events, including a fabulous evening set around a swallow murmuration (who even knew what that was before they read this book – not me!) It’s apparent from the owner, Penelope’s cryptic remarks that the Reserve is going to be in trouble if Abby can’t get the visitor numbers up. The secret about Penelope’s past and her abandonment of the beautiful Swallowtail House deepens and I am desperate to get to the bottom of that, especially after the clandestine visit that Abby pays to the building.

This instalment reveals a few more details about the brooding Jack and his bad boy escapades and we are given tantalising glimpses of the spark that could develop between Jack and Abby, if they only get the chance, whilst the local characters seem to be hell bent on getting in their way! Cressida’s writing manages to balance tension, sweetness and a subtle comedy in a way that is very seductive to the reader – it leads you gently and unconsciously on through the story until – surprise surprise – you find yourself at the end and wanting more.

I am sure there is more excitement to come, as there are a few threads that have been started but not developed yet, including the rivalry with the nearby Reston Marsh Nature Reserve, the Wild Wonders TV show and the attractive Flick Hunter. I love the descriptions of the reserve and the wildlife which continued through this book and are another of the things I am looking forward to reading more of in the next instalment.

So come on, Cress, where is Part 3? I, for one, can’t wait to find out what happens next.

The House of Birds and Butterflies: The Lovebirds is out now and you can buy a copy here. All four parts of The House of Birds and Butterflies will be released as a single paperback on 9 August 2018 and you can pre-order a copy here.

Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for the copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David.

When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful Norfolk coastline.

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