Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for The Village Inn of Secret Dreams by Alison Sherlock.
The Village Inn of Secret Dreams
Brand NEW from the bestselling author of The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts.
After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found … quickly. So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with. But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.
Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?
As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.
A sweet and relaxing, clean romance with a focus on community spirit and friendships!
First of all, I adore the title and the cover-lovely and atmospheric, they do set you in the right mood for reading this book. The Vilage Inn of Secret Dreams is the third book in the Riverside Lane series which focuses on four friends (Amber, Lucy, Belle and Molly) who live in a picturesque village of Cranbridge. If you have read the previous stories, you will be delighted to see the familiar faces. If not,don’t worry, it can be easily read as a standalone.
This time it’s Belle Clarke’s turn to find her own happily-ever-after in her beloved Cranbridge. Belle has a propensity for wearing dark colours as if she doesn’t want to draw any attention to herself and once you get to know her family story, it’s easy to understand. She was sent away by her parents to live with her uncle and aunt, the owners of the only pub in the village. The Black Swan is in a desperate need of renovation and, to be honest, a new chef, as Belle’s aunt can’t cook to save her own life. The financial situation is so desperate that it looks like the pub will have to be sold. What will Belle do then and where will she live? Pete Kennedy, Amber’s future brother-in-law and Belle’s childhood friend, comes back home from Singapore and offers to buy the inn out, but he and Belle may have slightly different ideas about the inn’s future…
I really enjoyed the setting and the heart-warming focus on the community this book has. Alison Sherlock touches upon some heavy topics-e.g. loneliness in the old age, youth unemployment, marital strife- but she does it with a light hand and sensitivity.
The protagonists were sweet and it was very easy to root for them. Belle, perhaps, was a bit quick to jump to conclusions, but otherwise, their romance developed naturally and realistically. I really sympathised with the main characters-Belle for her desire to live in a safe, friendly place she calls her home and give her best to the community, and Pete for his courage to try something new and then being able to learn from his mistakes (he is really a very likeable character!). You can’t write a book about a village without a large cast of secondary characters, but it didn’t feel overwhelming or confusing at any point- quite the opposite. Grandma Tilly and Amber are probably my favourite, but it was a hard choice to name just a few.
Can’t wait to come back to Cranbridge for the next story!
Author Bio – Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold village and the first title was published in July 2020.
Thank you for reading the post! Have a wonderful Tuesday!