Kate Forster – Starting Over at Acorn Cottage
About the author
Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.
About the book
Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it's the only way forward.
Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper... Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn't sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!
Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can't deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart...
With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?
Naomi and Henry had met in art school when Henry was studying to be a sculptor, and Naomi was studying painting. He swapped to fine art to be near her. She won the art prize at college and he won her heart. They graduated happy, in love and ready to share their creativity with the world. The first work of art they brought into the world was born just after midnight during a balsamic moon. They named her Pansy Jean Garnett and she was everything they had hoped for and more.
With their van and Henry doing odd jobs and Naomi painting, it was an idyllic life, with hopes to save enough money to buy a little cottage one day for them to settle down in as a family.
It was funny how life knew exactly where to place the cuts to make you bleed and hurt the most, thought Henry as he drove towards a small village called Merryknowe. He was to give a quote on a thatched cottage for a woman who had emailed him saying there was a hole in the roof.
Probably a weekender. He glanced at Pansy asleep in the seat behind him, her copper curls falling over her face, the curls he hadn’t been able to tame as Naomi had.
Henry drove into the dull little village and found a parking spot big enough for the van and checked the time. He had to quote a job tomorrow morning at a nearby house so thought he would stay in the area for the night.
He looked up and down the grey street. A few shops but nothing thrilling and certainly nothing that would make you want to stay. Some villages were so picturesque they looked like something from the front of a chocolate box, and others were a mix of function and frill, but Henry wasn’t sure if Merryknowe had ever had any frill because it certainly didn’t have any function.
A pub. A post office. A tearoom and a bakery and a few other little shops dotted the street. A small creek ran alongside the main road, with a green grassy bank and a stone bridge barely big enough for his trailer to cross.
‘Let’s get something nice for lunch,’ he said to Pansy, who was waking up.
‘Can I have cake?’ she asked sleepily.
‘Yes, my little Marie Antoinette, you may have cake but after something that isn’t cake, okay?’
After gently unstrapping her from her seat he carried her out of the car and looked around.
Pansy grumbled something into his neck and then pushed herself out of his arms and jumped down onto the pavement.
He missed the days when she was little enough for him to carry her in the backpack. Now she was independent, he worried she would wander off on a job, or onto the street and be hurt by a car.
Although he had to admit, this street didn’t seem to offer any cause for concern. He hadn’t seen a car pass yet, and when he peered inside the window of the tearoom, it looked sad and lonely.
The bakery had a little more promise, with some delicious-looking apricot tarts in the window and the scents coming from the slightly opened door was enticing.
‘In here, Pans,’ he said and pushed the door open.
Yes, he’d made the right decision. The bakery was warm and smelled good, exceedingly good, he thought as his stomach rumbled.
There wasn’t much on display but what was looked wonderful. Rabbit pies and sausage rolls and plain scones and cheese scones and some nice-looking jam tarts and little butterfly cakes.
‘Can I help you?’ A young woman in a pink apron was at the counter. She had a drawn face with dark circles under her eyes, and a nasty bruise on her cheekbone.
Henry got a shock at the sight of the bruise and took pause to not show his response. ‘Hello, yes please, everything looks lovely.’
Pansy was looking at the cakes in the counter display.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2FLp9d8