When you open up your home and your heart …
Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.
But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.
To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy of Magnolia House, Angela Barton’s latest novel from Choc Lit Ruby. I’d read Arlette’s Story and loved it but realised this was going to be completely different. Magnolia House is set in modern day London. Tom and Rowan Forrester have purchased a dilapidated Georgian town house near Clapham Common which they have completely renovated. Tom has a thriving photographic business and Rowan makes jewellery. Relocating from Cheshire with their spaniel Jet they look forward to settling into their new home and having Tom’s sister Libby and husband David as close neighbours. Rowan dreams of starting a family, but in the blink of an eye, everything she holds dear is ripped away from her.
I was rooting for Rowan all the way. She’s a strong character and needs to be after going through such overwhelming life changing experiences. Although sister in law Libby is there for her, she has her own problems and a marriage spiralling out of control. When Magnolia House is turned into three flats, Rowan takes on two tenants: Mason ‘call me Ace’ – an outrageously camp character who runs a vintage clothing store and loves colourful designer clothes – and Nora. Nora is a part time model and single mum to toddler Primrose.
I’m not going into any more detail, only to say there’s a huge range of emotions here: love, humour, betrayal , deception with some suspense stirred into the mix. I mentioned love? Well that comes in the form of Ace’s younger brother James, newly returned from America and staying with him for a while. As we know the course of love has a reputation for being bumpy and just as Rowan begins to form an attachment to James, in walks his ex- Helen who makes no bones about wanting him back. And as for suspense, who is the anonymous person sending cryptic messages to Rowan through the post, and why?
The characters are well written and the story pulls you in right from the beginning – in fact at times I honestly felt quite frustrated having to leave my Kindle to do other things. The settings were vividly brought to life too, whether I was dog walking on Clapham Common with Jet or wandering through a French market with Rowan during her holiday with her parents.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable four-year-old twin granddaughters. Angela is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching facts for her novels. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Choc Lit’s new imprint, Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a lovely team.
Angela and her husband, Paul, recently moved to France and planted a lavender field. She’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the beautiful Charente countryside working from her new writing room, a beautiful shepherd hut. Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.