The title drew me to the book, as I live close to the area depicted. I soon became engaged with the characters, particularly Lily, who seemed to have all the bad luck in the world heaped on her young shoulders. She could easily have become a martyr or saint, but luckily the author gave her flaws and strengths of character that saved her from that fate, and she was endearingly human. Maybe the other main characters were rather black or white, good or bad at times, and often carried out these roles as expected, but they were believable as types that inhabit every area of life, and even the most unpleasant had some redeeming spark, however tiny, so they weren't complete caricatures of pantomime villains.
I found the writing rather stilted at times, and the conversations not always convincing, and I winced at some of the grammar, punctuation and occasional spelling errors. On the other hand, the descriptions of Hampshire and Ireland were spot on, and I could see them in my mind's eye to perfection. I felt as if I knew each and every house and cottage, and the atmosphere inside. The relationships between the main characters were also convincing on the whole, as were their interactions with the places they inhabited.
I was left wanting to know what happened to Lily, Josh, Ben and the rest. Did the school succeed? Did Grace's make money? Did Edward get over his disappointment? In short, what happened next? Please tell!