Stately Pursuits

Katie Fforde, Author, Forde, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-18668-5
Cheery, good-natured and predictable, British writer Fforde's latest stylish romance (after Wild Designs) relates the story of a young, freshly jilted and heartbroken protagonist, Hetty Longden, who gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to house-sit for her ailing elderly uncle Samuel while he is hospitalized. Hetty finds Courtbridge, Samuel's stately manor home, in desperate need of renovation; moreover, Samuel is deeply in debt. Even more threatening than loan officers, though, is Connor Barrabin, Samuel's gruff and irascible heir (known as ""Conan the Barbarian"" to locals), who intends to raze the house and erect a theme park on the property as soon as Courtbridge comes into his possession. Hetty, like the other residents of the small English village, is horrified by the potential loss of this piece of their national heritage and is determined instead to fix up the stately home and open it to the paying public for tours and parties. Rallying the help of the multitalented townsfolk and the local Brownie troop, plucky Hetty gets the house in shape, meanwhile managing to rebuild her shattered confidence and make some wonderful new friends. Also, not surprisingly, Hetty finds a sensitive and loving man beneath Connor's abrasive exterior, and the two fall in love despite their opposing views about the fate of the house. Although the plot isn't terribly imaginative, the novel has a warm and fuzzy charm, some nice comic scenes and the usual romantic contretemps. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-09-944668-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-20676-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-1575-4
Hardcover - 373 pages - 978-0-7126-6065-5
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4464-2834-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-4551-2439-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4551-2437-4
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4668-3406-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4551-2441-1
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