I admit that when I bought this book I was cautious about what to expect. It had no reviews on Amazon and I often find editorial reviews somewhat lacking and biased in their opinions. Added to this wariness was that I had never heard of this author (I have since discovered Ms James has a long list of books to offer).
The authors' writing style captured me instantly as I was drawn into this incredibly well crafted tale.
This book tells the story of its two main characters Alice Shoemaker and Clayton Miller. Clayton is a script writer whose career has hit rock bottom after his girlfriend leaves him for his ex-writing partner. In an attempt to lay low from some very bad publicity, Clayton's agent sends him to the moors of Derbyshire to hide out under an alias. This is where our two main characters meet as Alice, doing a favour for her neighbour, is hired as his cleaner. Alice is a voice-over artist who once held aspirations of becoming an actress. Shocked with Clayton's rough appearance and rude introduction she pretends to be Katya, a Latvian cleaner, who is equally rude in return.
Before long both have their real identities revealed and Alice reveals she grew up in the house that Clayton is hiding out in. This gets Clayton and Alice talking and they begin to share things about each other, things they haven't shared with anyone else before. And this is when the trouble starts...
The thing that keeps you enchanted with this book from beginning to end is the amazing characters the author has created. Alice and Clayton are well rounded with faults and flaws and you are given an amazing insight into their pasts, revealing how they came to be the people they are. Added to this is a strong cast of supporting characters, each of whom feels like a real person and not simply another background character in a book.
After beginning the book with wariness, I cannot believe just how much I loved this book! The author tells her story with a natural rhythm and her descriptions easily allow you to picture scenes. If I had to compare her style to another author, I would say she is similar to Katie Fforde with her lovable charismatic characters and quirkiness that only the English can pull off.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. This one is definitely a keeper and I am now going to eagerly hunt down the other books this author has written.