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4.5 out of 5 stars36
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2013
I finished this lovely book this morning. I recently picked it up secondhand and intrigued by the premise of the novel, decided to give it a whirl! Wonderful. It is basically the story of Juliet Rice, who from a broken home and the death of her father and abandonment by her mother, wants nothing more than "a home." She meets Simon and propelled by her broken past decides to rent a perfect flat and move in together. However, Simon has cheated on her with her best friend and their subsequent break up sets a chain reaction for Juliet.

I love the way the author used a myriad of themes in her story telling. Juliet finally meets her wonderful man and finds her dream home but this is after she has a few stumbling blocks on her way; namely quitting her job,finding a new career, facing her demons and opening her heart to the possiblity of new love.I also loved the way the author uses quotes from old homemaking manuals at the start of each chapter. This added to the theme of Juliet finding her perfect home; she sees that a return to basic values and simplicity is the key to her achieving her dream life. So much so that this retro approach turns in to a new career for her. Home definitely is where the heart is.

I really enjoyed this book enormously. It is a book about simple values, homemaking, family and what happiness is all about. The writing flowed and the story line never waived. The characters were brilliant and I really rooted for the protagonist Juliet. She cames across as a really likeable, down to earth character.

I felt sad to have finished this read but was very pleased with the ending and how the author brought the story together. Wonderful .
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on 8 July 2012
This is an AWESOME book! It is the first book I have read in a while that I finished in a whole day! I loved Juliet's character and her storyline, it did seem original which is rare currently. I loved the fact that although the book was chick lit, Juliet had a real story behind her life with regards to her parents and home life which made it different from rich parents who are just so perfect and/or mean. I really hope Amy brings out a sequel to this book, I think it would make a fantastic series. Keep up the great work, Amy!
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on 10 May 2012
I started this book one morning, & could not put it down! After not having read properly for ages, I finished it in three days, & that was whilst trying to stretch it out! I loved the homemaking quotes at the start of every chapter, I am now feeling inspired to dig out my sewing machine & adorn my house with craft. Fabulous book, I didn't want it to finish (though I think my family might be relieved to get some attention again!)
Loved it, thank you Amy Bratley, for some wonderful escapism from the rain.
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on 27 April 2012
This book was really easy to read, got into it straight away and enjoyed the characters and plot.
Could not put it down towards the end, and I am looking forward to Amy's next book.
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on 27 April 2011
Not much to say really, it's got a bit more meat to it than some chick lit books and I really enjoyed every minute of it- I read it in 3 sittings and that was trying to stretch it out!
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on 13 May 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed Reading this book and following Juliet on her journey to create a home. It was an easy book to read, yet interesting enough to not want to put down-in fact I read into the night in a quest to find out if the happy ending I had hoped for really happened. I hope Amy continues to write about Juliet's life because despite being a great story, I got so engrossed in the characters' ups and downs that I want to know more (Imogen? aprons? Happy ever after?)
I look forward to Amy's next book and hope that she becomes a household name in the chic lit genre.
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on 7 March 2011
I was really impressed with this book, despite my initial thoughts that it would be bog standard churned out chick lit, it was actually quite amusing as well as having a few unexpected twists and turns. It still follows the standard chick lit formula, nasty split at the start with a happy ending, but the heroine has an interesting backstory which unfolds throughout the book which is a bit of a change from the usual shallow characters in many books from the same genre. All in all a really enjoyable read, perfect if you're looking for something a bit deeper than Sophie Kinsella/Jill Mansell and other similar authors but still want a feel good read.
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on 3 January 2012
What a fantastic début from Ms. Bratley; this really is a superior chick lit, and one that I'm overjoyed to say I've read. I identified massively with Juliet, the girl who dreams of having her own perfect home with her perfect boyfriend - and as we follow her journey through hangovers and bad choices, from the realisation that her perfect fella ain't so perfect after all, the warmth of the book can't help but grab you. This book is un-put-down-able and a Must Read for any girl that still believes in making Christmas cards and baking your own bread. The characters in this book are strongly built and not at all transparent, with real depth. This, combined with the real-life situation, allows the story to unfold for itself - and the plot twists only draw you in further! I particularly enjoyed the quotes from 1950's home-making manuals that prefaced each chapter - a lovely, homely touch indeed. Buy, or borrow, this book, run a hot bath and slip into someone else's life for a while.
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Juliet is the lead character and one I instantly adored. You can see that all she craves is a home, a stable home with someone who loves her and she thought she had that with her boyfriend Simon. When she finds out he's been sleeping with their old flat-mate and Juliet's best friend, she is of course heartbroken, and kicks him out. You can feel Juliet's pain right from the off, and it was good to see a strong female character, one ready to kick out a cheating man and not accept his excuses. I loved Juliet as a character, and as the story progresses and we learn more about her, you can't help but empathise and feel sorry for her.

Juliet was abandoned by her own mother after the death of her father, and soon it becomes clear why Juliet is so desperate to create a home for herself. As we grow up, we all want a nice home to live in, with nice things and homely bits and bobs around the place, but Juliet soon gives up on that hope once Simon leaves and lets her place turn to ruin - who wants to worry about washing floors and washing up when you're heartbroken? This is exactly what I love about the book - it's very real, all the emotion we get from Juliet feels very real and you can imagine yourself behaving the same as Juliet if you were ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in her position. I just wanted to give her a big hug!

There is an interesting subplot involving Juliet's best friend Imogen and her fiancé Jonathan. This was quite a curveball in the book, it didn't seem to fit in at all with the main plot of Juliet's messed up love life and moving on from that, but at the same time it made for great reading because I was curious to see how it would pan out for Imogen. It was good to read a strong female friendship too after the dissolution of the one between Juliet and Hanna at the beginning, and it shows how a good friend will pick you up even when you're at your lowest ebb. I really enjoyed it, it was well handled by the author, and while I was worried initially about how it would suit the book, it did so very well by the end and I felt like it definitely belonged.

As you can probably tell by my review so far, the book was a joy to read. Each of the chapters were begun with a quote from a homemaking book of yester-year, and these were charming little anecdotes. I loved how Juliet embraced the things her grandmother had written for her in her own homemaking book too, and Bratley describes the aprons, and sewing and other things Juliet creates so well, I could visualise in my mind what she was doing and the gorgeous 1950's print aprons. Bratley has a way of drawing us into Juliet's world so quickly and easily that you're pulled into the book from the beginning, and are loathe to leave it until you turn the very last page. A very enjoyable and wonderful read.
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on 8 May 2012
I have just finished this book and found it to be really enjoyable. I read the book in a few sittings (once started I found it hard to put down) and became firmly ensconced in the trials and tribulations of juliet's life. I warmed to Juliet instantly and found her and the other characters to be more real than in other chick lit books i have read and with more substance to the plot. I found myself wanting one of the lovely retro aprons and may even have a go at making one myself!!

All in all a lovely read and I would thoroughly recommend it. Cannot wait for Amy Bratley's next book!
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