Milly Johnson – Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage

Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage

IMG_20160623_145804I’ve been looking forward to this book for ages, and it finally came out last Thursday. And for the first time, I went to meet Milly Johnson to get my copy signed! I was the second person in the queue and so excited to meet her, and she was just as lovely as I thought she would be!

We start the book with Viv, driving into a lovely (albeit extremely foggy) village called Ironmist, looking for her new job at Wildflower Cottage, an animal sanctuary. Viv is a very mysterious character, we find out that she doesn’t like animals, so it’s weird that she’d accept such a low-paying job in the sanctuary, even if it is just an admin job. To begin with, we’re left completely in the dark as to her true motives for being in Ironmist, and she remains an elusive character until much further through the book.

When Viv arrives at the cottage, she meets a lovely lady called Geraldine, who is completely attached to the cottage, but also seems to have secrets of her own. And she hears all about the owner of the sanctuary Heath, imagining him as a grumpy curmudgeonly old man. And it turns out that while she might have got the personality right, he’s most definitely not old, he’s a gorgeous young man, and it’s only his stroppy personality that stops Viv from falling head over heels for him at first sight. Well, that and whatever is her actual reason for coming to Ironmist. It doesn’t seem like she’s set on putting down roots here, just get what she wants and leave.

As well as Viv, we also follow the lives of Viv’s mum Stel and her group of friends, who call themselves the Old Spice Girls. Stel is a hopeless romantic, seeming to fall instantly in love with anyone who pays her attention, no matter how bad for her they turn out to be. But when she falls for Ian, the gardener at the hospice she works for, it looks like her luck has changed, he seems perfect!

But one thing we learn from Stel and her group of friends is that you might think that someone’s life is perfect, but you can only see what they let you see, and you don’t know what they’ve been through to get to the life they’re living now. As the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Everyone has secrets and it’s up to them when they choose to share them, all you can do is be a good friend until they’re ready.

I found this book completely gripping, full of romance, mystery, suspense, drama, friendship and of course, a gorgeous location! If I wasn’t on so many painkillers at the moment after my recent hospital stay and still falling asleep all the time, I would have devoured this book in one sitting!

I’d definitely recommend this book to any Milly fans, and anyone that loves a romance with a twist, it was a lovely, lovely book, probably my favourite Milly book so far!

My favourite quote came from the first page of the book, it really struck a chord with me:

“It looked both beautiful and weird; but then weird was good sometimes.”

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 2016
Number of Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
Date Read: 17th June 2016 – 23rd June 2016
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.5
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Review: Milly Johnson – The Teashop on the Corner

Milly Johnson - The Teashop on the CornerI’ve loved Milly Johnson ever since I first read The Yorkshire Pudding Club in a random set of books ordered from The Book People, and I can’t see that love diminishing any time soon, quite the opposite in fact! I could honestly read Milly’s books all day every day, although my poor to-read shelf wouldn’t be very happy about it if I did!

I read a lot of tweets in the build up to the book launch, which ramped up my excitement for the new book. I would have loved to make it to the actual launch event, but sadly I had to work. Next time, I’ll be there no matter what!

I knew just from the title of the book that it was going to combine two of my favourite things: books and tea, but the teashop sounded more delightful than I could have imagined; with all the lovely classic book themed stationery on sale, it sounded like my idea of heaven! If it actually existed I don’t think I’d ever want to leave, and that’s without meeting the lovely owner and her patrons who very quickly become treasured friends.

The book had everything I wanted from a book; happiness, romance, surprise and an (eventual) happy ending. Of course the happy parts wouldn’t be quite so happy if there weren’t sad parts to balance them out (after all, nobody has a perfect life), and this book contained plenty of that too. Each character is battling some demons in their life, things that have left their life in turmoil and in need of a fresh start. And some seem to be battling things that they’re not ready to talk about yet, although in true-to-life style, nothing can stay secret forever and facing up to the truth comes sooner than expected.

I wish I’d saved the final chapters of the book until I got home curled up with a cup of tea, rather than reading it at my desk on my lunch break at work and trying to hold in the tears. I felt a little emotionally battered at the end, put through a wringer and spat out the other side.

Milly has a knack of writing characters that I can instantly relate to. Not because I’ve been through the same things that they have, but because their life and their situations are written so intricately that you feel like you know each and every one of them personally.

I also love the fact that Milly is from Yorkshire and proud (just like me), and she uses Yorkshire front and centre in her books, unlike some authors who pander to the city-masses and set their books in London. Yorkshire is such a beautiful place, why would you want not want to use it as a backdrop for such a fantastic story?! It definitely wouldn’t have been the same if it had been set in a big city, the Yorkshire village backdrop is perfect for the characters who converge in the teashop.

Usually when a book is written from more than one perspective, I have characters that I prefer to read, and sometimes a character who I tend to read more quickly because I just want to get back to the others, but I didn’t find that at all, each character had something in them that made me want to get to know them more. As I said before, I really wish that the teashop existed, although if it did I’d be bankrupt within weeks with all the lovely book related items that are on sale!

I’m probably gushing a bit too much now and I should probably stop, but I have nothing but good things to say about Milly Johnson and her latest book. Time to dig up the back-catalogue and pick up the few books that I have left to read!

5/5