Saturday, 11 July 2020

Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe by Annette Hannah
Release Date:  6th July 2020
Publisher: Orion Dash
Genres: Romance

Here comes the bride...
Lucy Woods has always dreamed of running her very own wedding venue. After moving her eight-year-old son to the countryside she's surprised to find the perfect location and her best friend, Abbie, eager to help make that dream a reality! Too bad Abbie's older brother Dominic isn't keen on Lucy or their big idea!
As a divorce lawyer Dominic doesn't believe in love at first sight or wedding vows, he's seen them broken more times than he can count. But when Lucy arrives back in town, his hardened heart begins to crack.
Making her dream come true is a huge undertaking, but Lucy knows that The Signal Box Café is her chance to finally make something of her life. If only the irritating (and oh-so-gorgeous) Dom didn't make her imagine wearing a white dress and walking down the aisle...

Can Lucy and Dominic find a way to each other this summer or will the wedding bells chime for another couple?

I have known Annette Hannah for a couple of years now. She is a fellow book blogger and we are both members of the Romantic Novelists New Writers Scheme and after a couple of meet ups at the Summer conferences we have become firm friends. Though now with this wonderful book, she has graduated from the New Writer's scheme and well deserved! 

Quite often when I am asked to review a friend's book I get a little nervous. What if I don't enjoy the book and will they appreciate my honest review?  However, with this book I didn't have a thing to worry about. Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe is now my feel good read for 2020 and is absolutely a total reflection of Annette Hannah's personality and wicked sense of humour. I am so super proud of her and the wonderful writer she has become! 

The main character Lucy has relocated to Bramblewood with her son Jackson to be closer to her grandfather. He is recuperating in a nursing home and Lucy and Jackson, along with their hairy hound Baxter, move into Railway Cottage to look after the house. Lucy's grandfather was the signal man when he worked for the Railway and the old signal box is beside his cottage and he owns it. Lucy who has set out on a new career as a wedding  planner and her best friend Abbie who is a photographer see a marvellous business opportunity in the signal box and Lucy and her grandfather go into business together to create the most wonderful cafe and wedding venue in the signal box. Life would be wonderful except for 2 things.........Lucy lives in constant state of worry and panic about Jackson and Abbie's brother Dom is infuriatingly handsome and constantly falling foul of Lucy with his arrogant and churlish ways. Lucy hates him! Or does she? He seems to be constantly irritated by her.

What I loved about this book is the amazing vision that was the Signal Box Cafe. Annette Hannah has thought of a really clever concept and the attention to detail in the bringing together of Lucy and  her grandfather's vision for the cafe is so clever. There are wonderful little touches that fit together beautifully and it was so easy to visualise what the cafe looked like. Just as it becomes Lucy's safe place it also becomes a place of comfort for the reader too. Maybe I liked it so much because my own grandfather was a signalman for the railways and had his own little signal box! I actually still have the old tin teapot he used to brew his tea in while sitting in the signal box!

Lucy is an extremely likeable character and its easy to feel sympathy for her. She has raised Jackson all on her own and has become very closed in relation to accepting help and support from others. Moving into Bramblewood has allowed her to become part of a bigger family and a community and go a little easier on herself. It seems like such a lovely place to live.

Dominic at first appears very hardened to life and his experiences with women have made him close off his heart. But, getting to know Lucy and Jackson starts to thaw out that icy heart and he soon becomes the hero of the hour. The fact that he's absolutely gorgeous helps too! I loved some of the things he did for Lucy and Baxter and I'd like Ryan Reynolds to play him in the movie please! 

Quite often in book reviews I talk about the supporting cast of other secondary characters. With this book it was difficult to do that because every character added so much to every chapter. Lucy's grandfather Dougie and Dominic's grandmother Violet are an absolute hoot! They should have a book dedicated just to them! There are so many laugh out loud moments in this book. Loved the Maud incident and was in absolute stitches over the 'Love in' incident.  This book just proves that age is only a number and there is plenty of fun and a lot of mischief to be had in your twilight years! And as for Baxter the dog...........what a legend!

With the humour in the book there is also the serious business of love! It's doesn't always go smoothly as we see with Lucy and Dom and I spent  a lot of time willing them to get together! And as if the humour and the love weren't enough, there's also a little bit of mystery and a bit of a bad guy though he was difficult to totally hate but he was a bit of a creep!

The writing style is wonderful and just flows so easily. The book is well paced and I absolutely few through it. I see so much potential in this writing and aspire to write just as well. The things I took away most from this book are that second chances are always possible and its never to late to find love. But most importantly, have fun along the way. Opening your heart to the possibility that your life can take a totally different direction than the one you had planned isn't necessarily a bad thing. Be brave and take a leap of faith.

Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Cafe has made it to my list of highly recommended reads. It will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy and a little happier with the world.



Annette Hannah is a Liver Bird who relocated to leafy Hertfordshire in the 80’s and now lives near a river with her husband, two of their three grown up children and a crazy black cocker spaniel. She writes Romantic comedies in settings inspired by the beautiful countryside around her and always with a nod to her hometown. As an avid reader she became a book blogger and eventually realised her dream to become an author in 2020.
She loves long walks along the river, travelling to far flung places, the odd glass of Pinot Blush and spending time with her friends and family. 

You can follow her on 
twitter @annettehannah

About 30 miles from my house I used to pass this old signal box sometimes when I was at work. It's been converted into a house but I thought you'd appreciate it. 

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