By Holly Martin
I don’t know how it happened but it was an absolutely wonderful day when I was asked by one of my favourite authors to write a review of her latest book. As a book reviewer, it is wonderful when you get approached to review a book. I don’t do blog as a business or for a fee, I just do it for my love of books and reading, and to be asked to do a review is, just, well it’s wonderful. So to be asked again, is a dream come true!
I couldn’t wait to start my new book, and Holly has wrote a beautiful, funny and lively story. Once again, I started and I couldn’t put it down.
As you are all aware by now, the plot of a book can be similar to others but I will still fall in love with it, if I can fall in love with the characters. Personality, character development and chemistry are all huge priorities for me. Holly ticks all these boxes and always delivers a wonderful storyline too, so I have no need to worry.
Willow has taken a leap of faith and moved to a little village called Happiness to start afresh after her long term relationship ended in a disastrous failed engagement. To avoid the stares, the gossips and the humiliation, not that she was too bothered but the break up, but gossip can take a while to disappear. She has taken a chance to move rent free to Happiness for a year to help the village grow. She has no idea what to expect and is slightly shocked to see the state of the village, however she is soon distracted by the presence of the very attractive and kind estate manager Andrew.
When I started The Little Village of Happiness I wasn’t sure about Willow, but it only took until the second chapter to fall deeply in love with her. Willow’s positive outlook in life, combined with her ability to not just see the beauty in the world, but also see the negatives and sadness and turn it into a positive experience is wonderful. She is a bubbly, flirty bundle of energy, I can relate to on a personal level.
Andrew might be the perfect literary man! I have never been instantly attracted by a character as much as am I to him. He is absolute perfection, he obviously makes a few mistakes but he owns them straight away and there is nothing more attractive than that. Between the two main characters, Willow has my heart. To move to some where new, taking a leap of faith and trying out new experiences, is incredible. I was in awe of her quirky, happy go lucky attitude throughout the whole book.
I love this style of book so I knew I was going to enjoy it before I even started to read it. But every author brings something new to the table when it comes to chick lit and Holly does it like no other. The Little Village of Happiness sounds so beautiful, I want to discover it for myself and pack up my bags and head there. I am not sure I would be able to add anything productive in a business sense to the village, but I think I would really fit in with the villagers. Throughout the story, I adore how it isn’t just the romance blossoming between our two protagonists that make this story shine. The idea of bringing happiness back to Happiness, and encouraging community spirit within the village is absolutely beautiful.
All the little tiny details in this story are what make it special, it is also these wonderful additions that will make me pick it up to read it again and again, and recommend it to other people. I love how Holly’s characters always add something new and different to the book. Willow is a small business owner, she makes candles. How cute and adorable is this, but also such a good business for a crafty person, but not something you might read about. There is an artist within the village, landlord and lady of the local pub, and the post lady controls the post office with a record book and a friendly face. How unusual but so quaint. Romance blossoms for a senior couple, and Willows friend Ruby might even find love in the village. Every little thing that happens, comes together to make this a really cute but wonderful story.
My final comment is about Andrews character being deaf, obviously this a huge part of his character and something that drives the story. Personally I have no experience with deaf people similar to Holly, (she mentions in her comment that she doesn’t either) and she was worried about writing this character. But I think it is awesome she still has chosen to write Andrew and with such confidence. I don’t know any deaf people but I have friends who have been labelled for other reasons, and I think Holly’s approach in this story is spot on; seeing deafness as something that is just part of a person, not a negative, not something to be ashamed of, but something we should empathise with and help/encourage if we can, not judge someone or alter our behaviour because of it. This is absolutely the best part of this book for me. Willows speech to a Ruby regarding Poppy is a truly inspiration and outstanding message and I think more people need to hear it.
“And stop with the ‘poor girl’ crap, Deaf people don’t need or want our pity, they don’t want to be labelled as an abnormality or different. They just want understanding, to have the same opportunities as us, to have access to the same stuff that we do. And sometimes that can be difficult for the, but they want empathy not sympathy.” Its a beautifully written speech, and shows Willows, and through her Hollys view of the world and it really impressed me. The whole book has left a lasting impression of kindness, understanding and empathy with me, and I think everyone should read it.
I adore Holly Martin and I love this book and I cannot wait for the next instalment to see what happens between Ruby and Jacob. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the residents of Happiness. I especially liked the idea of secret gifts; what a wonderful idea to spread community spirit and joy. My favourite is Roger asking for a Chris Hemsworth half naked calendar, I can fully appreciate that gift.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5/5 stars. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a cute, romantic easy read. Would be ideal to take on a summer holiday.