Millie wants nothing more than to leave her current life behind and start over somewhere new, and Honeybourne seems to be the perfect place. After purchasing an old bakery that's in desperate need of renovation, Millie is focused on this new project of hers. The locals are friendly and welcoming and ready to give Millie a hand. Local playboy Dylan and his sister Jasmine immediately warm to the new girl in town but Millie seems a bit reserved and not yet ready to share her story. Until a familiar face from her past shows up in town, ready to disrupt Millie's new life, no matter what it takes.
I already expected this to be an enjoyable chick lit read, but I have to admit I enjoyed it even more than I anticipated. There was a good division between description and dialogue, chapters that are well-paced and of a good length, and just the kind of writing that made me feel as if I was flying through it while I was reading. The plotline (female protagonist wants to leave past behind, moves to small village where she starts her own bakery) isn't the most original one but the author gave it her own twist.
The book has a great character at its core in the form of Millie; I liked her but was also intrigued by her and wanted to know what had happened to her in the past, so that definitely kept me reading. As can be expected in a lovely town like Honeybourne, there are a number of fascinating and entertaining locals; I personally warmed most to Jasmine and Ruth, but I think there's something for everyone in there. I was surprised that the bakery didn't really play such an important role in the novel though. The Little Village Bakery ticks all the required boxes for a warm-hearted and simply great chick lit read and since it is only the first in a new book series by Tilly Tennant, I am already incredibly excited about what is still to come. (JoH)
Thirty-something Bonnie is a single mum to her 15-year-old daughter Paige who is obsessed with mega-popular boy band Every Which Way. However, Bonnie has a little secret of her own, namely that she herself also has a big crush on one of the singers in the band named Holden Finn. She secretly fantasises about meeting him, knowing it is just a silly crush. But then Paige unexpectedly wins a radio competition to meet Every Which Way together with her best friend, and Bonnie will be there to supervise them. Suddenly, Bonnie's fantasies of meeting Holden Finn aren't just silly fantasies anymore. Bonnie is a caring and warm person, and a single mum trying to deal with her teenage daughter Paige on her own.
I think most readers will be able to relate to Bonnie in a way, because don't we all have a secret celebrity crush? Next to Bonnie, the book is filled with wonderful secondary characters such as Max, the handsome deliveryman who seems to be kind of into Bonnie; Linda, Bonnie's loud but loveable colleague; and Jeanie, Bonnie's slightly eccentric but caring mother. A great bunch of characters who I instantly warmed to and wanted to learn more about.
Tilly Tennant's writing is so easy to get into; it literally felt like I was flying through the pages of the novel, but definitely in a good way. If I have to mention one point of criticism, it'd have to be the choice of title for the book. I expected the story to be all about Bonnie's infatuation with Holden Finn based on the title and the blurb, but the story was much more than just that and Holden was just one of the various aspects that is focused on. Overall, Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn is a light-hearted, warm and fun debut novel, and an entertaining read for chick lit fans. (JoH)