Tuesday 1 October 2013

It’s Raining Men by Milly Johnson

Lara Rickman took a large gulp of coffee and then swallowed hard and fast before she could spit it out.  It was as cold as a tub of ice cream in a polar bear’s freezer.  How had it cooled so quickly?  Surely her PA had only just brought it in for her and the first sip had been piping hot.  She checked the clock in the corner of her monitor to find that, in fact, an hour had gone by – sped by at warp speed, as the hours seemed to these days.  And not just hours, but days and weeks and months.  Had she really been seeing her darling James for three whole months?  Had it really been five months since she’d been up to Yorkshire to see her parents, arriving late Christmas Eve, driving back to London early Boxing Day morning on what could only be described as a whistle-stop trip?  Had it been nearly two months since she’d last spent proper face-to-face time with her work friends May and Clare?  Even then it had been only for a rushed sandwich in the staff restaurant when their three schedules made a rare crossover, like planets happening to align.  They’d eaten so fast it was a wonder that the Benny Hill theme tune hadn’t been playing in the background.
Published by Simon and Schuster  on 1st August 2013
480 pages
Best friends from work May, Lara and Clare are desperate for some time away.  They have each had a rough time of it lately and need some serious R & R.  So they set off to a luxurious spa for ten glorious days, but when they arrive at their destination, it seems it is not the place they thought it was.  In fact, they appear to have come to entirely the wrong village…
Here in Ren Dullem nothing is quite what it seems; the lovely cobbled streets and picturesque cottages hide a secret that the villagers have been keeping hidden for years.  Why is everyone so unfriendly and suspicious?  Why does the landlord of their holiday rental seem so rude?   And why are there so few women in the village?
Despite the strange atmosphere, the three friends are determined to make the best of it.  But will this be the break they need?  Or will the odd little village with all its secrets bring them all to breaking point…?
May, Lara and Clare are thirty-something professional working women who have no worries in their lives apart from work, work, work.  All three are in blossoming relationships: May with married man Michael, Lara with divorcee James and Clare with German businessman Ludwig.  On the surface, all three appear to have perfect lives, at home and at work, only unbeknown to each other all is not what it seems.  Desperate to spend some time together, Lara books a spa retreat break for the girls at the exclusive Superior Cottages resort in Wellem; only a clerical error means the girls end up in the neighbouring run-down village of Ren Dullem instead.  
In what is now her ninth book, Milly Johnson weaves together a lively tale of friendship, love and heartbreak.  She moves seamlessly from character to character, combining the lives of the London friends with those of the seemingly suspicious villagers of Ren Dullem.  Why are they so unfriendly, and why are they so few women there?  Throw in the mysterious Raine who lives in an isolated cottage on the cliff’s edge, and the money-grabbing Joan who is determined to marry the Lord of the Manor and you have a page-turning read where you hope every cloud has a silver lining.

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