Monday 9 September 2013

Review of Abby Clement's Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream

Wow, Abby Clements has been a very busy writer recently! After releasing her first debut novel Meet Me Under The Mistletoe, she released her second book, Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop in June. Only a mere few months later and she's set to release her THIRD novel, Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream, a perfect cold weather read just in time for these Autumn months. That would make two books released in only three months. Very impressive.

This story is all about a couple upping sticks and moving to the countryside for a change - living in a beautiful countryside cottage surrounded by nature is every girls dream, right? Unfortunately, the reality is far from Amelia's lifetime dream and soon she finds that to get what you want, you've got to go through a lot of work to get there first.

The blurb reads -

Amelia has a dream: toating chesnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world - a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.

They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they'd anticipated. On top of that, there's Amelia's newly loved-up mum and her tearaway half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with - pushing Amelia and Jack's marriage to breaking point.

Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage's previous owner - and a hidden secret. As Amelia's ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?

I finally finished this story today in the way it was probably intended to be read - curled up warm in bed with a cuppa and the rain pouring down inside. It would have been perfect if this book arrived when I was house sitting for my sister because I can't imagine how nice it would have been reading about a cottage makeover when staying in one myself.

Firstly, I really loved the cover of this book. Similar to Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop, I really loved how this book kind of seemed to be a contrast of that. Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop was the perfect summer read and the cover reflected that with a vintage feel to it and the use of pastel ice cream colours. In contrast, this book's cover is the perfect mirror of what's inside - an Autumn read - and this cover features lots of lovely warm colours and features things like wellington boots and glasses of wine that indicates what Amelia's 'fireside dream' is all about. And again, the vintage feel to the cover works perfectly too because the book is all about a vintage cottage. 

Even though the characters are different and it's two completely different stories, it's really nice that both books have stuck to that theme so to speak, the one that assoisiates Abby Clements and her stories perfectly.

The storyline really captivated me and not just because of how realistic it was. In all honesty, at being only 23 years old myself, a lot of the things in this story isn't something that would affect me directly at this age such as moving to the countryside, marriage etc but because it's something I'd hope to one day see in my future - I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to one day move to a cosy cottage in the idylic countryside - the story was still really interesting to me.

Abby Clements dealt with some of the problems of chasing your dream head on and I really loved that. The main character, Amelia, had to go through a lot to achieve her ultimate dream but even though she wanted to give up at times and felt she was on her own, she still stuck it out. I really admired her character for that and thought the whole story had a lovely message behind it regarding this. In a way I think this book kind of dealt with what comes after the happy ever after too - Amelia is already married and settled, but when it comes to taking another big step like moving to a new home, we start to understand that is isn't just plain sailing - but the end result IS worth it.

Amelia was a warm, determined and inviting character. She had so many great characteristics about her - she was inspiring and saw the good in everyone, she was hard working and ambitious but most importantly she was still human. We still saw that at times she admitted to finding things hard, she still got carried away on spending their budget on lovely things for the home and she accepted responsibility for these actions as well rather then just brushing them off. This was another inspiring message which I liked.

Jack was another great character who was a real gentlemen and a very supporting husband. I would have liked to have read a little more about his character and got into his head more when things started to get tough, but I also enjoyed how his character was very realistic too. Unlike the usual chick lit dream man, he kept a level head through most of the story, keeping Amelia grounded when it came to the makeover of the cottage. This meant the characters worked well together and, furthermore, his character was probably a perfect example of the actual dream man that should be featured more in chick lits.

I loved the little side stories that took place in this novel too - the original home owners past, Amelia's friends who were having a baby or having love life issues of their own - the storylines were featured just enough to mix the book up a bit without directing my attention way from the actual storyline at hand.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and it helped me scope out what I hope my future may one day be like, if I'm willing to put in the work that is! It was inspiring and a really nice warm hearted tale which made it the ultimate perfect Autumn read for me.

You can pre order purchase Abby Clements Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream on Amazon.
The book will be released on 26th September.

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