Several weeks ago I was contacted by author Caitriona Leslie with the question whether I wanted to review her novel, ‘Alice-Rose.’ I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous cover of the book, and after reading the blurb I already got quite excited about reading it. I have always been fascinated by country manors, hidden between green hills, with stories of families from different ages. ‘Alice-Rose’ promised to provide me with one of those tales starring a heroine and a beautiful house, so that’s already two checks for a promising read, if you ask me!
It has been three years since Libby Finn lost her husband and moved back to her parents’ estate, where she lives in her own cottage. However, when country manor ‘Alice-Rose’ comes onto the market, Libby knows it is time for her to move on and find her own place. And what could be a better home than the large estate she has such fond memories of from when she was a little girl? Libby decides to dive in straight away, but by doing so, she unexpectedly develops feelings for local estate agent Dan. Despite the age-gap between them, it seems the two are falling for each other, but the refurbishment of Alice-Rose, family and friends continue to get in the way...
One of the strongest features of this book is the group of likeable characters Caitriona Leslie has created. I liked Libby; she is a strong female character who knows what she wants, and even though she has been through a lot (losing her husband at such a young age), she is trying her best to build up a new life for herself. I also enjoyed reading about some of the other characters, like Jules (Libby’s best friend) and Paddy (the builder taking on the refurbishment of Alice-Rose). Overall, the characters form an interesting group of different personalities, which really added something to the book. I also liked the fact that the story was told from not one, but two perspectives, namely Libby’s and Dan’s. This provides the reader with the chance to discover not just Libby’s thoughts and feelings, which made the chemistry between Dan and Libby even more fun to read about.
There’s one detail that slightly annoyed me while I was reading the book; there are a lot of exclamation marks in it. In some instances, I didn’t quite understand why these were necessary for the story, and it was difficult to simply ignore them. Next to that, I was also slightly disappointed by the fact that the story doesn’t focus more on ‘Alice-Rose’ itself. After reading the blurb, I expected the country house to take on a significant role in the story, but the focus lies more on Libby and her love life. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy that, because I definitely did. There were even some unexpected twists and turns in there which I did not see coming. Overall, ‘Alice-Rose’ is an enjoyable romantic read with an Irish touch, perfect for a lazy afternoon!