Friday, 29 May 2015

Reviewed: An Unexpected Affair by Jan Ellis.







An Unexpected Affair is a novella published by Endeavour Press.


Thanks to Jan for sending me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.



An Unexpected Affair is a delightful short read with a beautiful emphasis on setting and the feel of friendship and living in a close-knit community. I was instantly charmed by this novel when we meet main character Eleanor at work in her bookshop, The Reading Room. Described as a slightly crumbly bookshop with an adjoining cottage in a small, unfashionable seaside town, it felt like Jan was describing my idea of heaven and I loved the atmospheric feel to Jan’s writing, building up such a lovely picture of the Devon location.

With the encouragement of her sister Jenna, An Unexpected Affair later sees Eleanor head on a trip to France – for some sightseeing and (reluctantly) some shopping, but mostly to pop into the place where she thinks her old love Christophe will be. Jan’s description of France was just as vivid as the seaside location and I especially loved the writing of the vineyards. Everything was just made to feel so tempting and I enjoyed this aspect to the book as much as I enjoyed the actual plot of the story. A book is so much more appealing to me if I can really get a good picture of the location it’s set in and Jan did that with ease.

There’s a lot of likeable characters in An Unexpected Affair with interesting stories of their own. Not just Eleanor but people like her friend Erika too. As this is a novella, I thought Jan did well to give a backstory to some of the main characters whilst keeping the current story going at the same time, but I would still have liked to learn more, maybe if the book had been a little longer. I do love a novella so I guess for me it’s credit to Jan’s writing that she managed to create so many characters in less than 100 pages that I cared for and wanted to learn more about. Eleanor had a lovely set of friends back in Devon and they were there to offer gentle encouragement, a few laughs and plenty of harmless nosiness too. It seemed like a charming place to live and I felt like I could walk straight into this novel and feel right at home.

This book was an easy, light-hearted read and one which I really enjoyed. It did end quite quickly and I was left wanting more but that’s what follow-on novels are made for! With gorgeous settings, an amiable group of characters and a little bit of romance, An Unexpected Affair is a great choice for a quick, relaxing summer read.


Set in a bookshop with a journey to the French countryside too - what more could I ask for! A charming read.





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