Sophie Henderson loves her job at Carter’s Cider in the picturesque Somerset village of Little Somerby, but with summer dawning before yet another picking and pressing season, and her boss David showing no signs of wanting to hang up his cider jug, perhaps it is time to move on.
She’s all set to hand in her notice when Alex Fraser, an intern from Vancouver, comes to Little Somerby to learn everything he can about the cider business. With Sophie as his mentor, attraction between them starts to grow alongside the apples.
For Alex, however, being in Little Somerby is about more than cider, and as the summer grows warmer, and his relationship with Sophie blossoms, can he find the courage to tell her the truth before it’s too late?
I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Summer In The Orchard by Fay Keenan, the third book in the Little Somerby series. My thanks to Victoria Joss at Aria Fiction for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley. which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
This is the first book I have read by Fay Keenan and, although it is the third book set in Little Somerby and based around Carter’s Cider, it works completely as a standalone novel and I did not feel I was missing any detail from the first two books which would have helped me enjoy this book more.
This book is primarily the story of Sophie, a cider taster and blender at Carter’s Cider in the small village of Little Somerby and how her seemingly ordered life is disrupted by the arrival of a handsome stranger from Canada in the form of Alex Fraser. But is he all that he seems? The book is also told from Alex’s perspective, so the reader is privy to information about him that Sophie is not, and we can see how things are moving towards a collision course before the characters can, which adds a pleasing frisson of tension to the reading experience.
The characters of both Sophie and Alex are sympathetic enough to carry the story and make you care about what happens to them and I became deeply involved in the development of their relationship, to the point where I ended up with a lump in my throat and a pricking behind my eyes towards the end, which I was not expecting to be honest. I had anticipated a light and frothy book that would not move me with that level of emotion, so I was very pleasantly surprised. The supporting cast of characters are also extremely appealing (with one or two exceptions!), to the point where I know I definitely need to go back and get better acquainted with them via the first two books in the series.
I particularly enjoyed the setting of the novel. One of the very great pleasures for me of reading is to learn new things and, as I have never read a book set around cider production before, I really enjoyed reading more about it. Despite this being primarily a book of romantic fiction, the author has obviously done meticulous research into the background business against which the book is set and included just enough detail about it to make it interesting and informative without bogging the prose down with too much. I found it perfectly pitched and it added an additional layer of depth and interest to the story.
The book is set throughout the sunny, summer days of a Somerset apple growing and pressing season, and includes a county fair, al fresco parties and lazy evenings in country beer gardens. The scent of the apples and flowers leaches out of the pages and I could hear the lazy buzzing of bees and feel the fizz of the cider on my tongue; a delightful and sensual read.
All in all, this book turned out to be a wonderful surprise, combining a delicious reminder of a warm English summer, a moving love story, with hidden depths that I wasn’t expecting. A very rewarding investment of a few hours reading.
Summer in the Orchard is out now and you can get a copy here.
To follow the rest of the tours, please check the poster below:
About the Author
Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.
Connect with Fay:
Facebook: Fay Keenan Author