When Noelle Cooke inherits a quaint English cottage and an art gallery from her famous Aunt Joy, she welcomes a departure from her San Diego routine. But the lure of the Cotswolds, combined with a locked cottage room and a revealing journal, entice her to stay and discover more, including a way to save the gallery from financial ruin. And that means remaining in England.
When her childhood sweetheart, Adam Spencer, begins work on a restoration project in Noelle’s village, their friendship blossoms. But as her feelings for Adam deepen, she struggles with memories of what might have been and yearns for a future once thought lost. Faced with a life-altering revelation Aunt Joy took to her grave and a wrenching choice regarding the man she loves, Noelle could lose far more than her heart.
Traci Borum's novel 'Painting the Moon', the first part of the Chilton Crosse series, was released in June of this year by Red Adept Publishing. As soon as Traci Borum herself contacted me about possibly reading and reviewing her book, I had a feeling this was going to be a read I would really enjoy. I immediately fell in love with the simply stunning cover and the lovely title, and the blurb definitely managed to grab my attention as well. I love the UK and reading about a heroine who inherits a cottage in a small English village sounded like just my cup of tea, so I had high hopes for this novel when I finally found the time to pick it up!
Noelle Cooke unexpectedly receives a letter telling her her beloved great aunt Joy has passed away and she has been named the sole heir of the estate. Noelle decides to leave her life in San Diego behind to travel to England, to the small village of Chilton Crosse, to take care of everything that needs to be done, such as selling her great aunt's cottage. However, being back in England brings back memories of Noelle's summers spent there as a teenager with her two best friends Jill and Adam, whom she had a secret crush on. It doesn't take long before Noelle realises she isn't ready to leave the cottage and England behind just yet, so she decides to stay. Yet, certain family secrets and mysteries from the past are about to be uncovered which will turn Noelle's life even more upside down and will force her to think about what it is she really wants and what will make her happy.
This novel definitely managed to fit the high hopes I had, because I ended really enjoying it. The book tells the story of Noelle (who is an easily likeable main character) whose life is turned upside down by certain events, and how she tries to find herself, happiness and a place to call home. Basically, themes and issues we all deal with in our everyday lives, which is why I instantly warmed to Noelle, who is a caring and brave heroine. Completely throwing your life around is something we probably all think or dream about occasionally, and I admire Noelle for actually making it happen. Noelle is surrounded by a cast of wonderful characters, which made the story even stronger and more enjoyable. I couldn't help but fall for Adam, Noelle's childhood friend, and all the other people in the village of Chilton Crosse.
Chilton Crosse is a lovely setting and I personally really enjoyed the village feel the author managed to convey. The story was a bit slow at times, but on the whole well-paced and managed to keep my attention, especially with the mystery and romance elements added to it. I was really excited to discover that a second part of the Chilton Crosse series will be released quite soon, namely in December, titled 'Finding the Rainbow.' Another lovely title and I already can't wait to see what else Traci Borum has in store for us. 'Painting the Moon' is a compelling, light and heart-warming tale with a wonderful collection of characters and an enjoyable plotline at its core; a novel that comes highly recommended!