Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Book Review: Country Affairs by Zara Stoneley



Title: Country Affairs
Author: Zara Stoneley
Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 14 May 2015 (Kindle edition) 16 July 2015 (paperback edition)

Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Blog/website: www.zarastoneley.com

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Blurb

Welcome to Tippermere for the wedding of the year…
 
Scatty but loveable Lottie Brinkley is famous throughout the village for her disorganised personality, so when she steps up to plan the perfect wedding the only likely outcome is disaster.

When her globetrotting, love cheat of an ex, Todd, literally crashes the wedding on a not-so-noble steed, things definitely look set to take a turn for the scandalous. As rumours of why he’s back spread through the village quicker than the stable girl can drop her knickers, is Lottie's future with sexy eventer Rory Steel about to fall at the next fence?
 
With a wave of unexpected pregnancies, steamy shenanigans in the hay and a farrier with more than shoeing horses on his mind, will Lottie ever be ready to take on the coveted title of Lady of the Manor and restore the Estate to its former glory?
 
As the heart of the village, Tipping House Estate, makes its move into the 21st Century, pulses start to race in a novel packed full of charm, hunky stallions (the guys that is), and a daring plan that just has to succeed…
 
Review
 
First, thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
 
Country Affairs is the follow up to Stable Mates and I must admit that I have not yet read that earlier book. As such, I was reading Country Affairs as a standalone novel and the book does work well as a standalone, although I wish I had read Stable Mates first to gain further understanding of some of the characters' backgrounds.
 
I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Country Affairs. It was frivolous, fabulous, steamy, scandalous and just a whole load of fun! I loved Jilly Cooper books when I was growing up and, to me, Country Affairs is reminiscent of a good Jilly Cooper romp, full of horses, sex and shenanigans. For me, it is right up there with the likes of Rivals and The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous. Any Jilly Cooper fans will undoubtedly love this book!
 
The book starts on a fabulously funny note, as Lottie's ex-boyfriend Todd, crashes her father's wedding day on horseback. This was a hilarious start to the book and it really set the scene for what's to come.
 
Lottie is young, sweet and suddenly burdened with the family estate that she will one day inherit. She is being groomed to take over as Lady of the Manor and yet the inheritance comes with a massive debt hanging over her. As Lottie moves into the grand Tipping House Estate and works herself ragged trying to save the estate, her boyfriend, Rory, does not appreciate the importance of supporting his loving girlfriend, preferring to concentrate on riding and competing instead. Fortunately, Lottie has support of her helpful uncle and the dependable Mick. She also has the help of her best friends, Pip, Amanda and Sam, who put their heads together in order to come up with a plan to save Tipping House. In the midst of her financial troubles, her aristocratic and wily grandmother Elizabeth seems to be causing mischief, Todd is causing trouble and Tippermere seems to be a village full of drama!
 
The author has created a host of interesting, colourful, likeable and, for the most part, realistic characters. I particularly liked the grandmother, Elizabeth. She is a clever lady and, despite her advancing age, she misses nothing. With a penchant for meddling and gin & tonics, Lady Elizabeth is very much involved in anything that goes on in Tippermere!
 
The setting of Tippermere in the Cheshire countryside is utterly delightful. My mind pulls up images of a picturesque country village, with cricket pitches, duck ponds and neighbours who actually know each other - a place with a great sense of community spirit (the total opposite to where I live!).
 
Whilst Country Affairs is, for the most part, a sexy, steamy and funny romp, there are also some poignant and heartfelt moments in amongst the fun. The author balances these two differing aspects well so that the fun tone of the book never falters, but we find ourselves really feeling for the characters involved.
 
So, if you're in the mood for romance, drama, scandal, hilarity, some knicker-flashing, a good dose of dogs and horses and an abundance of hunky men with bulging thighs, this will be the book for you! Country Affairs is a brilliantly written book, full of energy and enthusiasm. It's fast, it's funny, it's deliciously naughty and it's a bloomin' good read!

Buy Links

Amazon UK: Kindle - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00U6R0C4Q
                      Paperback - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0008122822

About the Author

I live in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When I'm not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in sexy high heels or green wellies, I can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!

I write hot romance and bonkbusters. My most recent releases, ‘Stable Mates’ and ‘Country Affairs’, are fun romps through the Cheshire countryside and combine some of my greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)!

You can find out more about me, and all my contact details at www.ZaraStoneley.com.

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