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Coming Home to Roseford Villas by Fay Keenan #Review

  Today we return to the series by Fay Keenan set in the Somerset village of Roseford. Coming Home to Roseford Villas was published by Boldwood Books on 12th April.   Aurora Henderson and Leo McKendrick were love’s young dream when they first dated as teenagers. But like many a first love, parents, life, and distance got in the way, and the couple lost touch. Now, twenty years later, Aurora – Rory to her friends – needs a break. Burnt out from her teaching career and longing to write a novel, Rory heads to the idyllic village of Roseford for a summer of writing and relaxation. Leo needs a change too. Ex-pat life in Australia has come to a sticky end so the opportunity to run his family’s B&B, Roseford Villas, for the summer is too good to turn down. Neither Rory nor Leo believe in fate, but when Leo opens the door to his latest guest, he might just have to reconsider. And when a sultry summer fills with nostalgia and memories and six weeks flies by too fast, love’s young

Confetti and Confusion - The Paradise Cookery School by Daisy James ** Blog Tour Review & Extract**


I am very happy to be back in St Lucia for the second novel in Daisy James' Paradise Cookery School, Confetti and Confusion. As a taster, I have an extract for you to read. I reviewed the first in the series, Sunshine and Secrets and you can read my post here.
 

The Paradise Cookery School is officially open!


Stepping in for a celebrity chef, Millie Harper is feeling the pressure to make the first ever Paradise Cookery School classes a dazzling success and ensure that bride-to-be Imogen and friends have an unforgettable experience.

Meanwhile, Millie is trying to play it cool around handsome estate manager Zach Barker. But whenever he is near Millie cannot fail to notice the chemistry between them – until someone from Zach’s past arrives and any potential romance seems out of the question.

When disaster strikes and the wedding is in jeopardy, Millie realises she may have to go above and beyond to make sure the school is a success. Can Millie manage to create a day that dreams are made of, and will she find a way to tell Zach how she feels?


Allow yourself to be transported to the balmy St Lucian sunshine by his uplifting summer read – perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver and Sarah Morgan

Extract - Chapter Three


‘Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Paradise Cookery School!’ said Millie as she concertina-ed back the full-width French doors to allow the scant morning breeze into the kitchen.


‘Hi, Millie. Hi, Ella,’ chorused the enthusiastic bakers as they grabbed a freshly laundered apron each and made their way to their respective workstations.


‘I’m sorry, Millie, Mum can’t make it today,’ smirked Imogen, catching her sister’s eye. ‘She sends her apologies.’


‘So she should!’ laughed Karen. ‘I’ve never seen her as sozzled as she was last night.’


‘Yes, but don’t you think it’s romantic?’


‘Everything’s romantic to you at the moment, Immie. Anyway, it’s probably just a holiday fling.’


‘It might not be,’ interrupted Carla, tying her pale-lemon apron securely and slumping down on a bar stool, not looking exactly daisy-fresh herself.


Millie’s ears pricked up with interest. She loved engaging in a bit of harmless gossip and without her best friend Poppy around she had been starved of her regular fix. However, she was reluctant to intrude on family chatter that was none of her business. Fortunately, Karen wasn’t as circumspect with her mother’s privacy.


‘Would you believe that Mum bumped into an old flame in the hotel bar last night? Apparently, she and this guy called Brad Maxwell went to art school together – they even dated for a couple of months before they graduated. I remember Mum telling me about him the Christmas after Dad died when we were going through a box of old photographs. Brad left to take up an internship at a New York art gallery and asked Mum to go with him but she’d just been offered a job as a trainee interior designer at Liberty and their relationship sort of fizzled out because of the distance. Then she met Dad and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.’


‘He is kind of dreamy though, don’t you think?’ said Imogen, her chin cupped in her hand. ‘Sort of an older George Clooney. Mum’s definitely got excellent taste.’


‘Well, looking at their body language last night, they could have melted a chocolate bar at ten paces!’ grinned Harriet, as she gathered her copper-coloured hair up from her shoulders and tied it into a high ponytail.


‘Yes, well, she should be here instead of lolling around the pool nursing her headache,’ tutted Karen, clearly upset about her mother rekindling the friendship.


‘Well, she did promise to chase up the flowers with the wedding planner, didn’t she? And the personalised confetti. You know, Kaz, I’m started to think Mum’s right about her. She’s definitely been conspicuous by her absence since we arrived. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not as obsessed as Mum is about all the arrangements, but I would like to have a wedding bouquet and a couple of posies for my lovely bridesmaids and flower girl!’


‘Heaven help the woman if Julia finds out she’s forgotten to organise the butterflies!’ laughed Carla. ‘Maybe we’ll be able to round up a flotilla of turtle doves for you instead, Immie.’


‘I’m pleased Mum has reconnected with an old friend. She deserves a bit of romance after everything she’s been through. Dad’s been gone for three years now and she’s refused to even think about having dinner with anyone. She’s only forty-eight. I don’t want to think of her being alone for the rest of her life. I wonder if she’ll invite him as her plus one to the wedding?’


‘Immie! It was a drink, that’s all.’


‘And a walk round the grounds in the moonlight.’


‘Ah, she didn’t tell me that bit.’


‘Well, that’s probably because—’


‘Okay!’ interrupted Ella before the sisters embarked on a sibling squabble. ‘A very warm welcome to the second day of your Chocolate and Confetti course here at the Paradise Cookery School. Today we’re going to be showing you how to create a new twist on a Mississippi mud pie, experiment with a chocolate shortbread recipe my grandmother invented, and prepare a pina colada trifle made with chocolate custard and laced with Caribbean rum. So ladies, aprons on, let’s get started.’


All the women, apart from Gracie, who wore her pink glittery sandshoes with pride, had clearly learned a lesson from the previous day and had swapped their designer heels for embellished flip-flops or, in the case of Carla, neon-coloured Skechers. They watched in fascinated silence as Ella talked them through her family recipe, liberally interspersed with anecdotes about her childhood in St Lucia. Then it was over to them and, like the previous day, the burble of contented conversation accompanied the occasional burst of laughter as the students crafted their own, individual versions of the recipes.


Before they knew it, lunchtime arrived. Ella lit the barbeque on the veranda and set about grilling red snapper marinated in lime juice and diced chillies, tuna and chicken skewers coated in fresh mango salsa, and for dessert, bananas with their skins sliced open and stuffed with cubes of pineapple drizzled with honey. The aroma of chargrilled meat and fish wafted through the air as the party tucked in with gusto.


‘I love your earrings, Imogen. I’ve never seen anything like them.’


Ella was something of an aficionado of eclectic jewellery items and always sported a vast array of bold pieces, most of which had been hand-crafted by her friend Anisha, who had a shop in Soufrière. However, Millie had to agree with her. Imogen’s earrings-and-necklace combo was exquisite. The twisted silver links caught the midday sun, streaming through the French windows into the Paradise Cookery School’s kitchen, beautifully.


‘Thank you! I’m so pleased you said that,’ Imogen beamed. ‘These are from a brand-new range I designed myself especially for the bridal party, but after the wedding, I plan to roll them out to my clients.’


‘Ah, so you’re a jewellery designer?’


‘Yes, I trained as a silversmith. I mainly do commissions, but I’ve always wanted to move into the wider bridal jewellery market. Everything went manic when Pippa Middleton was photographed wearing one of my pieces at Wimbledon in July and now I can’t keep up with demand. It’s amazing and I’m so excited about the future. I’ve made our wedding rings, too.’


Millie’s heart softened at the excitement written across Imogen’s face when she spoke of her impending nuptials. She really did look like the happiest girl on the island, with a smattering of freckles on her upturned nose, and her hair smoothed down into an elegant chignon to combat the attack of frizz that was inevitable in the humidity of the Caribbean. Despite the fact that her mother had turned her wedding into a royal occasion, Imogen seemed to have taken it in good spirits. And why shouldn’t she? Millie had taken a quick peek at the website of the wedding venue. How could anyone complain about getting married in a magnificent white gazebo amid the lush manicured gardens of an upmarket St Lucian hotel?


‘Shall we get back to the kitchen?’ asked Ella, replenishing everyone’s glasses with home-made iced lemonade for them to take back to their benches.


‘What’s on the itinerary for this afternoon?’ asked Harriet, dabbing her lips with a napkin after her second helping of chocolate trifle and snatching up a white chocolate chip cookie to take back to her workstation with her.


‘Millie’s going to showcase her fabulous chocolate and orange lava fondants and then I’ll guide you through the most delectable chocolate tiramisu bombe – and you’ve guessed it – it’ll be soaked in Caribbean rum.’


The women set to work. The all-encompassing fragrance of warm cocoa and melted orange caramel was so intoxicating Millie wished someone would bottle it so she could feast her senses on it whenever she wanted. It would be instant happiness in a jar!

My Thoughts

I loved going back to the Caribbean to see what Millie was up to now. She's a thoroughly likeable heroine, who can think on her feet and adapt to any given situation. She may lack the organisation of some but can react to events. This makes her the saviour of several situations in this book. The setting on St Lucia is beautifully conjured up, full of sounds, scents and colour and you can really visualise the idyllic scenes. 
    There are lots of familiar faces to reacquaint with in this second novel and some lovely new ones as well through the wedding party who have signed up for the inaugural cookery course. There is some real humour to enjoy and I found it so easy to read- the words flew by and I read it in one sitting. I am looking forward to the next in the series, Mistletoe and Memories which is due out in September 2018.

In short: Sunshine soaked romance in the beautiful Caribbean.

About the Author

 
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

You can follow Daisy here:  Twitter  |  Facebook

Book links: Amazon UK   |  Kobo UK   |  Google Books UK 
                 |  Apple Books UK

Thanks to Daisy James and Ellie Pilcher of Canelo  for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.  

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Comments

  1. A huge thank you for being part of the Confetti & Confusion blog tour, Marianne. I'm delighted you enjoyed your trip to St Lucia. Love Daisy xx

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