Meet Me at Number Five (Choc Lit)
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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?
Oh this book had everything
Oh this book had everything that I want in a story; compelling characters, a smattering of romance, a struggle that everyone can get behind and even a touch of loss that brings everyone together. Lisa Hill set this story around a racing family: generations managed by the matriarch Clara: a woman with strong opinions and a stronger will, the story quickly draws the reader in and instantly provides a touch of drama and a clear-cut villain. When you add in the stories of three women working through their own life-changes, the despicable behavior of a husband and some questionable behaviors, and you can’t help but want to know more.
Grace is the focal-point of the action in this story: with an unfaithful husband (Charlie) who has gotten a stable girl pregnant, his overbearing nature, refusal to speak with Clara about her horses in training, and his general domineering posture when it comes to Grace’s involvement in the business of her family’s stable – there is plenty on her plate. But, at first, she’s just a mess: living with Clara, her cousin Hennie and her two children, the au-pair and her child, and the constant feeling that she failed –Grace is broken.
Then we have Hennie: working at the Cheltenham racecourse doing PR, she’d finally taken the reins into her own hands, leaving her cheating husband in Dubai and relocating with her two children to Clara’s home. She’s in the “men aren’t worth the effort” mode, and isn’t interested in dating or relationships. But, a new addition hired by Charlie at the stable, Guy the American farrier is yummy-licious and just as nice on the inside. There may be something there if only Hennie can get past her own issues.
Lastly is Clara – a woman who has ALWAYS gone for what she wanted: widowed young, she’s now realizing that she wasn’t the best mother to her two sons, but has the chance to remedy that with her grandchildren and great grands. A woman who has always controlled and defined her own life on her terms, she’s facing her own mortality and not willing to go quietly or without a defined plan. Perhaps the strongest of the characters from start to finish, Clara is one of those women that you want on your side, and will go to great lengths to not upset.
Throughout the story (that is a read in one-sitting, don’t stop) each of the characters has moments to grow and face their own changes: from Grace finding a job at Number Five, a coffee-bar/restaurant run by Sam, and the sparks (and challenges) for these two are strong. Hennie is fighing the attration to Guy, and everyone is concerned with the changes and actions Charlie is making in deciding the fate of Clara’s horses that he has in training. From sweet moments with her own horses that every girl who ever owned a pony will completely empathize with, to the grandeur of the racing and the always-present Colin, serving as chauffer and general do it all man for Clara, the story winds to an inevitable conclusion, gently coaxing readers on to the finish. A wonderful debut story that had everything: heart, heat, growth, conflict and love: the greatest of all being the love and support found in a family that accepts and strengthens through good times and bad.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.