Maddy Young thought she had it all.
Swanky city apartment? – yep. Fancy car? sorted. High-flying career? – tick.
Even if she’s lost most of her friends because of spending all her time at work, and can’t remember when she last had fun, it’s worth it.
Until she’s suddenly made redundant. Now she’s 37, jobless, and after the breakup with the former love of her life, unhappily single.
Enter Maddy’s childhood friend, Beth, the owner of Growlers, the doggy daycare centre at Giddywell Grange, on a mission to make Maddy see there’s more to life than work.
Soon, Maddy is swapping spreadsheets for volunteer duty at the library, daily Starbucks for cups of tea with elderly neighbours, and her Prada handbag for doggy poo bags… And with Beth’s gorgeous brother, Alex, back from the States, Maddy starts to think that Giddywell Grange might just be her happy place.
But when her old life – and her old boyfriend – comes calling, will Maddy go back to the job she loved so much? Or will she discover that the key to happiness lies in making others happy?
An uplifting romantic comedy that will warm your heart – perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Milly Johnson and Katie Fforde.
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??
Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk.
Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.
When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.
Amazing Grace was her debut novel with Hera Books and came out in April 2019.
Escape to Giddywell Grange is Kim’s second novel.
Thank you so, so much to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources, and to Hera Books for inviting me on this blog tour (if you didn’t invite me, I was going to gate-crash!). Follow the blog tour until 1 October to see what these lovely bloggers are saying about Escape to Giddywell Grange …