Hey there! I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Claire Huston’s new novel Elle’s A to Z of Love. This is a great contemporary romance that I so enjoyed reading! Let’s check it out!
About the Book:
Page Length: 231
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Synopsis: Haileybrook, a beautiful village in the peaceful Cotswolds countryside, is most people’s idea of heaven on earth.
Born and raised in this small slice of paradise, Elle Bea can’t wait to leave.
It should be easy, but every time she packs her bags for exotic adventures, old loves and loyalties pull her back.
Will Elle be forced to forget her dreams of far-flung places and epic romance, or can she grab one last chance to have it all?
An uplifting, romantic story about friends, family and the relationships that make a place a home.
About the Author:
Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. Her debut, Art and Soul, a heart-warming contemporary romance, was published in 2020. Elle’s A to Z of Love is her second novel.
A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for over a hundred sweet treats at clairehuston.co.uk. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.
Social Media Links:
Website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads: https://linktr.ee/clairehuston_author
Elle’s A to Z of Love follows Elle Bea, a young woman torn between her dreams and her home. Though eager to leave her small hometown behind, Elle’s strong ties and loyalty to her family and friends continually bring her back. When a devastating phone call compels Elle to return home for an extended period of time, it seems like Elle will never get to go on her epic adventure. However, Elle might just learn that sometimes you find what you’re looking for when you least expect it.
Elle is an interesting and well-developed character. She spends much of the story helping and supporting others and finding herself. She reminds me a bit of myself when I was her age – torn between her duty and her dreams, attached to the past and yet longing for independence, constantly pulled back into the welcoming and safe fold of my family even when trying to take adventurous and independent steps in life, confounded by love. It’s a confusing and difficult time in many people’s lives, which Huston portrays wonderfully.
Elle also struggles with anxiety (again, I so relate!) and a complicated and toxic relationship with her mother, which affect many aspects of her life. Luckily, the toxicity is balanced with Elle’s supportive father and other wonderful parental influences. Elle’s at an interesting point in her life where she is learning who and what is important to her – what she wants in life, who she wants beside her, and how she wants to be treated. I enjoyed watching her grow, change, and become more self-assured. She learns to stand up for herself and not take such a passive role in life. She also starts to fight for and act on what she wants, which is fantastic! I think all of her relationships, good and bad, help Elle figure out what she wants from herself and others. However, this can be scary and stressful, especially when familial expectations, loyalties, and potential tragedies are thrown in.
Other characters in the story, including Elle’s friends Adam, Serena, and Toby are relatable and interesting. These friends must deal with their changing relationships. Can friends become something more? Should friends turn to lovers, especially when pressured by family? What does one do when expectations don’t match reality? You can tell that Elle and her childhood friends and their respective families share a close bond and care for each other, and new relationships also show the promise of long-lasting connections. Huston makes some really great points about the fluidity of relationships – how they constantly change and grow and become redefined.
There are several potential love interests, and each is unique and intriguing. Great dialogue, witty and touching scenes, and email messages add to the development of these characters and their relationships. I like that Elle experiences several relationships through the course of the novel. Each is very different from the others, and through them, Elle learns what she really wants in a partner. Again, I related to this. As a teenager, I wanted very different things in a partner than I did when I was in my early and mid-twenties, and I think Elle is experiencing the same thing. Ultimately, she makes the best decision and finds a wonderful partner!
Elle’s A to Z of Love is a great book for readers who like contemporary romances with realistic and relatable characters and messages about family, friends, love, and finding oneself. Thanks so much to Claire Huston and Rachel’s Random Resources for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance! There are several romances that are lovely.
- The character development, especially Elle’s.
Old age is a sneaky bugger. You don’t see him coming, but you sure as hell know when he’s got his battered boots under the table.
A hug is often easier than finding the right thing to say.
She took another sip of her whiskey and wondered if with time everyone you loved became a part of you. And so, when someone you love left you and never returned, you lost a part of yourself. And perhaps that’s what grief was: learning to carry on living and loving when a piece of you was missing.
Stop writing about what others are doing, get out into the world and do something newsworthy yourself.
It’s too easy to sleepwalk through life. You have to grab it by the throat before it passes you by and it’s too late to do anything about it.