Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Review: The Country Escape - Fiona Walker*

Hidden amid lush Herefordshire parkland, Eardisford is the ultimate English country retreat and it's just been sold for the first time in its history. Romantic daredevil Kat Mason has been bequeathed the estate's lakeside sanctuary, Lake Farm, until she dies or marries. But the new owners want her out now . . .  
In rides charming playboy Dougie Everett, the man hired to sweep Kat off her feet and off the property. Although pursuing the Hollywood dream has not been all he'd hoped, Dougie loves nothing more than the thrill of the chase, but does he risk losing his heart along the way?

Anyone who's been reading my blog for a while will know that Fiona Walker was one of the first romance authors I read and her books hold a special place in my heart (if you missed this you can read those posts here and here). You can imagine my excitement when I received an advanced copy of Walker's latest.
I'll admit that whilst I loved Walker's earlier novels, Kiss Chase, French Relations and Well Groomed, her later ones fell a bit flat with me and it would appear that I wasn't the only one, but she's definitely back on form with the wonderful The Country Escape.

I'd call Walker's novels Brit-lit in it's truest form, many of the characters that appear in her books will be all too familiar to us Brits but the often stereotypical subjects might be confusing and misleading to some other readers. In this way, The Country Escape is no different. The characters come across as caricatures of the British class system, and not always to their benefit. Although Walker does an admirable job of filling us in on each character's background and their motivations, managing to change a lot of our preconceptions along the way.

Walker's books can be a bit of a slog, they're fairly hefty and often come in at over 500 pages. Walker is no stranger to description and her books are full of keen observation and wonderful character details, but this can slow the story down. Because of that I'd definitely say that The Country Escape is more of an acquired taste, if you're after a quick romantic read then this definitely isn't for you. The Country Escape, however, is perfect for the reader that can't get enough detail and always wants more. If you're interested in the idylls of the British countryside and horse riding then this is also going to be the perfect summer read.

My only complaint would be the lack of interaction that we get between Kat and Dougie,  The Country Escape lacks the passion and spark of Kiss Chase that I so loved and is instead more reminiscent of the family sagas of French Relations and Well Groomed. 

If you're a fellow lover of the great Brit-lit and love a good block-buster novel then Walker's latest is definitely for you, there are plenty of laughs to be had and the book is packed full of so much detail that it's easy to get completely lost in the lives of Kat, Dougie and friends and it's quite sad to leave them behind at the last page.

*Advanced reader's copy received in return for an honest review, The Country Escape is published by Sphere and is available now.

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