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British single mother finds love.

Nel Innes is as busy as a bee, what with raising teenaged daughter Fleur and selling mistletoe at the local farmers’ market. She has many friends, who all seem able to make a living selling artsy-craftsy-jammy-waxy things to each other. Overall, life has rolled along pleasantly enough since she moved to this Cotswolds village as a very young widow. There’s even old Reg at the fruit and veg stall to give her an appreciative wink now and then. But will she ever know the sweaty ecstasy of a horizontal tango again? Yes! New acquaintance Jake, a lawyer, knows just how to tangle up the sheets, and he even makes a fine cup of Horlicks for that nurturing afterglow found only in mommy-lit sex. Nel wraps herself in his too-big bathrobe and sinks into guilty gloom. Should she have gone that far with a devastatingly attractive, kind, intelligent, successful man after ten celibate years? (Reader, do not shout the obvious answer. These are characters in a book.) As it turns out, Jake represents the villains, who are trying to wrest control of hospice-owned land that may or may not have been willed to the pure-hearted farmers’-market stallholders. Committees are formed! Meetings are held! When will the rich people realize that a huge, vulgar housing estate teeming with Johnny-come-latelies is about to spring up on their patrician doorstep? Will all the poor people from the hospice be turned out into the cold and totter away into the sunset waving their canes? Was Jake’s gorgeous car bought with tainted money from unprincipled people with no taste? Can anyone doubt that there will be a happy ending to this predictable tale from the author of, among others, Highland Fling (2003)?

Mild as malted milk (see above: Horlicks) and just as comforting.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-33332-3
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2004


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