Review: 5 Stars
I’ve always been a big fan of Maeve Binchy, mainly because I’m Irish and I enjoy her settings. If you love those books as much as I do, then you are likely to enjoy this book as well. The tone of the novel is in the same vein of Binchy’s novels and her characters are very likable. Willow Armstrong is the main character and she’s certainly been through a lot in her life. When she goes to check out a house she inherited, things start to look up for her.
If you love romance, then you are sure to love the blossoming relationship that happens between Willow and Owen. This is just one of those sweet love stories that often stick with you long after you have read the book.
Willow Armstrong, the once-famous “Queen of Weight Loss” and president of Pound Busters, succumbed to stress eating after her divorce. Now the scandal of getting caught on camera binging on pizza, and the internet-wide mocking of her new curves, may destroy her career. Add in a business advisor who drained her finances, and Willow is out of options—until she learns she’s inherited a house in England’s most picturesque locale, The Cotswolds.
Willow’s trip across the pond to sell the property and salvage her company soon becomes its own adventure: the house, once owned by grandparents she never met, needs major work. Plus, single dad Owen Hughes, the estate’s resident groundskeeper and owner of a local tour outfit, isn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving . . . Yet as Willow proceeds with her plans, she’s sidetracked by surprising discoveries about her family’s history--and with Owen’s help, the area’s distinctive attractions. Soon, she’s even retracing her roots—and testing her endurance—amid the region’s natural beauty. And the more she delves into the past, the more clearly she sees herself, her future, and the way home . . .
Willow swallowed the lump in her throat, took the luggage handle, and hoisted it up the steps. A low howl of a dog, followed by rustling from the nearby woods, made her pause.
She turned to the sound, laughing as a short legged, shaggy dog approached, its long tail raised high in the air, wagging like a flag of surrender. The cute canine bellowed another generous howl and came toward Willow; she swore it wore a smile—if a dog could.
Willow stepped off the porch. “Hello there, little fella.” She crouched down and extended her hand. “Come here.”
Woooowooowoooo. This time he offered a softer, less frantic cooing that warmed and welcomed. He swarmed her calves while she ran a hand along his thick, wiry fur, trying to figure out the breed. A body like a basset hound, with the same white, black, and tan coloring, yet his thick, wiry hair was very un-bassett-like.
She touched his long, silky ears. “You’re a cute little guy.”
With that he rested his short, thick legs on her knees, giving her the once over, too.
Long snout. Pronounced black nose. Smiling dark brown eyes peeked out beneath a mop of hair atop his crown-shaped head. A real cutie. He licked her cheek.
“Are you lost or just part of the welcome wagon?” He licked her again. “Then part of the welcome wagon it is.”
She checked his collar for ID. A metal tag read Henry and listed a phone number.
“Well, Henry, why don’t I call your—”
“Henry!” A child yelled. “Henry!”
The voice came from the direction of the same thick trees where the dog had exited.
“He’s over here,” Willow hollered back and a moment later a young girl of maybe five or six dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt emerged.
She marched over. “Oh, Henry.” She shook her head and her fawn-colored pigtails danced. “You are not always a good listener.”
The dog abandoned Willow. As he rushed to meet the girl, his back end swayed to one side, as if it couldn’t keep up with his front half. He ran right into the young girl, but she braced herself from falling and leaned over to give him an affectionate pat on the back.
“Henry! You can be such a bad boy.”
Henry licked her cheek, making the girl giggle. Willow couldn’t wipe the smile from her face if she tried. Besides the young girl’s contagious laugh, her accented voice and reprimand sounded so grown compared to American children.
Willow walked toward them. “What kind of dog is he?”
“Oh, he’s a petite.”
“I’ve never heard of those.” Willow squatted down and ran her hand along his low, long body. “Just a petite?”
“No. A Petite Basset Griffon Vendéen.” She pronounced the words with a beginner’s French accent.
“That’s a mouthful. Well, I’ve definitely never heard of that either.”
“That’s why we call him a petite, or sometimes a PBGV.” She cupped the dog’s snout in her hands and kissed the top of his head. “My mum used to breed them.” She frowned. “Now we only have Henry.”
“Oh, so she doesn’t breed them anymore?”
She quieted and stroked the dog’s long ears. “My mum passed away. But my daddy let me keep Henry.”
Sadness tore at Willow’s chest. To hear that such a young child had suffered the loss of a parent didn’t seem right. “I’m sorry about your mother. I lost mine, too. It’s hard.”
The little girl played with the dog for a bit then glanced up at Willow. “You’re American?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, was a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best First Book. She is the author of the popular Blue Moon Lake Novels, which include Share the Moon.
When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More at www.sharonstruth.wordpress.com.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/willows-way-sharon-struth/1126839680
Sharon Struth will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click Here!