Oxford tour guide Floriana receives a wedding invitation from her former best friend Seb. She is so distracted thinking about him getting back in touch after two years apart, that she walks out in front of a car. Luckily, two people rush to her aid - elderly lady Esme and newly single property developer Adam. The trio form an unlikely friendship, which leads to them all heading to Lake Como for the wedding. Perhaps it will be Esme's chance to find out what happened to a charming Italian man she met many summers ago. This is a lovely story from a superb storyteller, with the main characters bursting with kindness. The flashbacks to Esme's time in Lake Como were particularly enjoyable.
Embroiled in family problems between her youngest daughter and her husband, disclosed at a birthday party for her oldest son, Mia Channing is once again the acting peacemaker. She longs to escape from what appears to be an idyllic lifestyle with three grown-up children that she adores and a successful husband. She realises that she needs to do something for herself at long last. When Owen Fletcher realises his boyhood dream of buying the neighbouring Hidden Cottage, gradually a friendship builds up and Mia's life changes in a way that she does not want to give up. She realises her life of compromise is deeply unsatisfying. This is a tender love story with family, relationships and responsibility at its heart. It's the tried-and-tested Erica James formula with characters that are endearing and believable and there are more than a few surprises and twists and turns that make you want to keep on turning the pages. (JH)
A trip to a solicitor's office a year after her mother's death reveals that Katie's late dad was not actually her biological father. Instead her mother had an affair with her boss, Stirling Nightingale, who has set up a trust fund for the child he has never seen. With no pressure for Katie to make contact with him, she decides she is curious enough to just observe him from a distance. But when she arrives at his property in Henley-on-Thames, somehow she is swept into waitressing at the 90th birthday party for his mother Cecily. Soon Katie finds that she can't just remain as an observer. But with a tragedy and its aftershocks rocking the Nightingales, not all are happy to welcome the latest addition into the family. This is an intriguing story about a girl trying to find her place in a family she never knew she had - and a family trying to deal with secrets it never knew it had.
House cleaner Maggie promises to stand up for herself more, particularly around her pushy, rude clients, slobby husband Dave and obnoxious mother-in-law Brenda. Businessman Ethan, who is married to one of Maggie's rudest clients, Francine, aims to stay away from other women. But his pledge is tested when he meets Ella, the painting specialist hired by the free-spending Francine for yet another spot of redecorating. But Ella - who has just ended a seven-year-relationship with widower Lawrence, finally driven away by his non-accepting daughter Alexis - has vowed to let her head rule over her heart for once. Read this for its characters, including the appalling Francine and her vengeful neighbour, Christine. For readers who have found James' books always offer the promise of a good read - this one won't let you down either.
Screenwriter Clayton Miller is hiding out in a remote country house after committing a rather public fall from grace. Voiceover artist Alice used to live at Cuckoo House - not that she wants anyone to know that - and returns to her childhood home as a cleaner. After a less-than-stellar beginning, Clayton and Alice hit it off and eventually reveal their secrets to each other, explaining what caused Alice's family life to disintegrate and why Clayton has become such a reviled figure. In this case, Erica James is the queen of intriguing beginnings - and you'll enjoy the characters' journey out of isolation - starting with Clayton's obituary-writing funk and Alice's Latvian pretence - to a happier ending.
It's been several years since Dan and Sally, and their friend Chloe, survived the Boxing Day tsunami. Dan and Sally now have a little boy, Marcus, conceived in the disaster's aftermath - Dan is a stay-at-home dad while Sally is rarely home as she spends long hours working as a divorce lawyer. Chloe, who followed her father's footsteps into his medical practice, is single - after her long-term boyfriend dumped her when they returned from their life-changing experience in Phuket. When she meets Seth, everyone including Chloe is hoping he may be The One. But there's something Seth hasn't been upfront about. And Sally is going to get caught up in an act of deception.
After the tragic deaths of her sister and sister’s husband, Harriet Swift has not much time for mourning. She is taking care of their children just as she had long promised to do. Her whole life plan has had to change - career, boyfriend and her lifestyle. And the fact that her sister was having an affair is not helping at all, and she is determined to find out who it was. Harriet’s new neighbour Will Hart, a father of teenagers, not only becomes a friend, but also something more. Will the two of them have a chance for happiness in all the sorrow? This is a warm, wonderful story about family, loyalty and love with unexpected twists. Every woman will quickly relate to Harriet – she’s a strong and beautiful character. (MH)
A group of diverse people are drawn together through a creative writing group called Hidden Talents. There's group leader Dulcie, who is having an affair with a married man. Widow Beth is needing a new challenge in life as her son Nathan is finishing off school. And she may just find that through an online friendship with another aspiring author. Realtor Jack is getting over his wife leaving him for his best friend while the youngest member of the group, 17-year-old Jaz, uses her writing as a refuge from her big boisterous family. And then there's pompous Victor who is convinced he's got a bestseller on his hands. The group forge close ties as they deal with numerous trials and tribulations.