Tuesday 30 May 2017

The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton

Published by Ebury on June 1, 2017

The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton is the full length novel, combining serialised parts Escape to the Country, Follow Your Heart, Too Close to Home and A New Start. I’ve read a few four-part novels before and enjoyed them, but I’ve always found I prefer to wait for the whole book rather than the novellas, as they leave me wanting more. The Vets at Hope Green is the story of Sam who is receptionist at a veterinary practise in London. Her relationship with Adam, her boyfriend, has hit a rough patch, she’s unsure about her job and she is in need of an escape, so she heads off to her Nana’s house in Hope Green.

This really was an all-round lovely book which had me smiling all the way through. If I’d read each of the novellas separately I know I would have been driven mad waiting for the next one to be published as its one of those heart-warming reads you’re going to struggle not to read in one sitting. This is perfect summer reading and that’s exactly what I made of it as I sat out in the garden on a very sunny day reading this book from the front cover to the back.

Hope Green was a really idealistic setting, picture perfect, and the whole place comes to life with the author’s description of the place and the people we meet. There’s the typical village representation of everybody knowing each other’s business, which was in total contrast compared to Sam’s life in London where most people on her own street didn’t know her name. I loved how nothing really ever escaped anyone in Hope Green. The second something happens, everybody else seems to know about it and though at times they do come across as quite nosy, the close-knit community also brought about many friendships and it seemed to me as a much more appealing place to live than London.

Sam is an easy to like character. She has quite a lot of things to face up to, as we discover early on in the book, and this kept me interested in her story and I liked the heart and the fight she showed. Another character who intrigued me was the new village vet Joe. I have tired a bit of grumpy male leads but I was fascinated by him and why he came across as rude when around people but yet seemed the complete opposite around animals. The author develops his character nicely and my opinion did change on him throughout, but I’m still not fully convinced about him even now I’ve finished the book.

Whilst the author really draws upon the setting beautifully, one thing which I preferred even more was all the animals! I was hoping for lots of mentions of them since this is a book set in a veterinary practise, but in some books the romance can take over. Here though there are lots of animals and they are all really cute and had me pet-broody all over again. I loved Peggy’s dog Rufus, though his poor health did upset me at times. Poor Rufus. And then there were all the other animals that came into the surgery who had their own little story and personally I wanted to take them all home and keep them because they were all lovely.

As this book was written in four smaller parts, the pacing of the story is quite fast which kept the story fresh and interesting. It’s not particularly unpredictable but that didn’t matter one bit as it is feel-good and uplifting and that was all I was hoping for. There are a few mini cliff-hangers and twists throughout which kept me turning the pages quickly, eager to know what was to come. All in all I found The Vets at Hope Green to be a joy to read, and I am thrilled to have discovered a new-to-me author whose books I’m sure I’m going to love.

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