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Review of 'The Old Boat Clubhouse' - K.T. Dady

Welcome to Pepper Bay, where you’ll find love drama, and a happily ever after.

Snuggle down with this cosy, feel-good, comfort read that whisks you away to a beautiful bay on the Isle of Wight – Perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Alison Sherlock, Rachael Lucas, and Holly Martin.

The Pepper Bay books are standalone stories that intertwine with recurring characters. Best enjoyed when read in order.

The Old Boat Clubhouse: When Hollywood actor Keaton Byrd needs a brand boost, the last thing Harriet Hadley thinks is that it will involve her. All she does is work in housekeeping in Sandly’s biggest hotel. Being asked to be his pretend girlfriend in exchange for a whole heap of money doesn’t exist, even in her wildest dreams. Can she really pull it off? Be the small-town girl who he needs to rebuild his image? It’s worth a try. What could go wrong? Especially with Keaton’s right-hand man, Jude Jackson, always by her side, making sure she’s okay. He smells so good, just like the ocean she adores, and he looks like the men her sister Lexi puts on the front covers of her steamy romance novels. How is Harriet supposed to concentrate on being Keaton’s fake girlfriend when she can’t stop looking at Jude? The best part is, Jude is always looking back.

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Pepper Bay has gone international! From the moment American film star Keaton and his crew waltz into town it's obvious that there's much more going on beneath the shallow surface of a celebrity gone bad. Yes, he has a drinking problem. Yes, he can be (unintentionally) obnoxious at times. But it's fairly obvious that Keaton is a troubled soul. Perhaps surprisingly, Hal isn't the one destined to fix him though. In many books of this genre, their fake romance would have become all too real and Keaton would have sworn off the booze for life because he finally found true love. I'm so glad that this isn't the direction the author chose to go in. One of the reasons I often find rom-coms difficult to read is because they are so far removed from the realities of life that they become completely implausible. Not so here. Although a woman is involved as a motivating factor in Keaton's recovery, she is not the sole cause of it and better still, it's not Hal. She's far more interested in Keaton's assistant, which is in itself a refreshing departure from the standard trope and put me in mind of one of the sub-plot's of Zadie Smith's 'Swing Time' which does a similar thing, albeit in a very different style.

It's also interesting that the series has now firmly moved from Pepper Bay to other locations on the Isle of Wight (although there are still a few trips into more familiar territory) and the focus has moved away from that close knit community. We were first properly introduced to the Haddington family in 'Silver Blooms Flower Shop' which told Lexi and Bryce's story and it's not youngest sister Harriet's turn in the spotlight. I assume that the next few books will focus on other members of the family, which will be good, as they exude the same kind of warmth as the residents of Pepper Bay and a couple of them are familiar characters from the earlier books in the series, which keeps the links across the community which is one of the real strengths of this series.

Once again, I'm looking forward to the next instalment and can't wait to see where that takes us!

Hello, I'm K.T. Dady. I'm the bestselling author of the Pepper Bay series. I'm also a chocolate lover, mum to a grown-up daughter, and a huge fan of a HEA. I was born and raised in the East End of London, and I've been happily writing stories since I was a little girl. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, baking cakes, or pottering around in my little garden in Essex, trying not to kill the flowers.

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