Talking Location With … author Simon Carr, Beira Beixa, Portugal
Heartwarming romance novel set in Buckinghamshire (save Hope Farm!)
20th March 2019
Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews, heartwarming romance novel set in Buckinghamshire.
If you have ever come across Carole on Twitter, or seen her beaming smile in her promotion photos, you KNOW that Happiness for Beginners will be an upbeat and (mostly!) feel good story. She just exudes positivity and a generous spirit (and I haven’t even met her!).
Molly runs Hope Farm, from her battered caravan. She largely took over when her Aunt Hettie, with whom she grew up, passed away. Molly had a difficult childhood with a mother who was fond of too many tipples and Hettie took her under her wing. Now at Hope Farm Molly wants for nothing, her pleasure is giving the wayward animals in her care a good enough home.
There is Anthony the anti-social sheep, the trio of Alpacas, Little Dog and Big Dog, Dick the cockerel and so many others, all awkward animals with troubled histories and individual quirks. At Hope Farm, however, they can find redemption and love. Children and young adults – who are struggling to fit in at school and society – come to learn about animals and work through their own difficulties under Molly’s watchful eye and tutelage. For both children and animals this is the last-chance saloon….
The farm is on a financial knife-edge. Molly still lives in a caravan with no facilities to speak of. One day Lucas arrives with his father Shelby Dacre. As Molly doesn’t own a TV she has no idea that this man plays Gordon Flinton, the main character (and farmer) of Flinton’s Farm, a very popular TV soap. The irony is not lost on anyone – this is a man and actor who is allergic to animals!
Shelby is dropping Lucas into her tender care because he has seemingly been misbehaving at school, even accused of arson but Molly is just the person to bring him round. Soon, however, Shelby is spending a little more time than necessary at Hope Farm, although he is officially dating stellar actress Scarlett Vincent. Life is never simple!
The future of the farm is under threat from the HS2 development (a demonstration of the impact this costly development will have on ordinary folk!) and a fire takes hold in one of the barns. The bottom falls out of Molly’s world, what can she do, how can she save what she has? Might she just find a knight in shining armour coming to her rescue?
This is a delightful and uplifting novel, written with the author’s hallmark cheeky humour and there are plenty of wry observations. The setting is bucolic England with lovely characters, both animal and human, careening across the green and pleasant land.
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