screenshot159 Pauline Wiles’ Saving Saffron Sweeting, a 2013 Quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, is a charming tale of a woman who steps out of her own grief to find herself and make an impact bigger than she ever expected on her adopted community.

From the book summary: Grace Palmer’s British friends all think she’s living the American Dream. But
her design business is floundering and when she discovers her husband is cheating with her best client, she panics and flees home to England.

The tranquil village of Saffron Sweeting appears to be a good place for Grace to lick her wounds, but the community is battling its own changes. Reluctantly, Grace finds herself helping her new neighbours as they struggle to adjust and save their businesses. However, not everyone has the same opinion on what’s good for the village. The charismatic new man in her life may have one speculative eye on Grace, but the other is firmly on profit. How will she navigate the tricky path between her home and her happiness?

With gentle humour and generous helpings of British tea and cake, Saving Saffron Sweeting explores one woman’s need to define
herself through her career and community, before she can figure out who should be by her side.

I listened to the audiobook of Saving Saffron Sweeting, and while I found some of the narrator’s accents to be a little off, it didn’t take away from me enjoying the story.

I have a romantic view of the English countryside, and this story fed that well. Grace is a likable heroine who, although she makes decisions differently than I would, I found myself championing.  She accidentally finds a niche for herself within the Saffron Sweeting community, one with much bigger ramifications than she could imagine.  There were moments I laughed out loud, times I wanted to shake few characters, but mostly, I wanted to sit in the pub with them all and join their story.

Saving Saffron Sweeting  will appeal to fans of the ChickLit genre.  Listening to this in the same timeframe as I was reading books about murder and a memoir of a prison term was a perfect balm to all the darkness in the other books. That’s not to say Saving Saffron Sweeting doesn’t hold the same weight as the other stories.  It does. It just isn’t dealing with as dark of subject matter.  I still found myself wondering what I would do if I were in Grace’s shoes.  She’s lucky, in a way, with her ability to get so far away from what causes her grief. Physical distance can be a great aid to perspective.

Grace is plucky, the Saffron Sweeting residents engaging, and the village’s problems very real for a number of small towns.  I enjoyed this one and look forward to more from Pauline Wiles.