The mysterious death of her mother has left Charlotte Simmons on edge and off-balance for too long. The only way to move forward is to get answers, and those answers can only be found in one place. So Charlotte buys a Bed & Breakfast establishment in Swallow’s Falls, a small town in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, as a ploy to get close to the man who might have the answers. She’ll jazz up the old place, flip it, get her answers, and be gone in two-months – max.
What she doesn’t count on is opposition from the dogmatic and slightly eccentric members of the town council, and the hotshot owner of Kookaburra’s Bar & Grill and his two-hundred-squats-a-day physique whose mouth offers to act as mediator, but his eyes promise something so much more.
Easy-going Daniel Bradford knows progress is slow in Swallow’s Fall. He’s finally about to put his plans into place to upgrade the hotel when a prim-and-proper, citified redhead blows into town, putting everyone on edge. The only way to contain the trouble she’s about to cause is to contain her – but he knows trouble when he sees it, and soon it becomes very clear that there’s absolutely nothing containable about Charlotte, or the way he feels about her.
Charlotte has bought the local B&B in Swallows Hill, but that's not why she's moved to town. She wants to find answers about her past. Before she can do that, though, she needs to be accepted by the town's folk. Down the road, Daniel is the local pub owner, and most amused by the drama he watches unfolding between the newcomer and the rest of the town. He has his own plans for his pub, secret plans that the entire town seems to know, but those soon seem less important than getting to know the town's newest red head.
Poor Charlotte, she just wants to paint the pink B&B yellow, get some answers about her past, and move on. She has quite a bit of baggage, but this isn't a heavy story. We get some glimpses of her trauma, but her tale is mostly about getting to know Daniel and the rest of the town, and learning to fit in.
As for Daniel, he's such a sweetheart. One of those big puppy dog heroes who you just want to cuddle. Which isn't to say there aren't sparks between him and Charlotte, because there definitely are, but this hero warmed my heart more than he heated my blood. He's just so damned cute.
Together, Charlotte and Daniel have a lovely romance. The drama is mostly driven by the question of whether Charlotte will stay or leave Swallows Hill, and the secrets our hero and heroine keep from each other. But for most of the story, after they overcome their initial pre-romance disagreements, they are fun, flirty, and a little bit naughty. There's lots of sexy times, but very much of the sweet rather than steamy variety.
This was my first Jennie Jones book, though it is the third book in the Swallows Fall series. This is a series of interconnected standalone romances, however, I suspect they might be better read in order. There's a lovely cast of town characters, but I sometimes felt a bit lost and lacking in certain introductions and histories, which probably would not have been the case had I started from the start. Thankfully this didn't detract too much from the primary story which kept my attention throughout, pulling me into Swallows Hill well past my bedtime. Clearly, I'll have to go back and read the first two. Yay!
The House At The Bottom Of The Hill is a sweet small town romance that I'd recommend to anyone wanting a light, heart warming read to escape the hustle and bustle.
As a short side note to my review: I grew up in a flamingo pink weatherboard house that my mother eventually painted sunflower yellow, much to the horror of the rest of the locals who continued to call it "The Pink House" in hushed tones for many years. I'll have to get her a copy of this book, since I know she'll feel poor Charlotte's pain. Haha.
The House At The Bottom Of The Hill by Jennie Jones is a contemporary romance, released by Escape Publishing and Harlequin Mira on December 19, 2014.
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