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by Katie Fforde

Pub Date: July 10th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18668-1
Publisher: St. Martin's

A romp from British writer Fforde (Wild Designs, 1997) as This Old House meets the Love Channel when a woman finds romance and restores a ruin in an eccentric English village. At first, when Hetty’s arrogant lover Alistair lets her down ever so nastily—he arranges for her to discover him in bed with another woman—Hetty is heart-broken. But she’s feisty enough to dent his Porsche before fleeing the dreadful love nest. This feistiness, combined with her decision never to fall in love again, makes her an ideal caretaker of Courtbridge House, the decaying haven owned by Hetty’s aged relative Samuel. Currently recuperating in a convalescent home, Samuel puts Hetty in charge of his finances, but she soon finds to her dismay that he’s horribly in debt, with barely enough money to pay his loan installments. And the house is threatened not only with insolvency. As Hetty learns from woodworker Peter, a genuine SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) and from village powerhouse Phyllis, Samuel’s heir Connor wants to tear the house down and turn it into a theme park! Hetty is soon busy cleaning up the place and opening it to the public for tours and so forth to help raise money for its continued maintenance. She’s just as determined as the villagers to preserve the house, but Connor, now dubbed —Conan the Barbarian,— is discouraging in this regard. Even so, despite her resolve not to buckle before men, Hetty’s perversely attracted to him. True love must have its travails, though: He accuses her of deception; she charges him with hard-heartedness. They quarrel, and after a car accident Hetty takes another job. But soon the house, fully restored, becomes the perfect setting for romance. A delightful, unabashedly unpretentious love yarn.