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Review by Suze
Ava's much older husband suddenly passed away. She can't keep living in his house and doesn't have anywhere to go. She needs to find herself a place to stay that isn't too expensive, that's why she moves to Willoughby Close. Ava doesn't have a big budget and her meagre inheritance only covers a few basics, so she needs a job. She doesn't have any work experience, she was a trophy wife. Her husband kept her on a short leash and she doesn't have any friends or family she can go to for help. Ava is on her own, but she won't be alone much longer because she's unexpectedly pregnant. Will the healing effect of Willoughby Close and the friendliness of the people who are already living there give Ava a chance at a better future?
When Jace, the caretaker of Willoughby Manor, meets Ava he immediately offers his help. Ava needs practical help with things like secondhand furniture, which he can provide, and she could use a friend. Ava keeps her distance from everyone, but slowly Jace manages to break down her walls. However, he doesn't want to get too close to anyone because he has something to hide. Is Jace ready to take a chance on Ava? They're both people who have done things they aren't proud of, will that give them a chance to form a bond?
Kiss Me at Willoughby Close is a wonderful story. I love that Kate Hewitt writes about two main characters who easily admit their flaws. Both Jace and Ava have done things they think they shouldn't have and they are actively trying to change and have a better future. I really liked that about them. Jace is kind to people and he tries to help whenever he can. Ava is a bit standoffish, because she's socially awkward. As soon as her neighbors realize she isn't arrogant, but just insecure, it's much easier for Ava to make friends. I loved how resilient she is. She's been dealt a bad hand in life, but Ava doesn't wallow. She's sad, but she's determined to keep going. She doesn't only have to fight for herself, but also for her unborn child and I loved how, even though she doesn't have much security, she's happy with the pregnancy and is going to make the best of it. Ava and Jace have fabulous multilayered personalities and it was interesting to read about them.
Willoughby Close is a heartwarming setting. I love reading about the inhabitants and equally enjoyed every story about this amazing place. Kate Hewitt's vivid descriptions are making her stories come to life incredibly well. Ava is another great addition to Willoughby Close and I loved finding out more about her. The welcoming atmosphere of the place is fabulous and I love how the people who are living there are starting to get very close. To me they are starting to feel like a chosen family more and more, which is another part of the story I liked a lot. Kiss Me at Willoughby Close is a terrific charming and romantic book.
The Willoughby Close books can easily be read as standalones. However, if you don't want to miss anything and would like to have all the details you should start with the first part of the series, A Cotswold Christmas.