The sky is cornflower blue, the air is scented with the smell of fresh apple blossom and Lizzie Lovell can’t wait to start her new life in the mill on Magnolia Lane. But is she just about to fall in love with someone she shouldn’t?
When Lizzie loses her larger-than-life Dad she doesn’t know how to move forward. Encouraged by a childhood dream she shared with her beloved father, she is determined to continue his legacy and moves to the old Mill on Magnolia Lane, a place he had always longed to own.
Restoring the old windmill is a much bigger job than Lizzie bargained for, especially when she is distracted by her new next door neighbour Jude, who has temptingly twinkly eyes and a body to die for. But when Jude’s ex- girlfriend Harriet arrives back on the scene, Lizzie begins to wonder if life wasn’t far simpler before she moved to the mill. Especially when it emerges that Harriet knows something about Jude’s past, something that could shatter her new start and her heart into smithereens …
It’s publication day for The Mill on Magnolia Lane, the latest book by Tilly Tennant so I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour on this special day. Happy Publication Day, Tilly! Huge thanks to Noelle Holten of Bookouture for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I know there will be a lot of people out there who, like me, are huge fans of Tilly Tennant and who will be waiting eagerly for this new book and I can confirm that I don’t think they will be disappointed by her latest offering.
This book joins Lizzie at a very sad time in her life when she has just lost her dad and she is feeling a little adrift. She decides to buy the derelict old mill on Magnolia Lane that her father always longed to own and decides to renovate it in his honour, and so her adventure starts. Living in a cramped caravan onsite, trying to deal with all the issues that inevitably come with restoring a crumbling, old building and dealing with her dishy neighbour and her fractured family in to the bargain was never going to be plain sailing.
Having built by own house from scratch (not literally, of course, I had builders!), I could relate to Lizzie’s dilemmas in the book and thought Tilly captured the problems with taking on a huge building project very well and it was a great driver for the book. The parts describing the renovation of the mill were some of my favourites in the book and anyone who enjoys these kind of stories about the renovation of old buildings, breathing new life into the and, thus, bringing to life the hopes and dreams for the future of the owners (because that is what building or renovating a house is, trying to bring to life your dream home) will love this book.
Although this is a romance, it is actually a book more about family relationships and how turbulent they can be and how we need to work at them sometimes, but that it can be worth it. Lizzie has a very troubled family. Divorce has led to conflict between her mother and siblings and her stepmother, to whom Lizzie alone is friendly and this causes friction. Lizzie’s stepmother was actually one of my favourite characters in the book and I loved the scenes she was in. Lizzie’s sister is high maintenance, and comes into the book with a lot of issues which she then burdens her sister with. All of this rang very true to life and brought a really interesting thread of questions and plot and tension to the book. It felt like a realistic portrayal of family to me. I thought the issues regarding Lizzie’s brother were rather glossed over or rushed and could have been developed more fully if they were to be included but I loved the rest of it.
For me, surprisingly, the romantic part of the book was the least compelling on this occasion. Part of the problem was that it just developed too quickly. I mean, unrealistically quickly. You really need to suspend your disbelief to buy in to this one, or maybe I am just old and jaded, who knows. Given her past history, I wasn’t quite buying it, particularly given the peculiar situation with Jude and his ex, Harriet. I didn’t blame Lizzie for her misgivings over that, although I did think that exploring this kind of situation was an interesting and relevant idea, as this is so common these days and something I have experienced myself but the portrayal didn’t quite ring true. Part of the problem was that Jude wasn’t quite doing it for me in his obliviousness. I did absolutely love Charlie as a character though, I could have read about him all day long. However, we all know that what we find compelling about men in books is very subjective (am I the only one who didn’t fall for Mr Rochester?), just as it is in real life. If we all liked the same, we’d be fighting over a very small pool of eligible men!
This is a really charming, summer read with a lot of strong points and an interesting premise that I know fans of Tilly will enjoy. Her appealing, breezy writing style is present and as strong as always and it is an easy and fun read. Just maybe one beat from perfect for me, but only for very personal reasons. You must read it and judge for yourself.
The Mill on Magnolia Lane is out today and you can get a copy here.
To follow the rest of the tour, see the stops detailed below:
About the Author
Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.
Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her next Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier.
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Facebook: Tilly Tennant