What if finding happiness was a race against time?
Grace Cavendish knows a thing or two about horses – but what she doesn’t know is that her husband, top horse racing trainer Charlie Carrisbrook, is having a literal ‘roll in the hay’ right under her nose.
When the painful truth is revealed Grace has no choice but to move in with her highly-strung grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie; a single mum who has renounced men (at least that’s what she says!)
Determined to start again, Grace takes a job at the local cafe, Number Five. And whilst serving up coffee and cake is a far cry from the stables, she enjoys it – especially as she gets to work alongside the rather scrumptious Sam Whittaker.
But the past is racing to catch up with Grace. Can her life still be a romp to victory or will a devastating secret stop her dead in her tracks?
I really enjoyed this debut novel from Lisa Hill. Set in the beautiful county of Gloucestershire, we are invited into the world of the Cavendish family. Matriarch Clara is 79, the doyenne of horse racing and a well-known owner and breeder. Currently her two granddaughters are living with her. Hemmie has left her trainer husband in Dubai and is seeking a divorce vowing she wants nothing more to do with men. Grace has just moved out of the family property Farrier’s Reach after discovering her trainer husband Charlie Carrisbrook has been having an affair with one of his staff, who is now pregnant.
Meet Me at Number Five has something for everyone and the bonus is we get TWO Choc Lit heroes for our money – American farrier Guy Lynch and restaurant owner Sam Whittaker. It’s a well-crafted story of family loyalties, romance and betrayal set against the glamorous world of horse racing. I loved Clara. She was a brave gutsy woman, facing a huge personal challenge. I also enjoyed the humorous banter between Hemmie and Grace. Hemmie, the eldest works at Cheltenham Race Course, while Grace, with her longing for parenthood now in tatters, has found a job waitressing for Sam at Number Five. However, despite their differences they soon get together to support their grandmother. Charlie was a particularly nasty individual – a wonderful antagonist with absolutely no redeeming features. I spent a good part of the book praying he got his comeuppance.
And, of course, we can’t forget those two gorgeous heroes – blond Guy who finds himself falling for Hemmie big time and the lovely brown haired Sam, who is not only keen to get his first Michelin star but also to capture Grace’s heart.
Meet Me at Number Five is an excellent debut novel with great characters and a page turning plot. A very worthy four star read.
My thanks to Choc Lit for an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Hill grew up in the village of Bussage, near Stroud, in the Cotswolds until she returned to Cheltenham as a teenager. She is married to her very own hero, Matt, and has three sons, Hamish, Archie and Laurence. Her first encounter of a romance author was chats over the garden wall between her father, Godfrey, and Mrs Cooper from the neighbouring village of Bisley. It came as quite a surprise in later life to find that Mrs Cooper was in fact Jilly Cooper! Lisa’s writing inspiration now comes from other Cotswolds authors including Jill Mansell and Katie Fforde.
Lisa writes contemporary romance with a light-hearted tone. What interests her most is people, their interactions, emotions and relationships. It’s probably why her career to date has been based in property; she confesses herself that she is ‘naturally curious’.
When she’s not busy writing, helping Matt run his electrical empire, or being her sons’ taxi service Lisa enjoys running with her gun dog, Sparky. They are both currently training for the Stroud half-marathon although Sparky’s motivation lies much more in chasing bunny rabbits.
Lisa is a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme and attributes this supportive and informative scheme to her winning the Choc Lit Search for a Star competition 2016 with her debut novel Meet Me at Number Five.