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Alice-Rose (2012)

It has been three years since Libby Finn lost her husband and moved back to her parents' estate, where she lives in her own cottage. However, when country manor Alice-Rose comes on to the market, Libby knows it is time for her to move on and find her own place. And what could be a better home than the large estate she has such fond memories of from when she was a little girl? Libby decides to dive in straight away, but by doing so, she unexpectedly develops feelings for local estate agent Dan. Despite the age-gap between them, it seems the two are falling for each other but the refurbishment of Alice-Rose and family and friends continue to get in the way. One of the strongest features of this book is the group of likeable characters Caitriona Leslie has created. Libby is a strong female character who knows what she wants, and even though she has been through a lot (losing her husband at such a young age), she is trying her best to build up a new life for herself. I also enjoyed reading about some of the other characters, like Jules (Libby's best friend) and Paddy (the builder taking on the refurbishment of Alice-Rose). The fact that the story is told from two perspectives provides the reader with the chance to discover not just Libby's thoughts and feelings, which definitely added another layer to the story. I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the story doesn't focus more on Alice-Rose itself. After reading the blurb, I expected the country house to take on a significant role in the story, but the focus lies more on Libby and her love life. Not to say that I didn't enjoy that, because I definitely did. Overall, Alice-Rose is an enjoyable romantic read with an Irish touch, perfect for a lazy afternoon. (JoH)

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