Category: Carole Matthews

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

51FFIP5HAYL Synopsis: Molly Baker is living her best life.

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed.

But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?

My Rating: 3/5

My Review: I have been reading Carole Matthews for over 20 years and rarely dislike a book she writes. I certainly didn’t dislike this book but it just wasn’t as good as some of her other books. The main character Molly just seemed a little flat and to be honest a little annoying. Shelby is the other main character and I didn’t feel like he was any more endearing. A well known actor with a son who he frankly couldn’t be bothered to look after. Therefore he drops him at Hope Farm where Molly runs the place with the help of her colleagues Bev and Alan.

The story was okay and it was certainly an easy read. However it was super predicatble and along with the fact I didn’t care for the characters meant I just wasn’t that bothered what happened.  I finished it but being totally truthful it was just unmemorable and I couldn’t help but feel a little dissapointed.

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews


Synopsis: Jodie Jackson is all at sea, in every sense.

On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, she’s leaving her London life, her career, and her husband behind. She’d like a chance to turn back the clocks, but she’ll settle for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill’s beautifully renovated houseboat, Sunny DaysBut from the moment Jodie steps aboard her new home, it’s clear she’ll struggle to keep herself to herself.

Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom. But out of mind isn’t out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days and Sea Breezes?

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: My god, even after the years she has spent writing Carole Matthews just has that something special. Jodie is a character that I liked immediately and at the very early stages all we know is she is going to the Isle of Wight to spend some time alone. She is lucky enough to not only work for her brother, but to be able to stay at his recently renovated houseboat named Sunny Days.

Once there her wish to be left alone is completely ignored…enter Marilyn…the second star of this book! She is a cleaner her brther has employed and she is one woman positivity showboat. Jodie is reluctantly forced to explore life on the island by Marilyn and makes friends along the way invluding her neighbour Ned, the beach statueman George and Ida the owner of the beach cafe.

The story is wonderful and frankly made me want to pack a bag and jump on a ferry. This book was an absolute delight to read andI was truly dissapointed to finish it. I would love to see another book set here in the future!

Publication List – Carole Matthews

  1. Let’s Meet on Platform 8 (1997)
  2. A Whiff of Scandal (1998) aka The Scent of Scandal
  3. More to Life Than This (1999)
  4. For Better, for Worse (2000)
  5. A Minor Indiscretion (2001)
  6. A Compromising Position (2002) aka Bare Necessity
  7. The Sweetest Taboo (2003)
  8. With or Without You (2004)
  9. You Drive Me Crazy (2005)
  10. Welcome to the Real World (2006)
  11. The Chocolate Lovers’ Club (2007)
  12. The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet (2007)
  13. It’s a Kind of Magic (2008)
  14. All You Need Is Love (2008)
  15. The Difference a Day Makes (2009)
  16. That Loving Feeling (2009)
  17. It’s Now or Never (2010)
  18. The Only Way is Up (2010)
  19. Wrapped Up In You (2011)
  20. Summer Daydreams (2012)
  21. With Love at Christmas (2012)
  22. A Cottage by the Sea (2013)
  23. Calling Mrs Christmas (2013)
  24. A Place to Call Home (2014)
  25. The Christmas Party (2014)
  26. The Cake Shop in the Garden (2015)
  27. The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas (2015)
  28. The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding (2016)
  29. Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses (2016)
  30. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights (2017)
  31. A Million Love Songs (2018)
  32. Happiness for Beginners (2019)
  33. Sunny Days and Sea Breezes (2020)
  34. Christmas for Beginners (2020)

A Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews

Synopsis: After splitting up with her cheating ex, Ruby Brown is ready for a change. She’s single again for the first time in years and she’s going to dive into this brave new world with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. The last thing she’s looking for is a serious relationship.

Mason represents everything Ruby wants right now: he’s charming, smooth and perfect for some no-strings-attached fun, and yet Ruby can’t help feel that something is missing. Joe on the other hand is kind and attentive, but he comes with the sort of baggage Ruby wants to avoid: an annoyingly attractive ex-wife and two teenage children.

And though Ruby thinks she knows what she wants, is it what she needs to be truly happy? It’s about to get emotional in Million Love Songs.

Kat’s Rating: 5/5 Continue reading “A Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews”

Paper Hearts & Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews


Synopsis: Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents’ summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie’s flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it’s not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn – one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It’s all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie’s world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses.

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Continue reading “Paper Hearts & Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews”

The Cake Shop in The Garden by Carole Matthews


My Star Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn’t do all this, who will? Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she’s ever made. When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay’s entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn’t know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision – even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in The Cake Shop in the Garden. Continue reading “The Cake Shop in The Garden by Carole Matthews”

The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews


My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback (23.10.14) Kindle, Kobo, Audio (01.11.14)

Synopsis: Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she’s grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can’t keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn’t have time for is romance – until she meets the company’s rising star, Josh Wallace.

Louise usually says no to evenings out but she’s decided to let her hair down tonight. It’s the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she’s looking forward to some champagne and fun. She’s completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party – until she’s pulled into those games herself.

Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It’s going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.

My Review: Carole Matthews is the Volvo of the book world. You may not think they are the best thing out there, but they are solid, dependable and these days are looking pretty bloody snazzy if you ask me! Jokes aside I really mean what I say, Carole Matthews was one of the first authors I read religiously from my 20’s and she has rarely let me down as a reader. I have read EVERY single one of her books and just keeps delivering. Quite how authors such as her (and many others I know of) amaze me that they just keep on bringing you wonderful storylines and characters you just fall in love with. This latest release is absolutely no exception, and is based around a Christmas Party.

Louise is a single mum trying desperately hard to get along at her new job with Fossil Oil. However, her boss Tyler thinks nothing of making her life very difficult and as the Christmas Party approaches she wonders whether she can manage to keep her job whilst keeping Tyler firmly at arm’s length. The whole book only spans a few days but its absolutely brilliant how Carole has done it. We meet Tyler’s wife Kirsten, the man in charge of Fossil Oil Lance and his wife Melissa, all with their own issues.

The characters are wonderful and each one keeps you reading until the end. There is plenty of humour thrown in and the scene involving Louise and her boss Tyler in the Library is legendary. Although this book was set over a short time span it definitely worked and I enjoyed every page. Although this isn’t my favourite Matthews book (there are far too many to choose from) it’s certainly a great read and would make a fab Christmas Present. As usual I will look forward to her next one.

A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews


My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Kobo

Synopsis: In the dead of night, Ayesha takes her daughter, Sabina, and slips quietly from her home, leaving behind a life full of pain. Boarding a coach to London, all Ayesha wants is a fresh start.

Hayden, a former pop star, has kept himself hidden away for years. He’s only opened up his home to two people – Crystal, a professional dancer with a heart of gold, and Joy, an ill-tempered retiree with a soft spot for waifs and strays. 

When Crystal asks Hayden if Ayesha and Sabina can stay with them, he reluctantly agrees and, as different as they may be, they quickly form an unlikely bond. So when enemies threaten their peaceful home, they will do all they can to save it and each other.

Continue reading “A Place to Call Home by Carole Matthews”

Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews


My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She’s soon in huge demand and Cassie’s business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born. Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children, so he enlists Cassie’s help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients. When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn’t go . . . Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.

My Review: Okay, I am going to make a very bold statement about this book. I think this has to be my favourite Carole Matthews book EVER, and that is saying something people! Carole has been writing since 1997 and I have read nearly all of her books, so for me this was just an absolute gem and I cannot think of another of her books I prefer?!? With the title, the very seasonal cover and obviously the synopsis of the book I knew this would be a Christmas themed book and was actually looking forward to it. With the end of October rapidly approaching, the clocks turning back all too soon and the evenings getting darker I was actually looking forward to a bit of festive reading.

From page 1 I fell in love, and that theme continued throughout the book. I fell in love with Cassie, her boyfriend Jim, Cassie’s family, the boys from Jim’s unit and the Randall family. Cassie is in an all too unfamiliar predicament; having been unemployed for months, with no future work in sight. So when she comes up with the idea for her own business named Calling Mrs Christmas, she has no idea that it will take off beyond her wildest dreams. With her love of Christmas spurring her on, and the support of her family she starts the business that sounds too good to be true. Jim was a wonderful character and I liked the fact that we got to see the side of Jim where he has to deal with all sorts of issues at the Young Offenders Institute where he worked.

When Cassie lands a huge client who is a rich and handsome businessman, she knows that he will be a hard client to keep happy. The story really highlights the extremes of Christmas from the end where boys have nothing, and the men who seem to have it all. Although Cater Randall is the handsome rich man in this story, I also thought he was wonderful and to be honest it made for a fair match in terms of lead men in the story (that’s always a winner in my eyes).

The best part of the book for me was when Cassie visits Lapland as part of her work, and I have to say it is blatantly clear that Carole has researched this part of the world (you lucky thing). I could almost picture every part of the trip from riding the Husky sleds to staying in the Ice Hotel. Every part of that trip was so authentic I might as well have been along for the ride. The ending was absolutely perfect and there wasn’t a moment in this book I didn’t enjoy. I loved everything about it apart from when I finished. Not only was I disappointed to have finished, but I did have a flicker of hope that maybe CM may well debate doing a sequel <getting down on knees to pray at this point>. This latest Matthew’s book is magnificent, and quite frankly if you haven’t read it, pre-ordered it, or asked for it as a Christmas present then you are missing out. This book is the perfect stocking filler and one which is my absolute favourite……

A Cottage By The Sea by Carole Matthews


My Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: Grace, Ella and Flick have been friends since College. When Ella invites them all to her cottage in South Wales for a week Grace jumps at the chance to spend some quality time with her friends. Sadly her husband Harry is less enthused and as they set off in his Bentley for their journey, Ella is pretty sure the week will be far from easy. As with every Carole Matthew’s book I read, she has a knack for ensuring the reader likes the characters. Thankfully this latest book is a perfect example of how good she really is. Grace is easy to warm to and you can’t help but feel sympathetic when Harry starts whingeing very early on because there is no phone signal.

In addition to Grace, we see her friend Ella who is the laid back one and their unpredictable and fickle friend Flick who seems to be the wild element of the friendship to their calm. Ella’s husband Art along with Flick’s handsome friend Noah, complete the six and from the early part of the book you just know the week is going to be unpredictable. I just fell in love with the descriptive Cwtch Cottage that Carole described and it made me want to immediately book up a beautiful cottage in the country for the summer!

This book is a rollercoaster of laughter, tears and friendship.

The real storyline is one that is basic, but sometimes works the best. It tells the story of the three women and we get to see each of them deal with their relationships with the men in their lives and their closest girlfriends. I was absolutely enthralled by this book and truly thought it was one of her best. I literally didn’t put it down and found myself just having to finish it because I needed to know what was going to happen to everybody.

It sounds ridiculous, but when you have an author you have read for so many years, I almost get frightened that one day I will pick up one of their new books and they will have just lost that spark that makes you love their books. In the case of Carole Matthews, her books are like wine, they most definitely improve with age and I for one will be pre-ordering the next one. It’s a sheer joy to read a book so wonderful from an author that has been writing for so long. This one is highly recommended!