Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Penguin (10 May 2012)
‘If I’m being totally honest I had fantasized about Phil dying.’
When Poppy Shilling’s bike-besotted, Lycra-clad husband is killed in a freak accident, she can’t help feeling a guilty sense of relief. For at long last she’s released from a controlling and loveless marriage.
Throwing herself wholeheartedly into village life, she’s determined to start over. And sure enough, everyone from Luke the sexy church organist to Bob the resident oddball, is taking note. Yet the one man Poppy can’t take her eyes off seems tantalizingly out of reach – why won’t he let go of his glamorous ex-wife?
But just as she’s ready to dip her toes in the water, the discovery of a dark secret about her late husband shatters Poppy’s confidence. Does she really have the courage to risk her heart again? Because Poppy wants a lot more than just a rural affair . . .
The first part of the story sets the scene for the reader of the type of man Phil was and the relationship Poppy had with him. We get to know about how they met and where Poppy was in her life when that happened. Finding out more about Poppy’s own childhood we also come to understand why she needed the supposed predictability and dominance of Phil.
Even though Poppy lives for her children and has very little confidence when Phil is alive, after his death and his secret is revealed she questions everything about herself. We follow Poppy on her journey of pulling herself together amidst village life and surrounded by her friends.
Written in the first person, it is very easy to identify with Poppy. Easily influenced by those closest to her because she can see the sense of what they are saying, she nevertheless makes her own decisions when the time is right. The characters in the village are stereotypical and therefore very believable. Best friend Jennie (and her family) also add drama and humour to the plot. My favourite character just has to be Poppy’s father. Loved his eccentricity and the easy relationship she has with him.
The plot and it’s sub-plots are introduced quite speedily which I found left no part where sometimes, you might feel as if you are just coasting along, filling time. In places the story is quite poignant and in others rip-roaringly funny. The hunt had me belly-laughing as did Jennie’s husband Dan being escorted from the train station.
A Rural Affair is very entertaining. It’s the type of book that it’s easy to become engrossed in, losing track of time – the style of writing as well as the content moves the reader fluently along.
Definitely recommend you pick this one up for your summer holiday.
Also available at The Book Depository £6.42
I would like to thank Penguin for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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