screenshot180 Gil McNeil’s newest novel, A Good Year For The Roses was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and perfect for your summer vacation (although, I would enjoy it any time of year).

A GOOD YEAR FOR THE ROSES [Hyperion Trade Paperback |July 1, 2014] introduces us to Londoner Molly Taylor, a mom for whom life hasn’t been a bed of roses. Newly divorced and struggling to support her three boys, she’s stunned when her beloved aunt dies and leaves her Harrington Hall, a three-hundred-year-old crumbling manor house on the Devon coast, where Molly grew up.

Molly knows moving to the Hall will be handful, and balancing house renovations with a motley crew of “paying” guests surely isn’t easy. (Will someone please keep the pet parrot away from the TV remote?) But through first computers, first parties, first dates (her son’s and her own!), Molly finds that her first year at Harrington Hall is a good year for the roses, and for her family.”

I had not read anything by Gil McNeil before, and perhaps the best compliment I can give A Good Year for the Roses is that I am going to be adding McNeil’s other books to my reading queue.

I liked the characters. I liked the plot. I liked the writing style.  I like the way Molly and her sons evolve. I especially liked the evolution of another character I won’t name here because why spoil the surprise?  I want to visit the English countryside and stay somewhere like Harrington Hall- and wander through its gardens and grounds. After all, the house and grounds are surely as much a part of the story as the actual characters.

There was nothing hysterical or melodramatic to the plot- just a nice story with believable characters and a sense of community and caring. Certainly some acerbic moments and I did cheer on Molly (and the other unnamed character) more than once.

This isn’t deep literature, nor is it meant to be. But it still involves gumption and courage and family and love and self growth, all without being heavy-handed.  Very British in that way, I suppose.  It truly was a perfectly timed read for me.   I think fans of women’s fiction – especially if you’re an anglophile on top of that- will really enjoy A Good Year for the Roses and I’m off now to add Gil McNeil’s other books to my queue.


*** I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***