I am an absolute sucker for a series of books and Jessica Redland won me over with her very first book in this series and I am always super excited to get my hands on the next one.
A wonderful story where we visit Sammie & Josh again in the lead up to their wedding and join them in the early few months of their marriage. A story full of love and sorrow, I found this a really emotional read in places and found it had such relevance in the story line and loved the way it unfolded.
I always love visiting the hedgehogs and the wonderful helpers that are sprinkled throughout the story and once again I was so sad to reach the end as it had totally held my attention and had me reaching for my book so I could keep reading.
I can’t wait to visit Hedgehog Hollow again but am sad that it will be our last visit to this wonderful host of characters.
Samantha has a secret. Returning home from her dream honeymoon to the normality of running her beloved Hedgehog Hollow rescue centre, she’s ready for the next chapter of her life with Josh. Or is she? Samantha is hiding something which could forever change the dreams they shared and bring their happy ever after crashing to the ground.
Lauren has given up on love. Twenty-six years ago the love of her life, Shaun, left her a note and was never seen again. Two painful divorces later she still can’t face opening up to anyone. But little does Lauren know that the closure she’s dreamt of for all these years may be closer than she thinks, and perhaps the only way to let new love in is to forgive and forget.
Samantha and Lauren will need the love and support from the Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever. After all, some dreams are worth chasing…
Available to purchase here
Meet the Author
Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.
I have read and loved books by Rosie Dean in the past and am delighted to be offering her a chance to talk about Vicki’s Work of Heart and what inspired the story as she celebrates it’s birthday with a Birthday Blitz.
Where did Vicki come from?
Straight off the bat – thank you, Kel, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. If I can ever return the favour – my blog is your blog.
Let me introduce you to Vicki Marchant, humble art teacher and jilted bride, and the heroine of Vicki’s Work of Heart.
When her marriage is blasted into the ether by her absent groom, she seizes her freedom and leaves teaching to paint – in France. It’s her time. Nobody is going to get in the way of her ambition. Definitely no men. Vicki learns two things: some men are difficult to resist, and choosing the right one is not always easy.
I have a huge soft spot for Vicki. It’s almost my story. Except that it isn’t.
I certainly used to be an art teacher and, like Vicki, I definitely knew the frustration of not being able to exercise my creativity because I had no spare time or not enough energy left at the end of the day. Let’s not beat about the bush – teaching in a high school is fun but exhausting. As soon as I came home, I’d sit down in the armchair and conk out. Me! Surely, that was what old folks did – fall asleep in front of the Six O’clock News – not me.
I also came out of a seven-year relationship, having thought I was going to get married, start a family etc. In truth, the decision was mine, I hadn’t been stranded at the altar but the result was the same. My plans had to be abandoned and I needed to start again.
So, in my downtime, I’d fantasize about moving to another country, where I could live cheaply on bread and cheese, washed down by cheap but warming wine, and spend my time painting. I’d have no responsibilities just freedom to pursue my art.
I would, of course, also be utterly stunning, with the kind of metabolism that would vaporize the calories from the Camembert and Pinot Noir. I’d be carefree, solvent and a complete man-magnet. However, I would be so into my artwork, I would swat these men out of my life and focus on my art. (Yes, you’re right, I’d also been in long-term relationships that hadn’t worked out.) No, my life would be much less complicated if I kept men at a distance. At least, until Mr-Utterly-Drop-dead-Gorgeous and Perfect-for-Me turned up. As he surely would.
So I built on that fantasy and started Vicki’s story.
I set it in France because the roots of Impressionism are there – which is my favourite artistic period. It’s a romantic country with beautiful scenery. The confections in their patisseries are beyond spectacular, and the men have the sexiest accents. No contest.
I also gave Vicki a positive, seize-the-day attitude because one thing I’ve learned is that making the most of the here-and-now is one of the best ways to keep going. But don’t panic! Vicki is no Pollyanna, she just learns how to dig into her little bag of grit when the going gets tough. And they do get tough, when she finds herself tangled up with the Wrong Guy, who seems hell-bent on screwing up the life of the Right Guy – if she only but knew it.
Ultimately, of course, she triumphs! So if you’ve ever dreamed about turning your back on the day job and following your dream, then you might just have something in common with Vicki too.
♥ ♥ ♥
Now fingers crossed after learning about what inspired Rosie to write this story, you will now feel inspired to read the story like me and meet Vicki for yourself. I have added the book blurb and purchase links below, so you can get stuck straight in.
Stranded at the altar, knee-deep in her fiancé’s gambling debts, Vicki Marchant seizes her freedom and moves to France, to paint. It’s her time. No man will get in the way of her ambition again. She learns two things: some men are hard to resist, and her judgement of them is still on the dodgy side.
Rosie Dean has been writing stories and plays since she was big enough to type. After studying ceramic design and gaining a ‘degree in crockery’ as the man in her life calls it, she became an Art & Pottery teacher. Seven years later, she moved into corporate world, writing training courses and marketing copy until the lure of being a full-time writer became irresistible.
Her passion is to write entertaining love stories that can make a reader chuckle, laugh out loud or, occasionally, feel a lump in the throat. Most of all, she loves developing the characters who inhabit her stories – eccentricities and screwball scenarios pop up in all of her work. Some of these characters have four legs – because animals offer an interesting counterpoint to human dramas.
Vicki’s story is close to Rosie’s heart. Once an art teacher herself, and going through a difficult time, she would dream of escaping it all to paint. From these dreams, she wrote Vicki’s Work of Heart
Rosie lives on the Isle of Wight, and can see the sea from her writing den.