Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Wedding Proposal, by Sue Moorcroft

In a new edition of the occasional series (but in a completely different genre this time), I want to tell you about a book that I've read and loved.  Like I say, it's not horror but if you give it a chance, I think you'll enjoy it as Sue Moorcroft delivers a great story once again.

Can a runaway bride stop running?

Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta.

Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?

Elle Jamieson has been made redundant from her high-flying IT post and decides to put off future career plans for a while.  Instead, she accepts an offer from her friend Simon, to live on his boat for a few months in Malta, au-pairing (which doesn’t, I found out, just mean looking after children) for friends of his and helping out volunteering at a local centre for kids.  However, when she arrives at ‘The Shady Lady’, she discovers that her ex, Lucas Rose, is also on board.  He is Simon’s nephew and neither of them want to move out, so as they adjust to close proximity to one another, after four years apart, it appears that secrets from the past might finally get unearthed.

I’m a big fan of Moorcroft’s writing and this is another cracking novel from her, filled with clearly defined (and mostly likeable) characters, told at a cracking pace and with a sure hand.  Shifting the location from her beloved villages around Peterborough to the sunny and bright ports of Malta is inspired and her use of location and atmosphere makes you feel the heat and the dust.  The Nicholas Centre, where Elle is volunteering by running the IT suite, is well used and feels real and introduces Carmelo, an 8-year-old who takes a shine to our heroine.  He’s a wonderful character, charming and warm and sad all at the same time and he really affected me.  The central romance is well played and raunchy, with both characters never less than believable, even as the secrets begin to unfurl themselves and family connections become strained.

Elle is independent and spirited and Lucas, a hero in the Moorcroft mould, grows in stature as the book progresses and his backstory comes out in snippets.

Well written and paced, making great use of fresh locations, this is a fantastic read and one I would highly recommend.