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on 29 June 2012
I will start off by saying I've always been a big Freya North fan and I own every book she's written. I adored Love Rules, Pillow Talk and Fen, and I really enjoyed all her books named after the heroine, they were all different. Unfortunately I feel really disappointed by the last two books (Chances and Rumours). I would say, actually, that the last three books could have all been written from the same template. The heroes and heroines seem very similar to each other and her last two books in particular have lacked grit which has meant they have felt worryingly like bland chick lit (which I tend to avoid like the plague in favour of something more interesting and gritty). Stella and Vita (from Chances) could easily be the same person: the quirky, rather shy, innocent Gamine who shops in M&S, uses old-fashioned "endearing" phrases and wears plain white cotton underwear (from M&S, natch). There was not enough suspense and there was no "will-they-won't-they?" It was assumed from the outset they would get together and stay together and everyone seemed very happy for them - it was all a bit too bland in contrast to Love Rules which kept you guessing up until the last page.

I didn't like how the characters interacted and the sex was lacking. There wasn't much of it, and what there was seemed a bit cringey and not very romantic. I would go as far as to say it felt clunky.

Ultimately this book is a light-hearted read, but lacks depth, grit, twists, good sex, original characters and a compelling story line. The characters are too similar to previous offerings, particularly the heroine. I'm really sorry Freya!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read Freya's last book and liked it, but I wouldn't say it blew me away. With her latest release Rumours, I actually picked it up and started it but then put it down as I was struggling with it. Very occasionally this happens to me and I just go back to it. Stupidly, I left this too long to go back to. I had it in the back of my head that maybe I wouldn't like it, silly woman that I am! When I picked up Rumours for the second time I wondered what on earth made me put it down the first time?!?

Stella Hutton is a single mum who has landed a new job working at her Uncle's estate agency. Her colleagues are not the most appealing of people and very early on I quite liked Stella as she was just an ordinary woman trying to make the best of a bad situation. On the other side we have Xander who grew up in Longbridge Hall where Lady Lydia lives. Stella soon realises that rumours are the thing that keep these villagers gossiping. When there is a hint that Longbridge Hall may well be for sale, things start to unravel.

Stella finds herself battling against all and sundry and Xander is one such person. He at first appears very guarded, bordering on the permanently grumpy. However, it didn't take that long for the story to reveal the reasons for his attitude surrounding all the rumours. Before long I realised that I was at the halfway stage and reluctant to stop reading, even for work! Lady Lydia who seems to be the glue that holds this all together is actually quite a difficult character but one that I immediately loved. Maybe because she was so difficult that's why I liked her so much. The second half of the book was just as good, if not better than the first half.

I found myself whizzing through the pages, anxious to know what will become of all the characters and villagers that live near Longbridge Hall. I was truly disappointed to finish this book and am really looking forward to reading the next one. I can understand why some people may not like this book as it differs somewhat from the last book of hers I read, but I really enjoyed it.
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on 17 May 2016
Absolutely loved this book, it's the kind of novel where you can really get into the heads of the characters and it leaves you missing them after you've finished reading.
I read it within a couple of days whilst needing some distraction and this was perfect for that- it took me to another world, to a nice village with lots of interesting characters!
Stella has just started working at an estate agents' and there's tensions in the office as her work makes think she's got the job just because she is the niece of the owner. She doesn't feel very welcome and then she is given the task of selling the Longbride estate.. This is a huge house with lots of land and other properties within the village. Lady Lydia wants to sell it as she is too old to maintain it but the sale of it will affect so many in the village which makes Stella very unpopular... but she's just doing her job... and why is Xander, no relation at all to Lady Lydia, so emotionally attached to the building and why is Stella finding herself thinking about him?

What I liked about this book is that it was a really slow-paced one, not loads of action, not big dramas but a nicely unfolding story in which you really get to know the characters and pick up on the atmosphere and tensions between them. I love the delicate way in which Xander and Stella's relationship developed and also the fondness between Lady Lydia and Stella.

There's lots within this book, plenty of reflective moments, tensions, people being affected by their pasts and so forth and this really made the characters come to life.

After having read The Turning Point (also by Freya North) a few weeks ago, I now can't wait to read more books by this author, they're really beautifully written books with excellent characters that you just fall in love with.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Reluctantly 78 year old Lady Lydia has to sell Longbridge Hall, since 1790 the family home. Unexpectedly Stella Hutton is given the task, her life transformed in consequence.

There is much to admire, not least the description of Longbridge Hall itself - presided over by the statue of its randy founder Lord Frederick. Stella warms to all that she sees - the house with a personality of its own, reminders of the past with old craftsmen living in outbuildings, that evocative apple store, everywhere signs of once flourishing times. Characterization is a strength. Formidable Lady Lydia dominates (a certain actress springs to mind should the book be adapted for the screen). Especially enjoyable is that daily sparring with aged housekeeper Mrs. Biggins. Then there is Stella herself, damaged by a marriage now ended, overdue for a lasting meaningful relationship - such a possibility to become a major theme.

Curiously the "Rumours" aspect seems rather forced, the title misleading. Of course there is local gossip with the threatened break-up of such a large estate, but at no time does a rumour influence events. Perhaps also jarring a little are the graphic sex scenes. They may titillate some and cause them to drool. Others may detect a cynical ploy to boost sales and feel the novel does not really need them.

What then for the Hall and for Stella? Events unfold with humour and surprises - here a light happy read that many will complete with a contented sigh.

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on 24 June 2012
I've been an avid Freya North fan for over 10 years, and for over 10 years I have never been disappointed.

For me, Rumours allowed me to indulge in my own love of old houses and stately homes. I love the fact that Norths books are all set around a theme, whether it be sculptures, trees, bridges or the Tour de France! Each of them leads me to go away and learn more of the subject. Escapism & education all rolled into one!

The characters of Stella & Xander are typical of the Freya North. Immediately loveable, down to earth, and people you can relate to. Lady Lydia Fortescue was a great character and it was a lovely to see her soften throughout the book. The interaction between her and Mrs Biggins, the housekeeper, made me chuckle with laughter.

The story is set around Longbridge Hall which Lady Lydia tasks Stella to sell, much to the disapproval of Xander who grew up there. There are a host of colourful characters entwined in the history of the hall & no one apart from Lady Lydia really wants it sold.

It was a constant page turner. As usual I couldn't put it down. The will they, won't they (of course they will, I know they will!) get together, the need to understand Lady Lydia and her reasons for wanting to sell such a beautiful house, to know what Stellas ex husband did and of course, what happened to Longbridge Hall.

As I said, I wasn't disappointed. Yet again, Freya North has delivered her readers another beautiful, unique story but with all the familiarity they come to expect from her heroes & heroines!
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on 10 February 2013
I absolutely love Freya North's books and this book just confirmed what I love about them, they are fun, sexy, cringy at times and different from the many books I have read and other books that i have enjoyed
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VINE VOICEon 6 June 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Stella Hutton has started over - after her marriage and career went wrong, she's now a single mum to her son, Will, and takes a new job as an estate agent. Her colleagues are unfriendly and suspect she is only there because her uncle owns the business, but Stella soon proves her worth - and is quickly asked to value the estate of Longbridge Hall, by its only surviving resident, the elderly Lady Lydia.

The village locals are horrified that Longbridge is going up for sale, not least Xander Fletcher who has history with the place. Many live in the estate's cottages and work for Lady Lydia, and risk losing their homes and livelihoods. Even Stella thinks it a shame that such a beautiful country pile might end up being sold off to a local business consortium. But Lady Lydia is determined to go ahead, whatever the consequences...

This is a perfectly readable book with Freya North's lovely witty banter and interesting characters. The romance was nice and overall I enjoyed it. Having said that, I did feel something was missing - the story was pretty predictable and there wasn't a huge amount of tension or any surprises. The back stories for both Stella and Xander felt very forced in too - neither felt like a natural conversation, particularly when both had been built up quite substantially beforehand. The romance seemed to happen very easily, without many obstacles - I think I would have preferred more drama. A good read, but I think she is capable of better.
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on 26 June 2012
Have just devoured this book in two days, I love all Freya norths books she writes in such a wonderful way, I fell in love with all the characters she has a knack of really making you believe that you know these people. Thoroughly recommend that this is bought and at least two days worth of diary entries are cleared to let you have uninterrupted reading.
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on 25 June 2012
I am a huge Freya North fan and own every book she has written; this, however, is my favourite so far. Freya has a talent for description, making you feel like you know the places and characters you're reading about and Rumours is no exception - in fact, it is truer about this book than any other Freya North books I have read. Stella is a woman starting over again. No-one knows why and this causes "Rumours" amongst her new work colleagues. Xander is the eligible village batchelor everyone wants; you have to read the book to form your own image but to me he's just "scrummy". No-one knows about his private life, although "Rumours" abound amongst his PA and the villagers alike. Lady Lydia is selling her home, impacting on the whole village. The "Rumours" start about whether this is actually true and why. The plot deepens and drags you in, willing the best for each character. I started this book in my lunch break (after a trp out in the pouring rain to buy it!) and finished it at 11:15pm. It's addictive and un-put-down-able. Thank you, Freya, for another thrilling read and congratulations to all who buy it, you're in for a real treat. In all, this is the front runner of Freya North reads, they just get better time on time.
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on 24 June 2012
Romance story centering around the sale of Longbridge Hall by its 78-year-old owner Lady Lydia Fortescue

The story is enthralling, the description of the house and grounds is so beautiful, it makes me wish it was real so I could visit and see all of the buildings and the sheer size of the land. The characters were enchanting, especially Lady Lydia as she reminds me of my own grandmother with her sharp words and dress sense

The gradual relationship between Stella and Xander is the stuff of fairy-tales, where you meet and instantly fall for each other something every woman wishes they could find (some may have been lucky enough to find)

The story made me laugh at times and also made me cry aswell as its so lovely

I will be passing Rumours to my female family members to take with them on holiday as they will love it too!
I say buy this book if you love to read this book was perfect for me and I think would be perfect for many others aswell!
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