Published By: Boldwood
Released On: 04/04/2023
Born into the Scottish Clan MacBain and the 17th century ancestral home, Drumblair Castle, Liv MacBain has always dreamt of leaving the ancient homestead and becoming her own person in the world of fashion. From a young age, she worshipped the trailblazing designs of the haute couture glitterati, hoping one day to join them. With older brother Kerr, the rightful heir, Liv has been free to spread her wings.
Fast forward. Liv, is now 28 years old, working at a high-end fashion house and living her dream life in New York. She’s never been happier.
Until everything changes with one devastating phone call from her brother, Kerr, that brings her rushing back to Scotland. Old friends and adversaries resurface and Liv faces a difficult decision that could mean her dream future can no longer be a reality.
Or can you have your castle and your career?
Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review and spot on the book tour.
I only came across Lisa Hobman’s books in 2021, and since then I have rad 5 of hers (including this one). Very quickly she’s become a go-to author for fun, light-hearted, joyful stories.
There’s a number of interesting characters but there’s a few that stood out for me:
- Olivia – our main protagonist, she wants to please everyone, feels a bit timid when out of her comfort zone. She is happy with how her life is and she doesn’t necessarily want to rock the boat. I really liked her but would have liked for her be more confident in herself.
- Kerr – Olivia’s brother. A despicable character, even if he did try to worm his way into my good books as it went along, he never succeeded.
- Brodie – A childhood friend of Olivia, they parted on bad terms as teenagers. He is a gorgeous sounding man, in looks and personality. He is a wonderful partner to work off for Olivia.
And then you have the characters like Mirren who almost feels like a motherly character for Olivia, and Innes, Olivia’s uncle, stepping into that fatherly role. Brodie’s dad Dougie even crops up, and he’s a wonderful addition, and of course, Marley, the very cute family dog.
***SLIGHT CHARACTER SPOILER COMING UP***
The only criticism I have is regarding Olivia and Kerr’s relationship. For 3/4 of the book, they’re at each other’s throats, he’s a vile man and she’s got no trust in him. And then, all of a sudden, he’s changed his ways and this sibling relationship comes out of nowhere. So I’d have liked to have seen that stretched out more, as it didn’t feel that believable for me.
As for someone who, whilst not a follower of fashion, does take an interest in it and designs her own clothes on a semi-regularly basis, I was really interested in the plot point following Olivia’s design career. It made a sometimes out-of-reach job feel more ‘normal’.
I’m a sucker for books set in Scotland as I adore it there. Throw in a castle, a cute man and a cute dog, and it’s the perfect recipe. Although none of my trips to Scotland have ever ended with a cute man and dog in a castle. Where am I going wrong?
It doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. Yes it’s overwhelmingly joyful, but it covers loss and grief, family rivalries, relationship troubles, abuse, violence. It’s not all wrapped in cotton wool. It shows that normal life is fraught with difficulty.
It’s what I’ve come to expect from her books. They’re easy reads (I read this in less than a day), not too long, but long enough to get everything out of it you want, they’re joyful and hopeful and full of love. Some may say a bit predictable but I’d say that’s a good thing. With the so-called happily-ever-after books, you know pretty well how things will end up, but it’s the journey that’s the joy to read. How do our characters get to that ending? And you know you’ll be entertained every step of the way.
It is the perfect cosy read for a warm spring evening.
It does end nicely (no spoilers) but there’s definitely room for more, so I’m hoping this is only the start of a new series for Lisa as I have a lot of questions as to what happens next. I feel there’s more she can give us in this vein so I’m holding out hope.