The perfect follow on to the first book where we were introduced to the Nightingale family and their village life in the Suffolk countryside. In the first book, the focus was on Sam who owns a second-hand bookshop and this book moved on to his sister Polly and her delightful young son, Archie.
Polly has become a single mom after her husband Sean mysteriously disappeared three and a half years previously. She finally feels that she’s over the bulk of that trauma, and has gotten on with her life, raising her precious son, and helping out in Sam’s shop when she’s needed, or in her sister Bryony’s children’s bookshop that’s just across the street. But she’s declared herself off-limits to all future relationships. After all, although her husband’s not around, nobody really knows where he is, so she’s actually still married!
But things get a bit muddled when her neighbour Maureen’s son Jago arrives home from a stint in the States, and Archie becomes quite taken with him and insists that Jago gives him guitar lessons. Eventually Polly agrees, thinking that if she gets to know him, she could do some matchmaking for her younger sister Bryony, who’s also had her fair share of heartbreak and deserves to find love and happiness.
Polly’s family do their best to keep her busy, in order to keep her mind of her absent husband, and Sam decides that since he’s decided to start a village book club, she’ll be the perfect person to organise if for him! For those of us who have ever been in any sort of book club, we all know that as lovely as the idea is, the implementation is never quite that smooth! Bringing together different personalities with different tastes and opinions is never without its hurdles, and this book club is no different.
I absolutely loved reading about the different characters who join the book club! Victoria Connelly extracted the cream of the crop of village life in order to create as diverse a group as she could imagine, and the results are hilarious! However, although the book’s title refers to the book club, this is only a very small element of the book itself.
The themes are many, not all of them light, but all dealt with extremely well. Polly’s reactions to her husband (ex-husband) may seem strange, but when one examines and understands the circumstances that surround abusive relationships, one comes to realise that it’s impossible to question the way a person reacts in these situations. But the underlying theme of the series remains one of family, and the Nightingale family is a large one: noisy, warm, welcoming and astute! Oh, how I’d love to be invited to a Sunday lunch at their table, if only for the dessert, which always sounds scrumptious!
Another 5-star read in this charming series! Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me along for the entire 4-book-series tour (my choice). Look at what other bloggers are saying about Rules for a Successful Book Club …