A huge, lovely welcome today to Sheila Norton, whose book, The Vets at Hope Green was released in paperback on 1st June 2017 by Ebury Press.
Sam has always dreamed of working with animals…
But her receptionist job in a London vets is not hitting the spot.
Unsure whether a busy city life is for her, she flees to her Nana Peggy’s idyllic country village.
But despite the rolling hills and its charming feel, life in Hope Green is far from peaceful.
On first meeting Joe, the abrupt and bad-tempered local vet, Sam knows she must get him on side, but that is easier said than done…
With her dream close enough to touch, will she get there, or will events conspire against her…?
I have reviewed the book below but first, thanks to Sheila and Ebury, I have an extract from The Vets at Hope Green for you. Enjoy.
It was a beautiful, warm day at the end of May and the countryside on either side of the road was full of the promise of summer ahead.
I wound down the driver’s window of my little car and turned up the radio so that I could hear the music above the noise of the breeze as I whizzed along in the fast lane of the motorway.
Mile by mile, I felt myself relaxing. I felt my worries and uncertainties begin to melt away and my heart lifted with the anticipation of my destination.
Hope Green. The very name made me feel more optimistic. I sang along to the radio, remembering happy family holidays on the Dorset coast when I was a child. Hope Green had hardly changed since those days, its age-old charm untouched by the increased pace of life elsewhere. It was somewhere I could unwind and be at peace, take stock of things and perhaps really find myself at last.
As I steadily increased my distance from my home on the outskirts of London, I could almost feel my old life slipping off my shoulders like a heavy coat that had been weighing me down – the crowded streets, the rush-hour crush on the Tube, the traffic fumes, the stress on people’s faces – I was leaving all this behind me, leaving it for a place where life still depended on the seasons, where people still had time to chat on street corners, where people picked blackberries and elderberries from the hedgerows instead of buying them in tiny plastic packets from the supermarket at ridiculous expense.
Here I would be able to see the stars at night instead of neon lights. And the only traffic jams were caused by tractors.
I knew I was also leaving behind a few people who thought I’d lost my mind and was making a huge and ridiculous mistake. Perhaps I was, but I didn’t think so. This was my opportunity to start again, to carve out a new future for myself.
A future that wouldn’t be just about me. And I was rushing headlong towards it, never more certain of anything in my life. Hope Green was my hope for that future, and I was determined not to look back.
My verdict on The Vets at Hope Green:
Sam is not sure whether city life is the thing for her. She’s always wanted to work as a vet. A receptionist at a vet is what she’s settled for. When she finds she needs some time away to reevaluate, she escapes to her Nana’s idyllic village in Dorset, Hope Green.
Life there however is not as peaceful as she hoped. She meets the lovely David but she also meets the ill-tempered vet, Joe.
Will she realise her dream of becoming a vet or will things continue to stand in her way?
This book was originally released as a four-part serial (with the full length paperback released yesterday.)
Sheila Norton paints such a gorgeous, rich picture of Hope Green, I want to go and live there.
Sam is an interesting and well-developed character who isn’t having the easiest of times. Her life hasn’t gone the way she planned and it continues to throw obstacles in her path.
She is a very real, relatable protagonist and I grew to really care about her.
Her Nana is just a wonderful addition to the book (there is a particular scene involving her Nana that was so, so sad, I almost couldn’t read it.)
Joe is a little unlikeable but I did wonder whether he was not what he seemed. You will have to read to find out whether he is as ill-tempered at the end of the book as he is at the beginning. All the characters though are well-rounded and multi layered.
The themes and plot are great and I very easily got invested in this little village and the lives of its inhabitants. It didn’t quite end the way I had assumed (which is good.)
I loved this book. It is perfect for that sunny Sunday with a comfy chair and a cup of tea. I hope Sheila will return to Hope Green and these characters in the future.
Sheila Norton lives in Essex and worked for most of her life as a medical secretary, until retiring early to concentrate on her writing.
Her most recent novels are published by Ebury (Penguin Random House) and are contemporary fiction with animal backgrounds: ‘The Vets at Hope Green’ was preceded by two ‘cat’ stories: ‘Oliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas’ and ‘Charlie the Kitten Who Saved a Life’.
For more information on Sheila and her novels, visit www.sheilanorton.com.