Summer at Willow Tree Farm by Heidi Rice

Is home always where the heart is?
When Ellie spent a summer with her mum on a Wiltshire commune in the 90s it was a bigger disaster than Leo DiCaprio’s trip aboard the Titanic – so fleeing to America seemed a perfect plan.
But now, with her marriage falling apart, running back to her mum seems like the only option for her and her son Josh.
She wasn’t expecting Art, the boy she once had a crush on to still be working at Willow Tree Farm…And still be as hot and bothersome as he was when they were teenagers.
Ellie came to Willow Tree Farm for a fresh start. But is she ready to risk sailing her life – and her heart – into another iceberg?

 

 

I bought this on impulse when I saw it in a supermarket. I was about to go on holiday and it seemed like the perfect read, although I’d never read anything by Heidi Rice before.

Well, I have to say, I was hooked! This story absolutely sizzles with passion. The simmering sexual tension between Ellie and Art practically scorches the pages. And Art is seriously hot …

This is the story of two people who met many years before and had a rather uncomfortable relationship, and that’s putting it mildly. Ellie developed a crush on Art. Art was mean to her. Ellie moved away from Willow Tree Farm and never saw or heard from him again. Until now. Separated from her husband, she’s returned to the farm along with her son, Josh, to visit her mother, and a whole lot of memories are being stirred up, along with a most unwelcome lust for her former crush.

Art is the strong, silent type. He doesn’t say a lot, and whatever is going on in his head he keeps it well hidden away. He’s done a lot of growing up since Ellie left, becoming a father himself. Being dad to a young daughter, Toto, is proving tricky. He’s devoted to her, but doesn’t always have the best handle on parenting. He gives Toto a lot of freedom, which leads to more clashes with Ellie, whose parenting style is the opposite of his. As Josh and Toto strike up a friendship, this leads to some difficult scenarios to negotiate, and brings the two into ever closer contact.

As Ellie strives to rebuild her relationship with her mother, she throws herself into life at Willow Tree Farm, and battles to keep her growing desire for Art at bay. But it soon becomes obvious that his desires for her are just as great. The problem is, they have such a troubled history, and don’t even seem to like each other, so their mutual attraction is inconvenient, to say the least.

As the summer goes on, Ellie and Art face up to some unpleasant truths about their respective pasts, their present-day situation, and the realities of their relationship. There’s a whole lot more at stake than their pride, but do they have the courage to do what’s necessary to save the place they love and secure a future for everyone at Willow Tree Farm?

The setting for this book was just gorgeous. Willow Tree Farm is so beautifully described, and there’s a lot of sensual description in the novel that puts the reader right there with the characters. I loved all the characters, and found them well-drawn and believable. Josh and Toto were just adorable.

The relationship between Art and Ellie is pure passion, and throughout the book I was absolutely aching for them to finally get it together. I notice some reviewers feel that the book has too much action in the bedroom. Well, it certainly has some racy scenes, but it’s not exactly erotica. The love scenes are very much part of the story and essential to the characters’ overall development, so I have no problem with that at all. Plus, it’s well-written and, by the time I got to that part of the book, I was just so relieved that it finally happened!

Overall, I absolutely loved this book, and will definitely be reading more novels by this author. 5/5 from me.

You can buy Summer at Willow Tree Farm here.