But after more than a decade away, and undecided about exactly how she will shape a new future for herself, Hope soon discovers that learning to live and love again involves making some tough decisions.
Originally published in four ebook novellas – Starting Over, Secret Loves, Broken Promises and Christmas Wishes – this is the tale of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures brought together in one bright and beautiful book from Holly Hepburn, author of fabulously ‘feelgood’ fiction like Coming Home to Brightwater Bay and the much-loved Star and Sixpence series.
So if the pandemic is adding to your regulation January blues, join Hope’s search for friendship, kindness and love amongst the ancient streets and picturesque shops of York’s stunning Shambles in this enchanting and uplifting story.
When Hope lost her husband Rob nearly two years ago, her world fell apart and she feared her happiest days were already behind her. With her only connection to London now broken, she has decided to go back home to York to be near her family and to try to build a new life.
But her family’s love and attentiveness is proving to be a little overwhelming for Hope and her ‘bruised’ heart can muster little enthusiasm for her sister Charlotte’s suggestion that Hope should start looking for a new love via dating apps.
It’s when she is wandering down the city’s historic streets that Hope sees a job vacancy sign in the window of an antiques shop called the Ever After Emporium, a place that instantly recalls happy memories of her childhood and awakens an unspoken desire to ‘get away from who she had been before, to try something new.’
And the Emporium, it seems, holds more treasures than Hope had ever imagined. The shop’s owner, James Young, is happy to have her on board and soon Hope finds herself crossing paths with two very different men.
Will Silverwood, who owns a jewellery shop in the Shambles, has recently become the guardian to his four-year-old niece, Brodie, after the tragic death of her parents and he impresses Hope with his warmth, sincerity and caring.
And then there’s handsome hunk Ciaran MacCormack, the university professor she has enlisted to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian puzzle box which has lain unopened in the shop for decades and has now spilled forth its exotic contents.
The two men represent two different happy endings for Hope but can she trust herself to choose the right man… and will that bring her everything she really needs?
Hepburn’s army of fans are guaranteed to fall head over heels for young widow Hope as she settles into the close-knit community inside the ancient walls that surround the city’s beating heart and finds unexpected friendships and surprises around every corner.
Packed with romance, drama, humour and a host of lively and beautifully drawn characters – from the irrepressibly optimistic local florist Iris to the Ever After Emporium’s eccentric, affable owner James Young – this addictive tale of difficult choices and new beginnings from a master storyteller is the next best thing to a trip to York.
Add on a mystery to solve, hidden treasures waiting to be unearthed in a shop that has a character all of its own, the fun-filled antics at belly dancing classes, and the vibes of simmering, sultry romance, and there is never a dull moment from first page to last.
Tears, laughter, lashings of Yorkshire wit, and an extra-large helping of heart… who could ask for anything more!
(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £8.99)