I am incredibly honoured to be kicking off Katey Lovell’s blog tour for her brand new book, The Cafe in Fir Tree Park! Being asked by the author, personally, to take part in her blog tour, really made me feel all fuzzy. It truly means a lot to me when I get asked by publishers etc to be part of blog tours, but there is also something incredibly moving about being asked to take part in a tour by the author themselves.
As you can see on the blog tour banner (how stunning is that btw!!) above, there are some pretty shamazing bloggers taking part in this tour, including Harper Impulse themselves! All of the bloggers listed are incredible so please make sure you take a peak at their stops on the relevant dates!
On my stop today, I have a guest post from author of #FirTreePark, Katey Lovell, AND I will be reviewing her book TWG style! I hope you enjoy reading my review as much as I adored reading this book.
First up is the guest post where Katey Lovell describes the ‘second book’ difficulties.
‘The Difficult Second Book’
By Katey Lovell
Although I’d heard authors mention the challenges of penning their second novels, until I started writing The Café in Fir Tree Park I’d never given it much thought. In my mind I’d done everything right in the planning stages, making detailed notes for months in a brand new notepad bought especially for the project. I thought I was prepared, but when it came to writing the actual novel I struggled.
Being honest, I more than struggled. I reached 10,000 words and seriously considered telling Harper Impulse I couldn’t fulfil my contract. Every word I’d written seemed disjointed. The characters were new and their dialogue sounded clunky to my ears. Whenever I spoke about the novel with friends, I referred to it as ‘the bloody park book’.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have passion for the project, because I did. The problem was, I’d lost all faith in my writing ability. I’d forgotten novels don’t arrived fully formed. What I’d drafted wasn’t as polished as the finished manuscript for The Singalong Society for Singletons. Of course it wasn’t! First drafts are messy and clunky. There will be gaping plot holes, and inconsistencies, and the finish line of ‘THE END’ will seem unreachable at times. That’s the process of creating a novel, but I’d somehow managed to erase it from my mind in the months between novel one and novel two. It completely crushed my confidence.
By the time The Singalong Society for Singletons was released in October, I had seven weeks left until my deadline and half the novel to write. Thankfully, with the help of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November) and a wonderful set of friends cheering me on, I wrote my heart out. Lovely reviews for my first novel flooded in, and I believed I could do it again. The characters came to life and I cared about their fates, which brought the heart back to what I was writing. As a reader I’ve always been attracted to characters I can root for, and I’ve found that’s followed through to my writing too. If I feel disconnected, it’s hard to find the motivation to sit down and write, but as soon as it all clicked, the excitement returned.
The Café in Fir Tree Park took sweat and tears (no blood, thankfully), but I’m incredibly proud of the finished novel. The pain it caused was necessary, because I believe it’s the best thing I’ve written. I still get that unpleasant twisting in my stomach as I remember how overwhelmed I felt when writing it though. The pressure I’d piled on myself was unreal!
Funnily enough, although getting a first draft of my third novel Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown was a challenge, it was far less stressful overall. Maybe I have learned lessons, after all…
Such an honest and insightful guest post, thank you Katey. Readers: the next time you consider posting online how ‘expensive’ an e-book is at 2.99, come back and read this. It takes months of hard work and dedication to get books written. Or, as Katey Lovell says; ‘sweat and tears’.
Read on for my review:
Maggie’s café is at the very heart of Fir Tree Park. Business is booming, her lemon drizzle is the stuff of legend, her children are happy and life is good. But she hasn’t had it easy. When her husband Clint was sent to prison, she had to raise Josh and Kelly alone. But Clint can’t hurt them now, and there’s no denying that Paolo, the Italian football coach she spies every weekend out on the green, is more than easy on the eye.
It may be summer outside, but a new arrival in Fir Tree Park sends an icy chill through the café…
What does TWG think?
Ever since I had the pleasure of reading Katey Lovell’s previous novel, The Singalong Society for Singletons, I was impatiently waiting for her new book to be released into the wild. Katey Lovell’s books are like a legal addiction; as soon as you finished one, you want another! No pressure of course…
Unfortunately, this beauty didn’t stay in my hands for too long as I struggled to put it down once I started reading. Maggie runs her own cafe in Fir Tree Park; a place where everyone can come to relax and eat multiple slices of her legendary lemon drizzle cake. Although most of the treats Maggie baked I wouldn’t say no to. Food porn alert! Mmmmmmm cake. Maggie’s life hasn’t always been as fluffy as her muffins, risen like her Victoria sponge cake, or soft and addictive like her cookies. In fact, her life has been as flat as a pancake. Well, by life I mean her self-esteem (or lack of), thanks to her wonderful husband, more affairs than a baker’s dozen and a prison sentence. Heart throb eh!
Part of me was expecting a calm, leisurely paced novel with more cake than Mr Kipling, so when I realised that Katey Lovell’s novel had more turbulent situations than a coffee, walnut and cinnamon cake had ingredients, I truly was pleasantly surprised.
There is a lot of character swapping throughout the novel, with different chapters being led by various main characters. Usually I find that sort of thing far too confusing, however, #FirTreePark needed the differences in character point of view. It worked incredibly well, I wasn’t at all confused, but most importantly, it tied all the turbulent circumstances together whilst creating another level of intensity.
I am a sucker for a bit of drama, especially when there are skeletons in the closet (as long as they don’t involve me); #FirTreePark has enough skeletons for everyone. I had no idea that the storyline would reach the conclusion that it did. In all honesty, it caught me off guard a bit because it came out of nowhere, and I loved it!
The Cafe in Fir Tree Park is, without a doubt, one of my most favourite books so far this year. All of the intense moments blew me away, the characters were written absolutely brilliantly and so three-dimensional, the setting was described in such a relaxing manner, AND the different character viewpoints meant multiple shocking revelations. What more could anyone want from a book?
Unbelievable! I adored this book from start to finish, it kept me on my toes and warmed the ice from around my heart. I am in awe at Katey Lovell’s literary skills and her outstanding story telling; The Cafe in Fir Tree Park came to life and so did the characters in it.
A flawless, intense, and mesmerising novel that is full of emotion, secrets, heart-warming moments, the true meaning of love and learning how to make the most of your life before it’s too late.
Life is too short to live with regrets, and life is too short to not read The Cafe in Fir Tree Park. You just have to…like right now. I’m being serious.
Fabulously flawless, written with perfection, a showstopper of a conclusion; pretty much like Maggie’s lemon drizzle cake. Wow!
Thanks SO much Harper Impulse.