Garland Fairford has her dream job as a historical Costumier in London and is engaged to a handsome and successful playwright, Marco.
Whilst working on an exhibition of dresses owned by a Victorian actress, Garland meets a long lost relative – Honey Fairford. Garland, an orphan, is delighted, and intrigued to discover Honey is planning to open a wedding dress museum in Lancashire.
When Garland loses her fiancé and her job in the same week, she is excited to accept Honey’s offer to work at the museum. Escaping London and her old life, Garland is then shocked to be confronted with a ghost from her past – Thom.
As Garland starts to repair the beautiful vintage wedding dresses for the museum, as well as her relationship with Thom, could this finally be the chance for her own happy-ever-after?
What a delight this book turned out to be. Everything from the setting in a small village that had everything you could ever need from a beautiful bookshop most dream of having to the unusual antique shop where useful odds and ends seem to gather.
Moving to Great Mumming is a way to get a fresh start for Garland Fairford after pretty much everything in her life explodes. Village life, the one-bedroom cottage in Pelican Mews and a job working for her distant cousin Honey Fairford are exactly what the doctor ordered after her fiance and her job working for a world-renowned costumery both end in a spectacular fashion in less than 24 hours.
Of course, this new life is not without its complications, mostly in the way of rediscovering an old friendship with Thom Reid. There was always something between them, but Garland thought it was more his dislike of Marco – the erstwhile fiancé – than anything else.
Every new life has a mystery, and in Garland’s case, there are two. Opening a museum dedicated to the not-so-happy endings experienced by some brides, including herself and her cousin Honey, unleashes a can of worms for the so-called Bloody Bride Amy Weston, a woman who went missing on her wedding day leaving behind nothing but a pool of blood. But there’s also the mystery of what happened to their ancestor-in-common, Rosa-May Garland, who just vanished in the 1800s, never to be seen again!
This book intertwines the story of Garland and the new life she creates for herself out of disaster (with the help of her generous cousin and her new friends) and the diaries of their ancestor Rosa-May as she builds a life for herself as an actress before marrying Guy Fairford, having twin sons and then vanishing in a puff of smoke. The characters are well-written, and the mysteries of both Amy and Rosa-May had me quickly turning the pages desperate to find out what happened to both of them.
I am glad that Garland had the support of a wonderful group of people who helped her to move on from the awful treatment she experienced at the hands of Marco and her ex-employers who were incredibly quick to kick her out the door after one instance of not-so-professional behaviour without taking into account the circumstances. Marco was someone I just wanted to kick out the door the moment we met him on the page, he was self-serving and clearly not at all interested in anything that had no immediate bearing on his own life. He was so dismissive of Garland and her interests unless they benefited him and his career (is it wrong to say I hope he fell flat on his backside?).
I can’t talk about this book without mentioning the star of the show…Golightly, the cat who knows which side his bread is buttered, but still treats everyone exactly the same. As I was reading this I looked at my own cat and realised how accurate everything was from the facial expressions to the dawn chorus the moment food is thought of. I felt that he was a brilliant addition to the cast and his behavioural resemblances to my own Darcy were eerie.
All in all, this was a wonderful read. Initially, I looked at it and found the length to be a little intimidating for a romantic novel (Golightly brings the comedy in this one, I think), but as I moved through the story I am happy to say that the length was an advantage as we were telling two stories that worked together incredibly well.