Posted in Book Review

The House of Birds and Butterflies – Cressida McLaughlin – 5* Review

Abby Field loves every inch of Meadowsweet Nature Reserve on the idyllic Suffolk coast where she lives and works. Especially Swallowtail House, the rambling but empty country house that seems to look out at her each time she passes its shut-up windows.

When a TV wildlife programme chooses a rival location for their new series, Meadowsweet is under threat – unless Abby can whip up a plan to keep the visitors flocking. But she finds herself distracted by the arrival of a brooding – and annoyingly handsome new neighbour… bad-boy novelist, Jack Westcoat.

With the pressure on, Abby and her cute rescue huskie, Raffle, must pull something special out of the bag. But with Jack in need of a good friend – and Abby feeling the pull of attraction, she can sense her resolve fluttering away…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

I read three-quarters of this lovely story as a serial, so I have reviewed the complete book in four parts:

The Dawn Chorus -I love the title and the cover, both epitomise the book’s ethos perfectly. Set against the background of a nature reserve on the Suffolk coast, ‘The Dawn Chorus’ the first part of the book introduces the mysterious house, abandoned in heartbreak on the edge of the reserve and a cast of delightfully quirky characters whose love of nature brings them together.

Abby loves her job, which brings her into direct contact with the public and the inhabitants of the reserve on a daily basis. She is fascinated by the faded glory of the large house, belonging to the reserve’s owner Penelope. No longer lived it possesses a mysterious, tragic quality that Abby longs to explore. Abby guards her heart fiercely. Let down by her father and drawn to toxic relationships she prefers to share life with Raffle her husky.

The Lovebirds– New Year starts off part two. Abby’s hoping for new beginnings, and when she unexpectedly spends New Years Day alone with her mother, she finds her parent wanting to build bridges.

The nature reserve is still in need of new ideas to keep it afloat, and Jack seems determined to be involved. Penelope, the owner of the sanctuary, is keeping secrets and Abby realises she needs to find out what they are if she’s going to help.

Abby’s fascination with Swallowtail house continues, and Jack seems to share her interest, leading to sharing and insights into both their troubled pasts. Their chequered relationship dominates, and this part of the book ends with more secrets than solutions.

Twilight Song – Spring is a time of new beginnings, and while this is true for the inhabitants of the Nature Reserve, problems loom on the horizon that threatens its future.

The couple’s gentle romance dominates this third part of the book. Abby and Jack’s behaviour and willingness to help the other signify their deepening emotions but their pasts make them cautious.

Penelope still keeps her problems secret, but Abby sees another side to her boss, which surprises her. Abby’s plans for the reserve are a success but will they be enough?

When you think this part of the story is ending on a high, someone from the past threatens Abby’s happiness. The mystery of the house remains untold and with the cliffhanger ending reading the final part of this charming story is a given for me.

Birds of a Feather- The final part lives up to my expectations. Abby and Jack’s relationship deepens in the face of adversity, but events force them to part to achieve their individual career goals and help the people and animals who depend on them.

New challenges for both Abby and Jack and finally we discover the answers to the secrets of Swallowtail house. The romance in this part of the story is sublime.

I will miss the characters of Meadowsweet, especially the adorable Raffle. The bird and butterfly life featured at the beginning of each chapter makes this story unique, adding depth to the authentic romantic tale.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction, Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Author:

Author, blogger and book reviewer. I am the author of 'The Dragon Legacy' series and 'The Dangerous Gift'. Animal welfare supporter. Loves reading, writing, countryside walks, cookery and gardening, .

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