Review of 'The House In The Clouds' - Victoria Connelly
Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.
With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.
But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?
The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.
The opening scenario is one that feels very close to home for me. Edward's sudden and unexpected redundancy was realistically portrayed in terms of the effect it had on his emotions. Obviously, this is a romance novel and a happy ending is expected so he is in the fortunate position of having savings and a way to maintain an income in spite of this. However, it felt particularly relevant, particularly as it's something I'd been discussing with my husband recently.
We’re in the process of buying a flat and the buyers before us pulled out on what seemed on the face of it, to be very flimsy grounds. According to the estate agent it was because of a damp issue but they had refused to share the survey results with them. We were naturally concerned, but our own survey threw up nothing particularly horrendous and the damp issue was going to be relatively inexpensive to sort out. When we were discussing it, I speculated that perhaps they’d had a change of circumstances which they didn’t want to share with the estate agent. If this was the case, obviously it was perfectly understandable but although it was fortuitous for us, I couldn't help wondering (and to some extent, worrying) about the unknown couple. In the current climate of furloughs and job losses, Edward’s situation seemed horribly plausible and reading about it made me grateful all over again that my husband's job meant that the loss of my earnings didn't also result in the loss of our house.
There were also other subplots in the book that were true to life. I will be interested to see how Edward's family members are developed throughout the remainder of the trilogy. Understandably for the first novel in a series, the focus was firmly on the two main characters. However, I felt that some of the minor characters were better developed than others at this early stage, so it will be interesting to see how they are portrayed in the rest of the series.
My only criticism isn't really a criticism as such. Sometimes in a series each book is a complete story in itself. Other authors prefer to treat the series as one long book divided into sections. The House In The Clouds is the latter. Were the others in the series available to read already I would have no problem with this. However, I don't like things left unresolved and this book ends almost mid-action and it feels quite abrupt. I would have preferred a more complete story. That said - my 'complaint' is primarily made because I thoroughly enjoyed the book and wanted to know how the story ends. I am not the most patient of people and I don't like leaving a good tale partway through it! I will definitely be reading the remainder of this series.
Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.
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