Apologies to everyone for the late posting of this review but I am delighted to finally be sharing my review of Heartcross Castle, the latest book in the Love Heart Lane series by Christie Barlow. Thank you to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and her patience in waiting for this review, and to the author and the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Apologies again for the delay in posting and thanks for your understanding.
Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what
A second chance…
When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?
And a forever home
Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse, mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home.
Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?
I am a huge fan of Christie’s Love Heart Lane series and I think this might be my favourite book in the series so far. It has the perfect combination of escapist setting, romantic tension, relatable characters and touching, emotional moments that make the ideal romantic read.
From the minute the book starts, Grace was a character that captured my heart and my sympathy, and I was with her on her journey throughout the book. As the mother of three young boys struggling with relationship issues, she feels so alone and I could relate to the sense of responsibility she felt for her kids, getting them out of the terrible situation they are in and building a better life for all of them. Christie really captures the agonies of being a single parent of young children, the heartbreak of not being able to give them everything you want them to have and having to deal with every crisis and problem by yourself, often not knowing how you are going to get through. You can really feel Grace’s pain through the pages.
Fans of the series will know that this is where the amazing community that Christie has built in Heartcross will come to the rescue. Honestly, it has now got to the stage that I have to remind myself that these are fictional characters and not a real set of people I am catching up with. I am so invested in this series and all the goings on in Heartcross that reading one of the books is like sitting down for a coy catch up with those old pals you having seen in a while but you know so well. The community welcomes Grace back with open arms and starts to help her rebuild, and it is nothing less than we expect.
The relationships in this book are what make it, and they are all beautiful. Grace and her boys, her old friends, and particularly that between Grace and Hector. Their interactions brought me to the verge of tears several times because the way they interacted was just so lovely. I love a book which explores relationships of all kinds, not just romantic ones, and this is where the people who are dismissive of romance novels are mistaken. There is always so much more going on in these books than a love story, and this book is a prime example of the complexity of issues that can be explored.
That’s not to say that the romance isn’t important. Andrew is a great love interest for Grace, but the romance is secondary to the other bonds Grace rediscovers in this book, and that is the way it should be. Romantic relationships are not the be all and end all of life, all our relationships support and nurture us in different and equally important ways.
Of course the setting is always a big draw in the Love Heart Lane books and, getting to explore inside the walls of Heartcross Castle was great fun. Christie has let her imagination run wild in the novel and has added all the fun quirks and secrets you would wish for in a Scottish castle. When I read things like this, it reminds me of the aspect of writing which most appeals to me, being able to create the world as you wish it existed, just because it makes you and your readers happy. This is what true escapism is, and escapist reading is sometimes just what we all need.
Heartcross Castle is out now in ebook and audiobook formats, and will be available in paperback in March. You can buy a copy here.
Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour:
About the Author
Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Connect with Christie:
Facebook: Christie Barlow