Review by Veronica

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Along Railway lane, the windows and doors were all closed as everyone hunkered down away from the cold spring night. There were only a few other small streets that made up the whole village. In the soft light of a couple of streetlamps, she could see the daffodils and crocuses dotted all along either side of the narrow lane, bobbing their heads in greeting under the steady drizzle that had just commenced.

Heading Home to Lavender Cottage is a perfect sweet comfort romance story. 

With nowhere else to go, Harriet Colgan has returned to the sleepy village of Cranfield to sell her beloved aunt and uncle’s cottage, the only place she ever called home. When she arrives at Lavender Cottage, Harriet discovers plans to replace the beautiful lavender fields, her uncle’s pride and joy, with an industrial warehouse. With time on her hands, she realises she must fight to protect her family’s legacy and the village of Cranfield as well.

Workaholic businessman Joe Randall was expecting an easy purchase of the lavender fields. But suddenly his quiet life is disrupted by protests from angry locals, organised by Harriet. Can Harriet show Joe that there’s more to life than just work? And can Joe change his mind and help Harriet save the lavender fields?

Over a long, hot summer, and with the help of a stray dog, perhaps Harriet and Joe can find their way home too. 

I absolutely adored Alison’s Riverside Lane series, so I was excited to hear that she was starting a new series that would take place right beside Cranbridge Village. Heading Home to Lavender Cottage is such a heartwarming and charming story. It was the perfect book to curl up with after a very busy holiday season. There is just something so peaceful and heartfelt about Alison’s writing. It leaves me feeling very happy. This book takes place in Cranfield, a small village beside Cranbridge. This village has been in a downward spiral since the local train station shut down. We are first introduced to Harriet, who has just closed her beauty parlour and has returned to Cranfield to sell her aunt and uncle’s cottage. Upon her return, she finds out that her uncle’s lavender fields are about to be destroyed to make way for an industrial building. Harriet realizes she can’t let her uncle’s legacy be destroyed and decides to fight to protect the Lavender fields.

There is so much to love about this book. The setting is gorgeous and lush. I love lavender plants, so spending an entire book watching characters explore and take care of lavender fields was right up my alley. The village of Cranfield is that cute picture-perfect English village that is easy to fall in love with. Underneath that idealistic image is a village struggling to find a new way to breathe new life into itself. Watching the community come together to help Harriet save the Lavender fields was really enjoyable. The sense of community is heartwarming, and the characters are charming and quirky (especially Dody Del).

Watching Harriet create a new and variable business by turning the fields into a tourist attraction was fascinating. There are plenty of bumps in the road, but nothing couldn’t be overcome with hard work and help from friends and family. Harriet, herself is a relatable and charming character. I instantly liked her and hoped she could find a way to keep her aunt and uncle’s cottage and save the fields. She also has lots of growth in this book. At the story’s beginning, she has little to no self-esteem, never shares her problems with friends, and is incredibly hard on herself. She struggled to overcome the barriers she put up, and there were times when I wanted to give her a big shake in hopes of knocking some sense into her. But she does grow, and the confident person she becomes at the end of the story made me incredibly happy.

The romance in the book is sweet. Harriet and Joe have that somewhat enemy-to-lovers love story. Joe works for a company trying to turn the field into an industrial building. I could see that these two had that instant connection. And even though Joe was on the “enemies” side, he isn’t the bad guy. He is sweet and kind right from the book’s start, which surprised me. I thought his character would be this greedy, cold corporate character who would go through this dramatic change after spending time in this quaint village. But that wasn’t the case for this story; Joe does have growth, but that growth connects more to his relationship with his father and learning to live again after losing his mother and sister. I like how Alison deviated from that traditional big-city corporate guy stereotype that often graces the pages of romance stories. Harriet and Joe have wonderful chemistry, and some cute moments between them just made my heart pitter-patter.

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the adorable and loveable Paddington, who is a golden retriever. He stole the spotlight from Harriet and Joe at times and had me wish I could just reach in and give him a big old hug.

 

Heading Home to Lavender Cottage is a book that will fill your heart with happiness and joy.  

 

Thank you Boldwood Books and Rachel Random Resources for the ARC in for an honest review.