Cover Image: Escape to Giddywell Grange

Escape to Giddywell Grange

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Member Reviews

There are just some books that make you feel good inside. This lovely little book was one of those. Can’t wait to read more by this author.
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What a fabulous title for a book and it's as light and happy as it promises to be!

Maddy almost had it all - first-class apartment, fabulous company car, fantastic salary; however, she worked so hard that she forgot the important 'f' words of fun, family and friendships! When she suddenly loses her job, she realises that she is lacking in those and other things in her life, and takes some time to reconnect with the world. Her childhood best friend runs a dog care business on her family farm, and with an operation on the horizon she desperately needs someone to gallop to her rescue .. is it possible Maddy might change her designer shoes for wellies?

What a fabulous cover .. it really shows the spirit of the story within the pages! An enjoyable read, this is warm, light-hearted and lovely to read; a case of bring Maddy's head out of her 'ideal' world and back to earth to live in the real world. With a great range of characters, there is plenty to focus on and it's easy to go with the flow. It is all fairly predictable though, with no surprises hiding in the pages - and a full synopsis that almost reveals all - but that doesn't take away from the feel-good factor.  I would have liked something different to happen that wasn't what I already expected but it all went exactly where I thought it was heading. Still a nice read, though, and definitely worth 3.5*.

My thanks to publisher Hera Books for my copy and to Rachel's Random Resources for my spot in this Blog Tour. Of course, all stated opinions and completely honest and entirely my own.
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Ive been on a thriller binge again recently and this came along at the right time, something that soothes the soul, makes you asses your life and consider what you do for your community.

Maddy has it all, a high flying career & designer belongings so when she is called to a meeting she is sure that it is for a promotion, instead she ends up redundant. 



Now what does she do? She can only afford her flat for so long, her company car needs returning. When she turns up to her mums, she suggests visiting her best friend - and let me tell you - everyone needs a best friend like Beth. When she is taken into surgery, she sets Maddy a task list and gives her chance to consider what she wants to do in her life.



This book is honestly lovely, it really warmed me. I loved Maddy, i felt for her, i felt that she had put her all into her career and was given nothing in return - so i was rooting for her to discover her true passion in life. I already said how everyone needs a best friend like Beth and i will say it again, she is strong willed and literally only ever has Maddys best interests at heart.Not only were these two brilliant, there is a strong cast of surrounding family that adores both the girls plus a cheeky dog.



I really think this book is a true form of escapism and would recommend it over and over. A real rainy day pick me up, you just want to curl up and dive into this read.
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After reading and loving Amazing Grace the debut release from Kim Nash, I was really excited to receive my copy of this new release and wow I was not disappointed. I was really addicted to reading this and I could not put it down. 
Maddy Young is loving her life. She feels like she has it all, the job, the apartment and a rather nice car. She doesn't get any chance to see her friends but that's all part of being a success isn't it?
Things however do not go to plan as in one swoop all of this coming comes crashing down around her when she is made redundant. This is not the final blow though as once he's found out she's no longer living the high life she is dumped by her boyfriend. 
With all the drama that she's got going on in her life Maddy moves back home to her mums house to try and get her life back in order. 
It s while she is at her mums and licking her wounds that her mum decides to try and help Maddy by encouraging her to seek out her childhood friend, Beth who still lives in the area they both grew up in. 
When Maddy meets up with Beth the years they have been apart just melt away and they begin to get closer again. 
As the two of them become closer Beth reveals to Maddy that she is going to be having surgery on her back and will need Maddy to help her. Maddy agrees to help out Beth and is soon swept up in helping out at Growlers, the dog day care centre that Beth has set up.
Maddy soon realises that Beth doesn't just work at Growlers,  Maddy is shocked to find out how much Beth is part of the community and soon Maddy finds herself loving doing so much for others too. He life becomes helping at growlers where she has swapped her corporate suits for overalls and she is loving her new relaxed way of life. 
Things get shaken up for Maddy when her ex boyfriend comes back on the scene and he is determined to try and bring her back to the life she left behind. Maddy has a difficult decision to make.  She enjoying her new life more than her old one, and has made lots of new friends on the way. She has also become close to Beth's brother, Alex, and sparks are flying between the two of them. 
Will Maddy go back to what she knows or will she take a leap and decide that she is much happier with her new relaxed life helping others?
Kim Nash has done it again! What a brilliant read!
I loved this book from the first page to the last. 
I love the writing style of Kim Nash. Her books flow really well and really do draw you into the stories. 
I really enjoyed getting to know Maddy and reading and watching her grow in confidence. You find out more about her as you read through the book. She is a fantastic characters and one you can relate to. 
Beth is such good friend to Maddy and one we could all have in our life. She knows what Maddy needs even before Maddy can see it herself.
The setting for this book sounds amazing and there is such a contrast between the quiet community that Maddy becomes a part of, and the hustle and bustle of the city that she left behind. 
With a cast of fantastic supporting characters that all help Maddy along the way and the spark of romance added in to this is such a feel good read that will stay with you long after you have read the book.
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Lately life isn’t easy for Maddy Young. She lost everythjing important in her life: job, appartment and the boyfriend. Now she is lonely, jobless, 37 and really unhappy.

But she is given opprotunity to do something different and help her friend Beth, the owner of Growlers, doggy day-care. Beth will have operation so she won’t be able to take care of Growlers and that’s why Maddy becomes involved with new community where she meets many lovely people. And there’s also Alex, Beth’s brother and you can help but notice connection between him and Maddy.

But she is given opprotunity to do something different and help her friend Beth, the owner of Growlers, doggy day-care. Beth will have operation so she won’t be able to take care of Growlers and that’s why Maddy becomes involved with new community where she meets many lovely people. And there’s also Alex, Beth’s brother and you can help but notice connection between him and Maddy.
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Maddy has lived the high life, designer clothes, great holidays etc but she worked hard for these things. 
Then suddenly things change.
She finds herself back where she was brought up and helping out her childhood best friend Beth.
Maddy starts to realise she’s having fun making other people happy and looking after the dog Baxter...but will she go back to her old life?
This book is a fun, warm hearted easy read. 
I really enjoyed the different characters and story and left me smiling inside.
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Favorite Quotes:

Celine is my idol. She’s elegant, dramatic, stunning and just amazing. She takes no crap from anyone. She’s a badass. If I could be anyone in life, I’d want to be her.

We all have twenty-four hours in a day, Mads, even Richard Branson and Beyoncé. It’s what we choose to do with it which makes all the difference.

I’m so looking forward to reading these books. I love a good murder, the more gruesome the better. And Lei loves all these bloody daft romances that you’ve brought her too. Hope there’s no saucy books in there. I don’t want her getting ideas and ravishing me. I don’t think my heart is up to it these days.

Seeing something pink and white heading towards my face, I reached out and realised, to my absolute horror, that I had caught a pair of false teeth in my hands. I looked over and one of the old ladies in the front row was laughing her head off! I screamed and dropped them, which made her cackle some more. Hayley came over and apologised, saying that she should perhaps have warned me that Betty had a habit of laughing so much that her teeth flew out.


My Review:

I enjoyed this insightful and amusing British women’s fiction tale told from the first person POV of a designer power suit and high heels wearing corporate workaholic named Madison, “Maddy” to her friends. When her boss told Maddy to come in early before work to talk, Maddy had believed herself to be in line for a big promotion as she had been slaving away by coming in early, staying late, and working weekends for many years.  While looking at the desk she planned to be taking over and envisioning how she would organize her own possessions in the space, her boss quickly informed her she no longer had a job at all due to budget cuts or made “redundant” as the Brits say.   A stunned Maddy was immediately released to clean out her desk and informed to leave behind her laptop, phone, and that later the company car would be retrieved.  Yikes.  

Being at loose ends, Maddy found she time to spend with her long-neglected mother and tackle several lingering paternal questions and issues of her childhood, as well as pitch in to help her best friend, Beth, who required surgery.  In a vast departure from her Louboutin wearing corporate days, Maddy took on partial duties at Beth’s doggy daycare business as well as several unusual obligations to community projects during Beth’s long recovery.  Maddy began to realize she was happier than she had been in years and felt uplifted and fulfilled by completing tasks she would never have considered doing on her own, such as a singing engagement in a care home, delivering books to shut-ins, farm chores, and doggy wrangling – which included poo duty.  

Maddy’s evolution and eventual life-changing transformation were pleasantly entertaining and cleverly amusing.  I enjoyed Ms. Nash’s levity and wit as well as the strengths and skills she bestowed on her characters.  The storylines were relatable, easy to follow, and laced with humor and perceptive observations, and populated with an endearing and quirky group of characters.  

I addition to being delightfully entertained, Ms. Nash provided me with several new additions to my newly renamed “Brit List of Words and Sayings.”  Mr. Google and the Urban Dictionary were dutifully consulted for definitions for 1) having it off – which is British informal for having sex which some may consider rather rude; 2) lairy – which is slang for showing a loud or aggressive attitude, picking a fight, or being argumentative; and 3) pull my finger out – which amounts to stop dithering and get busy or “any lack of activity when something needs doing,” and I don’t believe I need to point out where that finger is supposedly lodged… do I?  ;)
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For some reason, this book reminded me of A Christmas Carol, with Maddy's friend, Beth, playing the part of the ghost of Christmas and showing Maddy the error of her ways of her pre-redundancy life. The message in the story is one of self-discovery and the realisation that what you think you want, isn't necessarily what you actually want or need to make you happy. Although romance, between various couples, features in the book, it's not the focus. At times, I wanted to sit Maddy down and give her a good talking to, as she vacillated about her feelings for her ex, and the fact that I got quite cross with her, is telling, as it meant I was invested in her character and her story.
Then there's Baxter... who couldn't help falling in love with a gorgeous dog like him!

A lovely read about what really makes us happy.
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Maddy's life has been turned on its head.  Just when she thought all her hard work was finally paying off, BOOM...redundancy.  Thing is although this isn't the ideal situation for her, it is a time to collect herself, reflect on her life, and perhaps if she's lucky, refocus on the things that really matter.  You see, as with most of us in this GO GO GO, ACHIEVE ACHIEVE ACHIEVE world, she lost sight of what's important, pushed away her other dreams and desires that didn't fit the work goal she was aiming for, and accepted love that was less than what she deserved, but never really SAW it for what it was.  NO, really...even after everything that happened, she actually considered...the word yes escaped her lips....meetings were had...and just ugh!  I was beside myself when the ending rolled around, I'll tell you that.  Anywho...

When all seems lost, that's when Maddy, the REAL Maddy, seems to be found....along with a little behind the scenes help from her best friend, Beth.  Yes, she did really need her help when she was recuperating from surgery, but she didn't have to send her to all those places; she did so to help her reconnect with the person she was while reconciling "her" with the person she'd become.  It was sweet, it was eye-opening, it was just what she needed even if she didn't know it at the time.

All in all, an enjoyable read for Women's Fiction and Chick-Lit fans.  The only drawbacks for me were A)  I didn't really see the "comedy" in the "romance" (as in the sub genre it was granted), B) I really enjoyed the outings she was sent on, but at some point it seemed like a few TOO many (I loved her finding herself, but wished it was a little faster), and C) that ending...or rather things leading up to it.  Oye!  I just could not believe things were unfolding like they were unfolding.
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The synopsis gives a wonderful idea as to what the book is about. I met maddy as she is nervously waiting for her meeting where she is expecting to be promoted. This is something that Maddy feels she deserves due to all the hard work she has being doing over the years in PR. Work has been her life she has missed family and friends important events and not seen them as much as she should have done because she has been too busy with her work. So from anticipated nervous excitement she is suddenly dropped into a devastated place where she feels she is now surplus to requirements.

I immediately felt my heart go out to Maddy and I quickly found myself caught up with the story within a matter of a few paragraphs. This is the second book by this author and yet again she has absolutely and completely had me hooked and wrapped up within her writing.

I love how quickly the author shows the extreme emotions with Maddy, from enthusiasm to dejected in just a few words. It is this empathy that she brings out in the reader that shows how well she engages with this reader. I think this is why she is going to be a writer whose future books I will always buy without giving it a second thought. I know this is only the second book she has written but I am already a huge fan.

So, from starting the book I spent a few delightful hours devouring the story, I learned about Maddy, her Mum and her best friend Beth. I love how the once best friends had drifted due to Maddy’s work, but instantly connected when Maddy decides to come home again. I must say I also love the characters of Uncle Tom and Alex. They, along with Mum and Beth are full of advice and support as Maddy tries to find her feet and are on hand with loads of love and hugs with the occasional kick up the backside for good measure.

I loved watching the transformation in Maddy from a highflying PR career woman to one who pick up poo as she helps in Beth’s Dog Kennels. The author got the balance so right as it would have been so easy to stray into that feeling of “how the mighty have fallen”, but instead of that she created a character who is warm, helpful and supportive, as I said she got the balance right! The author has created little situations where Maddy is not expected to take part, but she when she surprises people and does these little tasks, it makes for humorous reading.

Life is not straight forward for Maddy and even though she has taken a step back from the PR world, she still has her eye out for another job while helping Beth out. I loved that nothing was straight forward and I wasn’t sure how things were eventually going to pan out and I discovered some nice little surprises along the way!

The author has once again created a story that completely wrapped me up for the few hours that I sat and read. I loved watching the characters develop through the story and how they react and interact with each other. The feeling of warmth, love and family at Giddywell Grange is fabulous and sounds a wonderful place that I would quite happily love to live in.

This is a story about searching your soul and doing what is right and best for yourself. Maddy is fortunate to have a great cast behind her as she learns and discovers things about herself, what makes her happy and I loved watching her discover that there is more to life than a high flying stressful career.

This is a wonderful heartwarming story the I would absolutely Recommend because it is just fabulous. And left me wanting to read more by this author
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A delightful and dazzling romantic comedy full of warmth, charm and heart, switch off your phone, cancel all social engagements and curl up in a comfy chair because once you start reading Kim Nash’s irresistible romp, Escape to Giddywell Grange, putting it down is simply not an option.

At thirty-seven years of age, Maddy Young thinks that she has the world at her feet. The high-flying city slicker has got it all: a fantastic job, a terrific sports car and a swanky apartment that would make most people weep with envy. It doesn’t matter to Maddy that she has no friends, no boyfriend or no life outside work. She is immensely happy with her life and loves her lifestyle – until it all comes crashing down around her ears. Maddy finds herself broke, single and jobless and wondering what on earth she is going to do next. Maddy had spent most of her days – and nights – locked in her office up to her eye balls in spreadsheets and databases, so unemployment is something which she is simply not at all prepared for. However, when an old friend comes back into her life, will Maddy end up realizing that perhaps losing her job was the best thing that could have happened to her?

Maddy’s old friend Beth is determined to make her see that there is more to life than work. The world is hers for the taking, but Maddy needs to stop wallowing and start living. As she begins to swap designer handbags for poo bags and high-powered business meetings for shifts at the local library, Maddy quickly realizes that life at Giddywell Grange suits her down to the ground – especially when Beth’s brother Alex returns from the States looking as tempting and good-looking as ever.

However, when her past rears its head and finds her in her happy place at Giddywell Grange, what will Maddy do? Will she go back to her old life – which includes the former boyfriend who had broken her heart? Or will she realise that Giddywell Grange is where her heart and happiness truly lie?

It’s absolutely impossible not to fall head over heels in love with Kim Nash’s fabulous romance, Escape to Giddywell Grange. Written with flair and confidence, Escape to Giddywell Grange will make you laugh, cry, giggle and lose sleep as you find yourself completely and utterly engrossed by this fantastic read. Tender, touching, uplifting and wonderfully feel-good, Escape to Giddywell Grange is a stellar romantic comedy fans of Veronica Henry, Sarah Morgan and Trisha Ashley are going to adore.

Kim Nash is a terrific writer who writes delightful romantic comedies that are as delicious as a slice of your favourite cake and I look forward to see what else this brilliant storyteller has in store for us in the not too distant future!
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Escape to Giddywell Grange is a gorgeously comforting, uplifting novel that you will devour and not want the story to end.
When the path you'd planned and envisioned taking is suddenly pulled away from you life as you know it feels lost.  Maddy Young was obsessed with work, her motto was work hard then play hard.  She spent most of her life working in her power suits and zooming around the country in her executive company car.  Her heart had been broken a few years ago but she felt positive for the future until she was handed her redundancy papers with immediate effect.  For someone who spent most of her time working Maddy hadn't a clue were to start on how to fill her time and a sadness crept in.
Maddy's best friend, Beth, felt like this redundancy was the perfect opportunity for Maddy to reassess her life and Beth had a cunning plan and had set tasks for Maddy to complete.   Tasks to step her out of her comfort zone, tasks to reignite lost loves and tasks to make Maddy think twice about the lifestyle she'd worked so hard to achieve.  Unbeknown to Maddy these tasks were tailored perfectly to help her overcome this stumbling block in her life.  We follow Maddy learning to pick herself up and move on from a blip in her life.
Kim Nash has written such a gorgeous story that is sadly very relatable in today's economic climate.  You can feel an empathy with Maddy but you also want to cheer her on with starting afresh.  I absolutely adored the setting of the story a farm with a doggy day care centre; animals do tend to bring out a softness to characters and bring warmth and charm to a storyline.  Relatable, romantic and perfect cosy read.
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Definitely one of the best books I’ve downloaded from netgalley! I loved all the characters and the storyline was very heartwarming. 

#NetGalley #EscapeToGiddywellGrange
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‘Escape to Giddywell Grange', is an amusing, poignant, romantic and uplifting story.

Maddy thinks she’s living the dream until her world crumbles when she loses her glamorous job. In shock, she returns home to the mother who has always put her first, and the best friend who she has sadly neglected and seeks the emotional comfort she needs. The opportunity to help her friend, when she needs her, is too good to resist, and after a while, Maddy realises that it may be the best choice she’s ever made.

This story leaves you with a lovely warm feeling. It celebrates everything that is good about humanity and shows that money and glamour and material things are worth nothing if they are not shared with someone special. The characters are well-written and believable, they have flaws, but in all but one case they are easy to like.

Maddy is at a crossroads in her life, and you want her to find something more worthwhile. Some of her decisions towards the end of the story had me shaking my head and telling her to think again, so she’s someone you can relate to and care about. Thankfully, the story comes to a convincing and hopeful conclusion.

If you’re looking for a lovely escapist read, this heartwarming, humorous journey of friendship, self-discovery and gentle romance is the answer.

I received a copy of this book from Hera Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Kim Nash really has a knack for writing characters close to the heart.  Although my family circumstances are different to Maddy's, I am someone who thrives on work, deadlines and the only times I've taken child related leave, I've been left feeling like something was missing.  When Maddy is made redundant and begins to see her life in a different way I found myself really reflecting on my own situation how my life would look if faced with the same dilemma.  Because of this, I immediately felt an affinity towards Maddy and was hooked until the very end.

As soon as she arrived in Giddywell, her childhood home where her mother and friends still live, I could feel the warmth, comfort and hope and I knew that everything was going to be okay.  With the help of friends old and new, Maddie begins to rebuild her shattered life and discovers a more peaceful work life balance and finds there is time for a little romance too. 

This novel is so uplifting and heartwarming and for me, a little thought provoking and inspiring.  It left me with the warm fuzzies and a glow of happiness.
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I read my fair share of contemporary 'happy' books and I read them to feel a little more pepped up at the end of the protagonists character ARC and when she reaches an understanding of herself and her own goals. I start with this because I know by now which stories I enjoy and which I just like. This, unfortunately, landed in the second category for me. I am once again in the minority as all the rave reviews online would indicate so read this review with that fact in mind.

Madison has been made redundant (this is not a spoiler it is the core of the blurb) and has more free time than she has had in more than a decade of working for the same company. There are a lot of things that happen to Madison over the next few months as she decides to help her best friend out. She is now involved in the farm and the doggy day-care in it, all the community projects that Beth (her friend) was involved in. She is also making new strides in her forgotten relationship with her mother and digging into a father she never knew. Now, here come the reasons these did not stick with me: She realizes a lot of things while going about all these life-changing events, she lists it out for us and then goes ahead and ignores every single one of these facts. There is this incident where a waitress at a restaurant provides her with a piece of advice, she mistrusts it and ignores it but she then does not use this incident anywhere in the debates she has with a lot of people about the next step she has to take. Normally, I wait for the defining moment when the protagonist learns and grows and makes a stand. In this case, it came a little too late.

I normally do not list my grievances like this about a good book, but the thing was these facts acted as speed breakers as I was starting to really grow fond of Madison! I would have loved the book if these discrepancies did not come into my field of vision and then prevent me from enjoying further. Madison learns a lot about her community and all the little things that go into helping each other and this is well done and you can see how the life of a close-knit community. Life that might make things interesting or even inspiring for the average person. I would recommend this book to readers of this genre, who like a good community-oriented story.

I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers but as you can see my review is completely based on my own reading experience.
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Maddie Young’s promotion isn’t quite what she expected.

I think everyone needs an opportunity to visit Giddywell Grange at some point, because Kim Nash has written a charming and heartwarming story that illustrates, through Maddy, what is important in life.

I found Maddy very relatable. Her obsession with work, her presentation of a public persona that is groomed, competent and confident whilst hiding a more diffident personality gave her a reality that I very much appreciated. I think every one of us has felt as she does at some point. At times she frustrated me too, especially when she was making decisions about her romantic relationships, which only made her all the more appealing because her actions added a flawed depth to her character.

The other characters felt rich and warm and it was a real pleasure to re-encounter some of those from Kim Nash’s Amazing Grace as they brought back the enjoyment I’d had in reading that book too. I think I might be ever so slightly in love with Alex! I’m really hoping Escape to Giddywell Grange isn’t the last we see of Beth as I’d love to know more about what happens to her after the end of this story.

Whilst there’s an entertaining plot that romps along in Escape to Giddywell Grange, with much humour to make the reader smile and considerable emotion, the thoroughly enjoyable story almost felt secondary to me as I found the themes in Escape to Giddywell Grange the biggest draw for me as a reader. Kim Nash understands completely the aspect of life that are important and worthwhile, and she manages to weave fantastic advice for happiness into her narrative. Being selfless, not worrying too much about physical appearance, the positive power of spending time with loved ones, with animals and in nature,  as opposed to just spending, are all messages that would enhance the life of any reader if they were to try out Maddy’s activities. I genuinely think reading Escape to Giddywell Grange could help improve the mental health of those suffering if they were to try out just a few of the things Madison experiences through Beth’s interference.

Escape to Giddywell Grange is an entertaining, pleasurable read written with Kim Nash’s distinctive pragmatic style, but more importantly, I feel, it is a wonderful, affirmative message about the true values in life. I finished Escape to Giddywell Grange with a feeling of huge positivity and renewed optimism for life.
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This is the kind of book I absolutely adore, you find yourself smiling and grinning like a loon while you read it. To me that’s always the sign of a fabulous read when I can’t control my emotions. It’s well written, addictive reading. Cute and adorable characters, a wonderful read.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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What a sweetheart of a book. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. The story of Madison gripped me from the first line, and each chapter revealed the beauty of the writing.

Having made redundant after working for a PR company for 12 years, Maddy was at a loss. But when life is tough, we all want to go to one place - back home. Maddy did the same. She went home to her mother, her friends, her old world that she had left far behind in a hurry to get into a business world. She discovered herself and her relationships, both new and old, and soon learnt the true meaning of happiness.

My first book by Kim Nash moved me beyond what I expected. I did not know I would have a lump in my throat while reading certain parts or a smile at others. I think I guffawed at a few places. The story pulled my emotions and kept me connected to it.

The writing was all heart, superfluous and exquisite, abounding in layers which showed me Madison's life in totality, what she was and what she was going to be. Every moment of her life felt precious. The lessons she learnt spoke to me in tiny, different ways.

The characters were beautifully etched, the author taking care in details. It was obvious they had received a loving hand in their conception. They were alive and added different flavors to the prose. The story had a few shockers too with secrets and past relationships, which rocked my thriller-y heart.

My attention gets distracted easily while reading books of this genre. But with this, at no point could I look away from it. I couldn't let go. I loved, loved, loved the story, no two ways about it.

Quoting a line from the book as told by Madison

I could feel myself grinning, and my heart felt full.

I feel the same too when I reached the end. A delightful, happy read.
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Grab a very large mug of your favourite hot beverage, a family-sized bar of spoil-yourself chocolate and a variety box of biscuits. Now, settle into a snuggly chair and get comfortable because that's the best way to read a book like this! Yes folks, Kim Nash, the 'Queen of Feel-Good' is back!

Madison (Maddy) Young has 'made it'! She's happy in her super corporate, high-flying PR career and about to receive the recognition and promotion she's worked so hard to achieve for the past 12 years at Ronington's PR & Marketing Agency. Until it all comes crashing down around her and the expected promotion turns into an earth-shattering, completely unexpected redundancy! Work had been her saviour when her relationship with boyfriend Jamie ended. I mean, where else would a corporate savvy supergirl turn? But now ... she has no clue what she's supposed to do with herself. She has no friends to speak of (who has time for friends when you're so busy climbing the corporate ladder?!), no partner to tell her things will be ok, and she's too shocked to even think of what her next move should be!

So she rather despondently takes herself home to her mom, and at the same time, pays a visit to her oldest, closest friend Beth who lives nearby at her family's farm Giddywell Grange, where she and her dad run Growlers - a doggy-care centre. Beth and Maddy have drifted in recent years, what with Beth having stayed close to home and hearth and Maddy doing quite the opposite. But now Beth is due to have a major operation that's going to have her laid up for a while leaving her dad short of an extra pair of hands to run the business. She's put the surgery off for so long, but now she can't postpone any longer. She views Maddy's redundancy with a bit of a twinkle in her eye and suggests that seeing as she's got some time on her hands, maybe she could come and help out? Well, it's a far cry from what she's used to, but Maddy does have fond memories of her younger days and how she loved spending time on the farm, and she really doesn't have anything else to do right now, so she readily agrees. Little does she know that Beth has a few ideas up her sleeve to remind Maddy of who she was before she became such a stuck up, corporate city girl and forgot all about the carefree life she'd led when she was younger.

Kim Nash has created characters that you want to embrace as your own friends. By the end of the book, I felt like I actually knew these people and that I'd found a true sense of satisfaction, knowing that things were on the right track for them. Nash's natural warmth and empathy are so clearly evident in her writing, and the way that she managed to include characters from her previous book was absolutely inspired! I loved that!

Ultimately though, I think that Kim's gift lies in the fact that while we think we're just enjoying the lovely story that she's created, she's also reminding us of the many stark realities that stare us in the face that we usually prefer to ignore. Maddy's 'Escape' to Giddywell Grange actually turns out to be her own 'saving grace'! While she is devastated by her redundancy and the loss of the life she's become accustomed to, she's given the golden opportunity to return to a life that she's forgotten she once loved, and she's able to re-discover her authentic self: the real Maddy who got lost along the corporate route to 'success' She thought that all that material wealth, and those business colleagues who she mistakenly thought were her friends were genuine. But as soon as her job was gone, the rest disappeared along with it. That happens to so many of us. We get so wrapped up in who, or what we think we're supposed to be, that we forget who we really are. The incredible message of this book is that the most important part of our lives is who we share them with, and what we can share with others.

A highly enjoyable 5-star read, with a deep, indelible message. And there are lovely, lovely dogs, Baxter in particular, which actually earns this book at least 1 or 2 extra fluffy stars. In fact, can I please book my doggies into Growlers when we go on our hols in December??
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