I am so very excited to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ by Jo Thomas. Big thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:
It’s time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat.
After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?
But it’s not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalucian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over.
As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart.
What does TWG think?
I started this book this morning (I know, cutting it fine), but fast forward 4 hours and I was sitting with the closed (and finished) book on my lap feeling as though I had been given a new lease of life.
Beti’s uncle and cousin have honed in on her for years, taking the Mickey out everything she has done (or not done) in her life so far. They seem to think that having three engagements, two of which ended up being failed, is something to laugh about. Even though, deep down, Beti knows that she shouldn’t take their comments to heart, she can’t help but feel her confidence getting chipped away with every knifey comment they send her way. Beti has had enough of living without enjoyment, and she ends up persuading her fiancé, Will, to uproot to Spain where her dream of owning a bar waits for her. Unfortunately, luck isn’t on Beti’s side and things don’t go to plan.
Oh my, what a gorgeous book this is! I did start and finish this book this morning, I was being totally serious with that comment! I couldn’t put the book down, and to be honest, I didn’t actually want it to leave my hands. I felt so sorry for Beti, but I was absolutely livid with Will. What sort of person does that?! I think he got off lightly, I really do. I know that Beti was determined to make her dream a reality and didn’t want to live in the past and, whilst that is certainly commendable, I couldn’t help but feel that Will didn’t get what he deserved at all. Maybe it’s because I am quite a fiery person that made me think he needed to pay for what he had done.
I have to admit that I am not a fan of cherries AT ALL, yet after reading Jo Thomas’ latest novel, I felt like I wanted to pick one up and eat it. How strange! I think the cherry farm got under my skin in more ways than one, as did other wonderful things in the little Spanish village.
Jo Thomas has such a beautiful way with words – I was blown away by her vivid descriptions, her tantalising way of bringing smells and food items to life, as well as her phenomenal characters. I can often be quite guarded when it comes to some characters, yet Beti, Miguel, Antonio, and Frank (to name a few) made ‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ such a rich, indulgent, life affirming novel which had me dusting off my own dreams in no time.
I know people say that it is quite easy to follow your dreams if you really want them, but Jo Thomas certainly proves that everyone is different, with some people struggling with their confidence to sit there and say ‘I will own my dreams’. Take a look at Beti. She went through personal heartbreak and professional hard graft, both which ended up taking a bit of time, all to reach her dreams without settling for less. There are people who cannot make their dreams become a reality because they don’t have the resources that some other people do, nor do they have the luck of others. Or maybe their face might not fit. I am one of those people, so finding a character like Beti which I ended up relating to, made me feel far less alone. That probably sounds incredibly daft, but Beti’s face didn’t fit. She didn’t know where she belonged. She knew what she wanted from her life, yet she couldn’t quite grasp it.
‘Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard’ put a massive smile on my face, fire in my belly, and hope in my heart during a time where I couldn’t have needed it more. I absolutely loved reading every page of this book, as well as learning a bit more about Spain.
A beautifully written, heart-felt, poignant, fiery and outstanding novel which will be staying in my heart for a very, very long time, guaranteed.
About the author.
Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC
Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo
won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was
a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon
Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale
of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.