Published by Century
Publication date – 21 February 2019
Source – library copy
Caro Swanson has taken a job in a remote part of Scotland.
She’s answered an ad in The Lady: being a companion to an elderly gentleman who lives in a country estate could be perfect! Surely it’s time to make a change and do something different for a while?
The fact that she may also see Alec, the young man who she met some years previously and who she has always thought of as her ‘one who got away’, is of course purely incidental.
Soon Caro is falling in love – not only with Alec but with the stunning country house she’s now living in. But the estate is in financial difficulties, and Caro soon realises there’s only one way to rescue it.
So begins a magical romantic summer, one that will take Caro from Scotland to London and the south of France, in search of a classic lost perfume that might just restore all their fortunes.
Caro applies for job in Scotland, on a hunch that she will meet Xander, the one that got away all those years ago. When she arrives, she meets a cantankerous old man, a friendly housekeeper, a shy teenager, a dog that makes his mark in a unique way and Alec, the grown up Xander. Will he remember her as she remembers him or will he always be the one that got away?
A new Katie Fforde novel is always a highlight to my reading year. I find there is something relaxing, welcoming and familiar about her novels, even though each story is stand alone.
There are a whole host of characters to meet in A Rose Petal Summer. There’s Murdo, the curmudgeonly patriarch who is against Alec’s foray onto perfumery. Rowan, his granddaughter has led a sheltered life, having never left the environs of the loch. She takes slightly reckless action to remedy that. There’s Skye, Rowan’s mum and Alec’s ex-wife who has coddled Rowan in so much cotton wool. Caro fondly remembers that evening with Alec all those years ago, but a lot has changed since then. She has a grown-up daughter and is looking for purpose again in her life after the art shop she worked in closed. Alec is charming, driven to indulge in his love of fragrance in secret and thrust into the limelight when Rowan and Caro offer his services to Scarlet, the film star the pair run into.
The story flits between Scotland, London and France yet flows well throughout. The creation of perfume is fascinating, and it made an interesting plot device.
There is something of the modern day fairy-tale about A Rose Petal Summer. Yes, a little suspension of disbelief is needed because it’s not every day you meet Hollywood stars in a shop and become friends immediately. And yes, people do fall in love very quickly. But it worked for the story, propelling the narrative in the obvious direction and allowing Caro and Alec to become closer and save Alec’s home.
A Katie Fforde novel is like pulling on your favourite big jumper and snuggling down to get comfortable. You know you are in for a warm and welcoming treat. Such was the case with A Rose Petal Summer.
Sometimes a little bit of warm, romantic escapism is needed and that’s what A Rose Petal Summer delivered. I’m already looking forward to the newest Katie Fforde book to be published.