This is a collection of four different novellas, and for the first time, I probably would have preferred reading them separately. They are very distinct pieces of work, although the location of the stories is in and around the Appleyard. There is a twinge of magic, the unexplained version that is threaded through every tale.
I was not sure I would like the book when I was halfway through the first story. By the time I reached the third story, however, I was well acquainted with the characters and therefore felt better invested in it all. The first introduces us to the Appleyard of the book title fame and the precarious state it finds itself in. We have the current owner drowning in grief and struggling to keep things running when a mysterious stranger decides to play cupid (as well as several other roles). I would have loved it if this character later tied in with some future narrative, but that was not to be. There is a happily ever after at the end of each story, and this was no exception.
The second brings to the forefront a family of new parents embarking on a big challenge. It is filled with a lot of activity, and people are constantly doing something or discovering something.
The third is of a married family with two children. The wife is harbouring a secret, something she feels would be required in some time. It was very entertaining to watch her put it together. The entire enterprise felt like something that would be fun to watch come together.
The last was my favourite. It ties up quite neatly with the last unattached person left, finding a new beginning.
This is a light read, with characters to root for. The collection also offers multiple variations of happily ever after for the couples involved.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.