I never make apologies for light reading – it’s just as hard to construct a light, romantic read as it is to make other kinds of books work, and sometimes you need something light and jolly as a bit of a palate-cleanser or fluffy cloud to sit on a while (“Roots” is excellent but it’s quite hard going at times!). So when HarperCollins got in touch with me to offer me this one, via NetGalley, I said yes please, and knowing it was coming out at the end of the month, I slotted it into a few quiet days this last week.

Julie Caplin – “The Cosy Cottage in Ireland”

(13 September 2021, NetGalley)

Hannah has always been “the good one”, raised by her aunt and uncle after her and her sister’s impulsive parents died in an accident, her sister then the one who went off and tried and did things. I really liked the clever nod early on to the fact that light romantic books like this are often triggered by a horrible dumping or sad bereavement – in Hannah’s case, it’s a small-seeming incident with a cake that triggers her to take a six-week sabbatical from her legal job to go and do an advanced cookery course at a famous Irish farm and cookery school.

What Hannah doesn’t know is just how famous this school is. And just how famous and pursued the owner’s son is. So when she encounters him, she honestly doesn’t know who he is. Or whether she’s actually met him before …

There’s a nice cast of side characters, the other folk on the course, with their individual stories, and the people who run the course. Ireland is described in loving detail and so is some of the food and processes but not too over-detailed for someone like me who’s not really a foodie myself. There’s a good plot that allows Hannah to show what she’s made of, and everything is rooted in reality and sensibleness, even if she does feel she wants to fling everything into the air and just move to Ireland.

A nice engaging heroine, a great setting and a fun story – it ticks all the boxes and is done really well (there are some sex scenes but it’s not too lurid or graphic).

This is one of a series of books the author has done about people going and finding themselves in new countries called Romantic Escapes, and apparently some characters carry over between the books (ooh!) – I didn’t engage with her Japanese tea shop one but having enjoyed this I’d definitely try that one again, and others in the series.

Thank you to HarperCollins for inviting me to read this via NetGalley in return for an honest review. It’s published on 29 September so not long to wait if you’re tempted!