|It Started with a Note by Victoria Cooke|
It Started With A Note
One lost letter. A chance to change her life!
Superhero single mum Cath always puts other people first. But now that she’s seen her son safely off to university (phew!), life seems a little, well…empty.
So when Cath unexpectedly discovers some letters written by her great-grandfather during the First World War, she decides to take herself on an adventure to France to retrace his footsteps.
Cath expects to spend her holiday visiting famous battlefields and testing out her French phrase book. What she doesn’t anticipate is that her tour guide, the handsome Olivier, will be quite so charming! Soon Cath isn’t simply unearthing the stories of the past – she’s writing a brand new one of her own, which might end up taking her in a very unexpected direction…
This book is a great mix of feel-good romance and history brought to life; an unusual combination, but one that I thought worked well.
Cath, a single mum whose son has just left for uni, stuck in a job she has had for years just to pay the bills and with a brother who deserves a kick up the backside, needs a change from the norm. With the discovery of a collection of letters written from the trenches by her great-grandfather, plus a bonus from work and a pushy younger colleague, and before she realises it Cath is on holiday in France, tracing her great-grandfather’s war journey.
Travel isn’t something Cath has much experience in, so travelling alone is a bit daunting at first, until she meets two older American couples in the hotel bar. This great fun group take her under their wing and invite her along on the battlefield tours they have booked. Tour guide Olivier is keen to share his local knowledge, especially with someone so interested in the history of the area and a friendship begins to develop. Despite enjoying being around Olivier, Cath knows that for two independent people with lives in two different countries, anything more than friendship would be impossible.
This is an emotional read, both as we follow Cath’s journey learning about life in the trenches for the young soldiers, and also as we witness her journey to discover what she wants out of life now her family are less reliant on her. Having visited many of the battlefield locations described in the book, I enjoyed going back, and having the personal letters interspersed throughout the book added an extra something. I also enjoyed the undeniable chemistry between Cath and Olivier that simmers away gently throughout the book. Despite quite a bit of encouragement from those around them, taking the required leap of faith to follow happiness, always seemed that one step too far. I became equally as convinced as they were that the happy every after we might all have wanted, was never going to be theirs.
Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of her career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in her hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first romantic comedy novel, 'The Secret to Falling in Love,' in 2016.
Cooke's third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018.
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