The Potter’s Daughter by Jackie Ladbury

Is love powerful enough to cross the class divide?

When Daniel Davenport saves Maddie Lockett and her young brother Tom from drowning, an immediate bond is forged between them. 

But Daniel is an aspiring doctor and son of a wealthy manufacturer, whilst Maddie is a potter’s daughter from a poverty-stricken area of the Potteries. Even a friendship between the two could be frowned upon, let alone anything more …

But Maddie and Daniel want more, and as they grow closer gossip and prejudice look set to spoil their blossoming romance. Do the young couple stand a chance when there are those who would stop at nothing to keep them apart?

I’ve read Jackie Ladbury’s previous novels and loved them all. However, they’ve all been very witty contemporary romances, so this historical romance was something new from her. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I needn’t have worried. I loved this gentle romance between Daniel and Maddie. Despite the obstacles between them, this lovely couple fall in love and together they must deal with all the challenges that their respective backgrounds bring. I am no expert on the history of the potteries, but the historical details ring true and the author’s voice sounds sure and authentic. I was rooting for the couple to make it against all the odds. I hope Jackie Ladbury makes more ventures into the past as her historical fiction is just as entertaining as her contemporary romances. Just wonderful.

Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill by Jackie Ladbury

Lose yourself in this festive, feel-good, winter romance with a touch of humour. 
“A heart-warming and funny romance – with a delicious hero. Loved the characters – loved the humour.”
“A gorgeous Christmas romance with two very likeable characters, an interesting backdrop of the theatre, and a restaurant set in the stylish town of St Albans.” 

Christmas is coming and actress, Kirsty Castille, is having a crisis of faith. All around her actors are bagging interesting roles in Christmas pantos while she’s stuck as Nag the pantomime horse. By a stroke of luck, she lands the lead role in a well-known musical and can finally wave goodbye to the cast in the seasonal production of Snow White and the Seven Christmas Puddings.
Things get even better when she bonds with handsome chef, Jake Levy, over a piece of squid at her local supermarket. Sadly, romance is the last thing on Jake’s mind. He has a Christmas deadline, an ex-wife to mourn and lots of emotional baggage to drag around – and he certainly wouldn’t fall for someone like Kirsty who craves the limelight: been there, done that. 
A misunderstanding leads Jake to offer Kirsty a job in his new restaurant and she is savvy enough to realise that she will have to take the job offer if she wants to see more of him. 
Her charm offensive appears to work, but while he’s cooking up a storm she’s secretly sparkling under the spotlight – until keeping a low profile becomes impossible. The fallout is catastrophic, but as they say in Luvvie Land, the show must go on, even if Kirsty wonders if she’s taken her last curtain call and ruined her chance for love.
Read on and immerse yourself in this delightful winter romance as the snow starts to fall and Christmas day comes ever nearer.
This gorgeous love story is loosely set in St Albans only half an hour away from London, where chef Jake relocates having lost everything that was dear to him. Enter actress, Kirsty Castille, who lives mostly in a world of her own until she meets Jake and realises she’d quite like to share the real world with him. If only he thought the same, things would be wonderful.

I really, really loved this story! From the very beginning Jackie Ladbury made me laugh out loud. Her writing is sparkling and witty, and she’s created a real gem of a character in Kirsty Castille.
Kirsty is an actress who just can’t seem to catch a break. Until, that is, she meets Jake Levy, at which point everything begins to change – for both of them.
Jake is really struggling, having had a terribly rough deal at the hands of his estranged wife, and he’s trying to pull his life back together by starting over with a new business.
Jake – not surprisingly – has serious trust issues. He’s also feeling pretty low and not really in the festive mood as he pines for his wife and the life they had together.
Kirsty couldn’t be more different from his successful, organised wife. She’s funny, self-deprecating and a bit chaotic. Life with her would be a nightmare. Wouldn’t it?
Jake isn’t ready to move on from his marriage, but Kirsty has a way of getting under his skin and, after all, it is Christmas, and the most amazing things can happen at this magical time of year …
Honestly, I laughed all the way through this book yet, at the same time, the author managed to make my heart ache for the wounded hero and the scatty but thoroughly lovable heroine.
This novel is a real festive treat and I can’t wait to read what’s next from this talented writer.

Air Guitar and Caviar by Jackie Ladbury

I was so delighted to get my hands on this book by my Write Romantic pal, Jackie Ladbury, as I’ve been dying to read it for ages. I knew Jackie’s writing style would appeal to me, having loved her short story in our charity anthology, Winter Tales, and being lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the first three chapters a few months ago. Finally, the book is available to buy, and it’s every bit as good as I thought it would be.

It’s the story of Dylan, a street busker with two huge ambitions – to make it as a musician, and to win the heart of the lovely Scarlett. It’s difficult to tell which of these ambitions matter the most to him. Both seem to be of equal importance, and as vital to him as breathing.

Scarlett is an air hostess with a past. Attracted though she is to Dylan, previous experience has taught her to be very wary, and she has enough to deal with, coping with a lecherous boss. Her heart is very definitely closed for business, and the last thing she wants is a would-be rock star knocking at its door, demanding to be let in.

In spite of herself, Scarlett is won over by Dylan, but shadows from Scarlett’s past hang over the present, jeopardising their future. Both of them will have to decide what’s most important to them, and battle mistrust and jealousy, if they’re to have any kind of future together.

Air Guitar and Caviar is a lovely romance, with well-drawn, fully-rounded characters, some rather passionate love scenes, and a lot of humour. I absolutely defy anyone not to fall in love with Dylan within the first page. He is a gorgeous hero in every sense of the word, and his laid-back, open, totally honest personality makes him the ideal partner for the wounded, scared, somewhat withdrawn Scarlett.

There are plenty of minor characters populating the pages, too, with some fabulous names like Beanie and Axel. The story takes in a wide variety of them, from a down-and-out sleeping in a shop doorway, a cute child, and a beautiful ex-girlfriend,  through to a brusque showbusiness agent and a vile airline pilot. The writing never lapses into over-sentimentality, but the author really gets to the heart of the matter with a deft assurance and a light touch.

Jackie writes beautifully, with such humour and some beautiful observations. The story flows effortlessly, and is a complete joy to read. It was definitely worth waiting for, and I am really excited to see what the next book will be! A sparkling debut.

You can buy Air Guitar and Caviar here.

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