Cover Image: Starting Over at Acorn Cottage

Starting Over at Acorn Cottage

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed reading this book. I was hooked from the beginning. I just love books like this. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
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I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for asking me to read and review.
Starting Over at Acorn Cottage was a wonderful read. It is well written with some characters that you can relate to and feel the emotions that they are going through. The plot draws you in, keeping you wanting more and turning those pages.
A brilliant, addictive read.
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Really really liked this book, easy quick read. Liked that I could easily fall into the story after reading a few heavier books
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Once is started if found is very hard to place this book down.  All the wonderful characters had we totally engaged in their world as the story progressed.  This book is more about new beginnings and finding your true happiness than what I expected.  Can you fall in love with all four of the female characters in the same book, I say yes as each one had something that enhanced the other and gave this story a magical happy feel-good story.

Clara - broken-hearted Clara buys a country cottage called "Acorn Cottage" in a drunken payback to her cheating ex and best friend.  Of to a little village call Merryknowe she goes but what she finds is worse than she thought.  But can Clara find the strength to start a new life in a new place?
Tassie - is a local resident of this dying town, she was an ex-teacher of Maerryknowe and is now in her nineties.  Tessie brings so much joy and mystical magic with her tea leaf reading to the book.  She was a wealth of knowledge to both Rachel and Clara as they shared their lives and personal growth with her during this story.

Rachel - Is not happy she under the control of her mother in every aspect of her day to day life.  She has not life no reason to get up out of bed each day.  She meets the new girl in town how shows her friendship and possible understanding.

Pansy  -a six-year-old this will warm your heart with her innocence, energy and youthful truth.

And there always has to be one handsome man to give us strength, trust, sexiness and the possibility of love.  Henry is a widower with a young daughter Pansy,  he is a thatcher and all-round handyman.

Each of the adults has some issues with there past they have not faced the true yet but with the ability to help each other this little community might just find themselves all in a much better and happier place by the end.

One person will start the domino effect to change many lives in this book I am happy to give my honest review of a new author to me.
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An excellent story that kept me hooked till the last page.
The cast of characters is well thought and likeable, the setting is lovely and the plot flows and is well crafted.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Amazing storyline, had me captured from first chapter! Absolutely loved it! Can I move to Merryknowe?
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Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster is an emotional heart tugging story. I fell in love at first page. These characters are funny, quirky, and charming. I enjoyed how the community got together and were always helping each other. So many issues such as abuse within a family were discussed. The loss of a loved one and the loss of a dear friend are tough to survive through and yet it brought the cast of characters closer. Clara, the main character is my favorite. She had a cheating boyfriend, a bad best friend, and an abusive father. She still came out shinning like a star. I wanted to hug her fiercely. Then, my next favorite character was the older lady Clara befriends. She was magical. Tons of humor and action to enjoy in this amazing read!
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This is such a wonderful read that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish and did not want to put it down. 

Clara Maxwell lives a nice quiet life which is just how she likes it. She lives with her boyfriend and works at her local bank. Clara has always worked hard and has slowly worked her way up within the bank so has a well paid position. This has allowed Clara to save some money. Little did she realise that her life was about to make a drastic change when she finds out that her boyfriend and her best friend have been having an affair. Clara is heartbroken and decides she needs to make a clean break in her life and makes an impulse purchase of a thatched cottage in the country.

Acorn cottage was sold to Clara as a bit of fixer upper but Clara was still not prepared for just how much work lay ahead of her in making the cottage just how she would like it.  

Clara has asked Henry Garnett, a local contractor to give her a quote for all the work involved and Clara is surprised when he arrives in a van shaped like a pretty cottage. He also has his daughter Pansy in tow who Clara finds adorable from their first meeting. 

There is a spark of attraction between the two of them from their first meeting but neither of them is ready to shake off the heartbreak they have both faced in the past. 

It is not long before Clara falls in love with the village of Merryknowe and all of the residents within the village. She is soon making friends and helping the other residents too. 

Could Merryknowe be just the place that could heal Clara's broken heart. With all the magic in the air anything seems possible. 

This is wonderful and addictive read that I did not want to end. I loved the writing style of this fantastic story as I feel it flowed well and kept you wanting to read just a bit more.

It becomes clear as you read the book that Clara has many difficulties within her past and at times the story is told from her childhood. This has made her the character she is today. 

Henry has had plenty of difficulties within the past especially becoming a single parent to the adorable Pansy, who at times will really make you laugh out loud. There is also a cast of villages who  become big parts within the life of Clara.

This is a brilliant read full of plenty of love and emotion that will have you reaching for a tissue at times but will also make you giggle too.

This book is perfect for some much needed escapism.
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We have all been guilty of making an accidental drunken online purchase, but Clara has us all beat. After breaking up with her boyfriend she purchases a cottage, sight unseen, to mend her broken heart and start over. 

However upon arriving at Acorn Cottage, the fixer-upper described is more decayed that she thought. And when her new contracted turns up, with his little girl things start looking up. 

The little village of Merryknowe captures Clara’s heart and as she discovers secrets and tells her own, she finds peace at last in a home made for her. 

I devoured this book in one sitting. I loved every word of it. The cover doesn’t do it justice. I assumed it was going to be a bit of mindless fun, however I was very wrong. It deals with deeper issues of loss and family violence and the repercussions of loneliness.  However at the heart of it you are left feeling hopeful and uplifted.
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The cosy village setting was definitely a welcome one and for me added an extra element to enjoy. The story was full of emotion - from warmth and love to sadness. I really liked the mysterious element too.
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This was a really lovely book.  It was a beautiful escape from life in quarantine, to an English village complete with tearooms, a white witch, and cottages complete with thatched roof and handsome handyman. In other times I might have found this book too sweet for my tastes, but right now it hit the spot just right.

I should mention that there are themes of domestic abuse in this book in case that is a trigger for you.  I thought that the treatment of these topics was very sensitive. I usually prefer that characters who have undergone trauma receive treatment  to help them move on but there was a really interesting stand-in for a therapist in this book.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.  The copy I read had a larger than usual number of typos. I'm hoping that these were largely corrected in the final version.

I recommend "Starting Over at Acorn Cottage" to help get you through these challenging times.
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This book was so incredibly magical, and I didn’t want the story to come to an end, because it was just so lovely. This is the perfect antidote to the world outside right now, and the characters all add their own little magical touches which made me love them even more. From the outset Clara is just so innately good, and she drops everything to help anyone who needs her help, which is a quality that is in short supply in reality right now, and is a quality that most of us probably aspire to.

The absolute star of the show in this story is Tassie McIver, who brings a lot of the magic to the story, and is a little old lady that I simply adored. I really think everyone needs a Tassie in their lives! As wonderfully feel-good as this book is, it has a darker side to it too, dealing with abusive control in a sensitive way, and addressing carefully the aftermath to the abuse, with recovery aided by true friendships, and community spirit as the friends all rallied round.

The value of community is a theme that runs through this story, and I found it so heartwarming that I wanted to move immediately to live in a pretty thatched cottage in a village where everyone comes together to help one another, together with a magical bakery/cafe filled with delicious baked goods.

Kate Forster was a new author to me, but I will definitely be reading more of her work. ‘Starting Over at Acorn Cottage’ was an absolute joy to read.
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Favorite Quotes:

Clara had found the evidence in Judy’s kitchen while looking for a bowl for nuts, and she had wanted to put Giles nuts in the container there and then.

‘I knew the woman who lived there. Sheila Batt. Like name, like person. She was an old bat. Died in her bed upstairs. I am surprised they didn’t find her hanging from the eves by her toes.’ Clara made a face of horror but Tassie shrugged. ‘We all have to go sometime. Better to be in your bed than on the toilet like Elvis.’

‘I did think something was in the air today, as I had a very itchy left eyebrow.’ Clara peered at Tassie’s eyebrows, which were drawn on with an eye pencil. ‘What if the right one was itchy?’ she asked. ‘Left is a lady visitor, right is a gentleman visitor. I don’t think the right one is even functioning anymore.’

You don’t get to choose if you have a baby or not really. The baby chooses you. Some women aren’t ready to have them and that’s fine and some yearn for them so much they scare them away. I yearned. Still do sometimes, even though my insides are now pickled and George has been dead for thirty years.

My Review:

How have I not read this talented scribe’s work before?  I adore her!  Goodreads reports twenty-six different books to her credit, where have I been?  I am kicking myself for not noticing her stand-out skills sooner as I was an instant fan and an ardent devotee of her clever humor shortly after sinking into page one, and will also confess to savoring every perfectly chosen word and wittily written storyline ALL the way through.  I giggle-snorted and gleefully wiggled in my chair with uncontainable delight at the unexpected nuances, captivating characters, and thoughtful little touches and perceptive insights that made this fabulous little tale a sublime and magical read.  It was divine.
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A sweet, endearing story to enjoy and visualize. A lovely cottage, interesting characters and a village you would want to stop in. Although some of the language(words) used was specific to the setting, it did not take away from the story of companionship, friendship and the importance of connection.
The descriptions were vivid and conjured up the scents of good food or the memories we need to leave behind with equal skill.
Would love to see this book made into a film.
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LOVED this book. From the cover you might assume it’s a light read but this was so much more. Such meaningful  characters surrounding a story of life, love, and starting over. Definitely a keeper!
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I loved this book.
Glad it had a happy ending. 
I can see acorn cottage in my mind as I read this story from when Clara first saw it to when it was finish and set up as a home.
I'm happy that Rachel got away from her stepmother I would have like to see moira face charges but the way Rachel dealt with her was good.
It's so good about Clara and Henry having their own happy ending.
I can't wait to buy this book just so I can 're read it all the time.
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One of the more delightful books that I have read in quite awhile. Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend.  Clara decides she wants to make a new start of it and moves to a small village.  She buys a cottage unseen and when she gets there it isn't the white picket fence version she was thinking about.  The thatch roof has a hole and her repairman Henry and young daughter Pansy come to save the day. Clara soon starts to make new friends.
This story was so sweet. The characters were lovable and you have so much compassion for each one of them.
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A multi-layered and wonderfully nuanced tale that brilliantly juggles light and shade, Starting Over at Acorn Cottage is a gripping and poignant tale of renewal, redemption and healing written with all the insight, sensitivity and warmth which have become talented author Kate Forster’s trademarks.

The rug had been well and truly pulled out from under Clara Maxwell’s feet when she had discovered her boyfriend fooling around with her best friend. Shocked, heartbroken and devastated, Clara cannot stomach spending another moment in London surrounded by memories of this earth-shattering betrayal, so she packs her bags and heads over to a thatched cottage in the country. Acorn Cottage is going to be a fresh start and a brand new beginning for Clara – it’s just a shame that on arrival, she is greeted by a house that is less Homes and Gardens and more condemned by every single authority in the land. Still handsome contractor Henry Garnett is on hand to help turn this nightmare into a dream home and with nothing else to lose, Clara prepares to roll up her sleeves and to start building roots in her new home.

The little village of Merryknowe soon casts its spell over Clara, despite it not exactly being as picture perfect as she had previously imagined.  As Clara begins to settle down, she starts meeting this community of folk who people the village which has become to mean a lot to her from lonely baker Rachel to wise old lady Tassie and her penchant for fortune telling and tea leaves – not to mention finding herself getting closer to Henry and his charming daughter, Pansy. The more time Clara spends in Merryknowe and Acorn Cottage, the more she finds herself falling head over heels in love with her new home – and the man whom she simply cannot stop thinking about, Henry Garnett…

Will Acorn Cottage provide her with the second chance Clara has been searching for? Or is there more heartache and disappointment in the pipeline?

Kate Forster’s Starting Over at Acorn Cottage is an enchanting and captivating tale that touches the heart, lifts the spirit and will have readers reaching for their tissues on many an occasion. A deftly written, emotional and compelling tale about letting of the past, taking a leap of fate and healing from the wounds of the past, Starting Over at Acorn Cottage is full of charm, heart and humour with fantastic characters that are brilliantly sketched, believable and will become so real by the end of the book, readers will not want to say goodbye to them.

Dramatic, witty and wonderfully engaging, Starting Over at Acorn Cottage is another winner by Kate Forster.
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A story about gentle souls reeling from the harsher aspects of life, being drawn to a village whose life is ebbing away. The story is told from multi-point of view and explores how friendship love and a little bit of magic can transform lives and places. 

Bereavement, domestic abuse and forgiveness are the story's major themes. The horror of them sensitively portrayed. As is, the power of good friends, love and sharing dark secrets with someone you trust.

Even though the subject matter is dark, there is plenty of light in this story. Delightful characters, you want to succeed and a special older lady Tassie who is distinctly mystical.  The conflicts are real and angst-ridden, but so is the love and understanding that overcomes them. 

This is an engaging, heartwarming, story with characters that resonate.

I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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When Clara finds that her boyfriend and her best friend have been going behind her back, she knows it's time to say goodbye - to both of them and to her life as it is. She has always dreamed of living in a thatched cottage, so, after a glass or two of wine too much, she goes online and bang! Buys a thatched cottage, in Marryknowe. Acorn Cottage looks so beautiful on the photos.
However, as it turns out, right after Clara's arrival to her new place, the cottage is almost uninhabitable. Forget the roses in the garden when there is not much more else than a roof over her head, and there are still some holes in it.
Fortunately, Henry and his daughter Pansy arrive in their little van, Henry looking for a job, and Clara's cottage is perfect for him to start working asap.
But is Acorn Cottage really the place that will help Clara to heal?

The book is written in a way that immediately sucks you in and you are truly invested in Clara's life. She's this kind of character that you want to succeed, keeping everything crossed for her. There were moments that I was wondering if Clara is showing us her true colours, as, you know, she was everywhere and wanted to help everyone, no matter what. She was not noisy, oh no, she just wanted to help, and I was thinking, is this a diversion? Does she want to hide something from us? The more we got to know her, the more I felt secure in my belief and it turned out that Clara was a much more complex character that we could think at first. Getting to know her story was heart - breaking and sometimes hard to read, but seeing her opening has made my heart sing - she so deserved her happy end.
As well as Rachel - her subplot was truly surprising and sometimes shocking, also not so easy to read, and it's awoken all kind of emotions in me. To be honest, I at first couldn't understand why she hasn't done anything, but the more I read the more I started to understand things, Rachel and the whole situation. How can you help yourself when your whole life you were told what to do and whatever you did was criticised, right? I loved seeing how creative she was, I loved her little rebellions and loved seeing her growing in confidence.
Tassie was a very interesting character and I liked her very much. There was this magical element to her, and not only because she could read tea leaves, but she could also see things in the future and she was very wary about nature, being able to read all the signs it was trying to tell us. However, as much as I liked her, it was a hard cookie to chew, to believe - yes, it was a bit overdone. I get what the author wanted to achieve here, and generally she has managed it, Tassie bringing out all the positive things and changes, but I could really live without this element of magic.

I must admit that the book took me a little by surprise, especially the fact that, except being a charming romance, it also touches upon very heavy issues, bringing tons of depth to the plot and the characters' development.

Altogether it was a lovely story, but there were too many moments that it simply felt too forced and too clichéd. There were also moments that the story felt so chopped and so abrupt, and I had to check if I've missed a page or two. And there were a few things that seemed out of place and the book could do without. Also, I'd love the story to be more ambitious, as the things were either black or white, I've missed the shadows between.

"Starting Over at Acorn Cottage" is a story about community, about friendship, courage, strength and keeping together, about forgiveness and kindness. It shows how strong women can be, and that it's so important to keep your eyes open and see when people need help. The author has a way with words and she knows how to balance lightness and humour with all those heavy issues she has decided to write about - and hats off to her for doing this, as she's touched upon issues that are not easy to be talked about. This book made me smile and it made me think, personally I enjoyed the story very much.
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