Book Review: The Weekends of You and Me by Fiona Walker

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Title - The Weekends of You and Me
Author - Fiona Walker
Publication Date - September 8th 2016
Publisher - Sphere
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 512

Can your final fling become your Happy Ever After?

When Jo Coulson finds herself single again in her late thirties, she finally resigns her membership to Last of the Hopeless Romantics, fully intending to tackle midlife and motherhood alone. First, she plans one legendary last fling...

In walks Harry Inchbold, and the connection is electric. Passionate, unpredictable and messily divorced, Harry is the perfect antidote to cosy coupledom. Known as The Sinner, drama follows him around with a clapper board.

Harry's favourite holiday hideaway in the wilds of South Shropshire puts the mud and fun into the perfect dirty weekend. But at the cottage Harry reveals a very different side, melting Jo's resolve. What better combination to face an uncertain future than two cynics who have learned from their mistakes? Together they make a pact; 'same time next year'; they can promise no more than that.

Through life's most stressful decade, Harry and Jo return to the Shropshire hills for one weekend each year to rediscover passion and make peace. As career, family and home crises all threaten to bring them unstuck, the cottage is their glue. Here, different rules apply: the day to day world is not allowed to intrude. With Harry and Jo, however, it's only a matter of time before rules get broken. As real life gets increasingly complicated, can they keep renewing their promise?

When Fiona Walker's The Weekends of You and Me caught my eye on NetGalley, I really couldn't stop myself from hitting the request button. The beautifully serene cover drew me to this book immediately, and my mind came alive as I took in the image portrayed. Those lush green hills and woodland, the cottage and the surrounding countryside with its streams spoke to straight to my heart, and I knew that a story set in a place that looked like this would be a truly enjoyable read. Top marks for cover design, guys, because this one has got to be one of my all-time favourites, without a doubt. As for the blurb itself, I thought it sounded wonderful, and couldn't wait to see what Fiona Walker had in store for me within this novel.

The Weekends of You and Me follows Jo and Harry's whirlwind lives and relationship as they retreat yearly to the cottage known as Morrow, nestled in the gloriously picturesque Shropshire hills. Here, life is lived in an entirely different way. There's no room for real life and troubles when you step through the door. It's a place of healing and seems to have a magic all of its own, holding those who spend their time there in a sort of delicious bubble until it comes to leaving. Walkers descriptions of Morrow, and of the village and hills surrounding it, were beautiful. I could picture it all so perfectly in my mind, right down to the very last exquisite detail. From the visual descriptions to the sights and smells and noises of nature, I felt as if I, too, were enjoying a retreat at Morrow and shutting the real world outside until I was ready to face it again. The author truly brought the place to life for me, no doubt about it. In fact, I'd be sorely tempted now to head to Morrow myself, so convinced am I that it exists.

Walker's focus on Jo and Harry's relationship was like no other I've read in a very long time. Walker takes us right back to when Jo and Harry first meet at a friend's dinner party, and then edges us forward in time, year by year, as their past is gradually built up behind them, full of memories and love and warmth. Despite the loveliness of it all though, reality plays a major role, and the reader is witness to the highs and lows, the ups and downs, of real love and everything that comes alongside it. From family life to careers, Walker portrays stunningly the balancing act of life and how easily it is to let everything pile up until it is too much to bear. Heartbreaking and raw at times, but ultimately a novel that tugs at your heartstrings, I was compelled by the truth and tenderness in which Jo and Harry's relationship was pulled apart by. It was a gentle yet bitter dissection of romance and what comes after that. It was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed being witness to the secret conversations between Jo and Harry, loved watching as Walker peeled away each of their layers, revealing something surprising every time. There were moments of hot passion, contrasting greatly with moments of sadness and loss. The very best parts of life captured within Morrow.

All in all, The Weekends of You and Me by Fiona Walker was a captivating tale of life, love and family, and of what comes after the passion and the lust. Fiona Walker picks apart the relationship so focused on within this book and ensures the reader is witness to the results as the novel, and the characters' lives, march on. Becca's Books is awarding The Weekends of You and Me by Fiona Walker with four of my bookish cupcakes. The perfect novel to curl up with and lose yourself in, without a doubt. Special thanks to Fiona Walker and Sphere for providing me with a review copy of The Weekends of You and Me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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