Book: 432 pages (Paperback and eBook)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (20th April 2017)
Meet the residents of number 24 in the warm, witty and wonderful new novel from bestselling author Juliet Ashton.
When your marriage falls apart, the last place you’d want your husband to move to is downstairs. Unfortunately for Sarah, up in the eaves at number 24, her ex-husband now lives one floor beneath her with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her.
A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?
The Spring brings a new couple to the house. Jane and Tom’s zest for life revives the flagging spirits, and Sarah can’t deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she’ll never act on it … but the air fizzes with potential.
The sunshine doesn’t reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She’s about to find out that she can’t hide forever.
This is only the second of Juliet’s (or any of her aliases) book’s that I have read and I LOVED IT! I only became aware of Juliet at last year’s Team Books and the City’s Spring Blogger event where we were given a copy of Juliet’s latest book These Days of Ours which I loved! At this year’s Spring Blogger event, we were given a Chapter Sample of the new book and then a few weeks ago, an actual proper, real copy (made of paper) arrived in the post – along with some fortune cookies (which my 8 yr old ate!) The Fortune Cookies were relevant as each chapter starts with a page from a Chinese Takeaway calendar, along with prophetic words of wisdom (much like Juliet’s last book had various event invitations to head up the chapters).
The story starts with Sarah, who is attending a wedding. The wedding of her ex husband Leo, who she has only just divorced. He is marrying his mistress (ouch)…..oh, and he lives in the flat downstairs!!! Sarah then bumps in to the miserable old lady who lives downstairs – Mavis – and discovers she has two new neighbours – Jane & Tom Boyce – moving in to her friend Smith’s old flat. We discover that Sarah is struggling in her work as a Child Therapist with CAMHS and is struggling to get over her relationship with Leo and how it ended.
Throughout the story, Sarah tries to revisit her past – making me scream at her (in my head) “NO NO NO He’s a twat!” and tries to make peace with herself. By redecorating her flat and depersonalising it, ready to sell and move on, she makes her house a home and manages to reconcile her thoughts in her own head, and reconcile her heart with her head so she can move forwards.
We also see Sarah warm to, and thaw out, the frosty Mavis from the basement flat – but is Mavis all she seems to be? Who knows! Sarah also starts to fall for Tom, her friend Jane’s hunky husband, and we see how Sarah is a woman of integrity when she puts her friendship above her feelings – will she later regret this? Along the way, Tom and Sarah bond over a hedgehog and also help young resident, Una, to find her voice again following the messy breakup of her own broken parents.
A fantastically lovely story about friendship, love, finding peace and moving on all set in a miniature community within the walls of number 24, in the heart of Nottinghill.
I loved this book, and I can not wait for Juliet’s next book. A perfect read come Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, but if you are looking for a summer holiday read, I recommend this one!