Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being 'outed' at a village charity auction - he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.
As if that weren't enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.
But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet...
Julie Houston's novels are funny, wonderfully warm and completely addictive. Perfect for all fans of Gervaise Phinn, Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell.
|Publisher:||Head of Zeus|
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About the Author
Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me, Looking for Lucy a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.
Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me, Looking for Lucy and A Village Affair, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cassie has it all, or mostly: she’s got a new job as Deputy Head at the local primary school, her son is a maths whiz, her daughter is a netball fanatic, her husband is adoring and her house is picture-perfect, unlike the disorder she grew up with. Everything is just as she dreamed, when at eight she made a checklist for her life that detailed every bit about it. And then the charity auction happened, and she, with her best friends Fi, Clare, and Tina and their partners are talking about bidding on a holiday in Portugal until Tina’s husband speaks out and shares that Tina and Cassie’s husband have been having an affair for the past 2 years (or longer) and everything falls apart. See, at first Cassie’s smugness was a bit off-putting, but as I came to understand her upbringing with an activist mother who was more than a bit haphazard about cleanliness, social convention and fitting in, in a small village, her need to have both organization and ‘things’ made sense, as did her desire only to have him back in the home- not realizing until much later that he just ‘ticked all the boxes’ on the checklist that little eight year old girl made. With her position of Deputy Head at the school becoming Acting Head as the prior Headmistress died and there was no one lined up - school demands become her focus, and the way she avoids thinking (sort of) about Mark and the loss of her best friend Tina. But a development project is in the planning stages – one that will consolidate the little school (the last remaining CofE school in the north) into a pass through- where your entire schooling happens in one campus, plus 3000 additional homes, shopping centres and even a ski hill, the green space and farmlands are threatened – and the fight is on. Add in several chance encounters with Xavier, back to work with his father to develop the land, and the connection that she and he have that has her, for the first time in her life, feeling legless from love, and you’ve got a jam-packed plot with dramas large and small, daily struggles, friends good and bad, laugh out loud moments from the children and plenty of secrets that could have the power to blow-up lives, the story is fast-paced, surprisingly deep and emotional, and each character comes to show clearly who and why they are, and as Cassie finds her footing in new situations, she also finds her own self – strong, independent and clever. For a first introduction to Houston’s work – this one was a winner. We don’t often see he aftermath of infidelity in ways that everyone can relate – from the grief and overwhelming anger, to the hours spent plotting punishments, the ‘wish’ to have it all back, and the mistakes and choices made on the way to rediscovering your feet. Add in the moments with the kids and the squirrel in the pudding and pink sauce (read it to find out) and I was hooked. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Cassie Beresford is looking forward to a night out with her husband, her friends and their partners. About to begin her new job as deputy head teacher, the last thing she needs is her life imploding .. but hey, this is just the beginning! This is the first I've read this author, and her writing is so very funny! I have shaken with laughter in bed, spluttered various cups of coffee and even had a coughing fit from inhaling toast whilst enjoying this book. With the basis of a good story and engaging characters, this is a very enjoyable read but it's the humour which turns it into something special. Well written and superbly funny, this is one I'm not only happy to recommend but I intend to check out the rest of this author's novels. The thought struck me about half way through that tv sit coms have a Julie Houston shaped gap . . . My thanks to publisher Aria for my copy via NetGalley. This is my honest, original and unbiased review.
Well, what a brilliant story this turned out to be- so full of surprises and shocking revelations from the start to the end. Told in the first person by Cassandra Moonshine, it is a heartwarming story involving a wide range of well developed characters and a village community. Just days before Cassandra is about to start her new job as Deputy Head at the village primary school, she discovers her husband has been having an affair with the person she thought was her best friend. That’s just the first of many shocking revelations in this engaging story. With an eccentric Mum, a teenage son with his own dilemmas, a rebellious teenage daughter and builders wanting to build on green belt land as well as all the shenanigans of settling into a new role in a new school, life is definitely changing and challenging for Cassandra! I loved escaping into this story, the author brings the scenarios to life in your imagination as you read. There are some tear jerking moments, others to have you laughing out loud (especially one involving a squirrel), times when you wonder just how much more can go wrong for her and a superb ending to round it all off, leaving you with a smile on your face. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this brilliant read and I’ll definitely be looking out for more by this talented author in future. I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion after choosing to read it – and thoroughly enjoying doing so!
Cassie Beresford is feeling pretty smug. She's happily married to practically her first boyfriend, living her dream life in a modern house with two children and about to step into her dream job as deputy head of the local secondary school. Then a drunken friend announces to the entire audience at a charity dinner auction that Cassie's husband has been having an affair with his wife (Cassie's best friend for almost as long as she has known her husband) for the past two years. Suddenly the life that was so different from her hippy mother's is disintegrating around her ears. Suddenly alone, she finds out that she has been promoted to acting head after the head teacher died of a heart attack. Then, when things can't seem to get any worse, she finds out that local landowners are planning to build 3,000 homes on a beautiful piece of land backing onto her grandfather's house that he has planted with wildflowers and has become known as his field as a result. Cassie is dealing with her grandfather, her hippy mother, her goth daughter, recalcitrant parents and children at the school, the school governors, her ex-BFF and her ex-husband and the realisation that she may have over-compensated for her what she perceives as the short-comings of her childhood. I really enjoyed this novel, it had enough characters to be interesting, enough red herrings to make the love interest a surprise, enough plot to move the story along and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.