8 April 2012

Escape to the Country - by Patsy Collins

Debut novelist Patsy Collins has hit the ground running with her novel Escape to the Country.

Leah leaves her troublesome partner and the stigma of embezzlement behind as she escapes to her aunt’s smallholding in Kent.

Within the first few pages it’s clear that as well as the comfort of Aunt Jayne, Leah is sure to find romance too – but there’s more to this novel than the hope of a happy ending.

Patsy writes a very good story, she reminds me of Katie Fforde, but without the hysteria that she seems to attach to her heroines. Whilst Ms Fforde has suspended the age of her heroines and alienated her maturing fans, Patsy has surrounded Leah with believable characters of varying ages, thus creating a solid story.

For differing reasons we all need a comfort zone, and Leah’s aunt provides that – I especially loved the way Patsy uses traditional food as a metaphor for the comfort she was offering her niece.

As the story developed, so did a lovely fuzzy feeling – I almost felt hugged by it.

Often we think we know how these stories will end, but if we’re taken on a well written journey we suspend our own analysis and let the author guide us.

I get frustrated when some books just fizzle out; perhaps the author wants to reinforce that in real life things don’t always get tidied up. Thankfully Patsy doesn’t spoil her story with too much realism, just enough to keep it intriguing and believable.

Much of the novel is dialogue driven and this is possibly where the true strength of this book lies. I particularly loved the exchange between Leah and Duncan towards the end – when they ‘introduce’ themselves.

As I read the final chapters I was aware that I was grinning to myself, not because of anything hilarious, on the contrary. I was just aware of a lovely feel-good factor – making this the perfect book to snuggle up to on a cold, summer’s day!

Escape to the Country is available from Amazon: Escape to the Country