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Library Journal Review
After a death in the family, fashionable Londoner Flora Stanza suddenly finds herself senior partner in Stanza and Stanza, a failing antiques business in the English countryside. Eager to investigate the inheritance, Flora shows up in the countryside, intending to make the most of this opportunity to escape London for a spell. Complicating matters greatly are Flora's distant cousin, Charles, and his prim, steely fiancoe, Annabelle, who try to convince Flora to sign over her stake and return quickly to London. But Flora and her very pregnant cat, Imelda, will not be pushed back so easily. Flora befriends the locals, joins the choir, and learns a thing or two about the antiques business. She also learns some unexpected things about herself. London Times best-selling author Fforde's (Restoring Grace) characters are amusing; the book is great fun throughout. Highly recommended for all public library collections. [Library marketing campaign planned.-Ed.]-Anastasia Diamond, Cleveland P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
This 12th romance from Britisher Fforde (Restoring Grace) features a heroine as flintily na?ve as she is endearing. Upon inheriting 51% of the Stanza and Stanza antique auction business from her uncle Clodio, Flora Stanza sublets her London flat for six months, packs up her pregnant kitty, Imelda, and heads for the countryside hamlet of Bishopsbridge. A chilly welcome and a partial buyout offer await her from cousin Charles, the 49% inheritor who has been running the business for years and is looking to gain operational control for himself and scheming fiancee Annabelle. Despite being banished to a remote cottage and run-ins with Annabelle, Flora decides to stick it out. Acceptance in the local church choir and a growing fascination with the antique business (enhanced by the presence of a number of interesting local men) reinforce her decision. The jejune prose has a schoolgirl quality, but Fforde brings an appealing, bumbling innocence to the age-old formula of a single woman against the vicissitudes of fortune and family, as Flora finds true love on her very own road show. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Flora, young and pretty, takes up the family country antiques business with the hope of learning a trade and shedding her lackluster London life. She knows nothing about antiques but has inherited 51 percent of the assets. When Flora insists, her uptight cousin Charles and his chilly fiancee, Annabelle, warm up enough to lend her a remote cottage to live in and assign her dogsbody work in the firm. With ready intelligence and a cheerful disposition, Flora soon earns approval from the staff, if not from Charles. In short order, she joins the local choir, gives frumpy Annabelle a makeover, and finds homes for kittens, all the while gaining expertise and developing her eye for good pieces over fakes. She discovers that she has a flair for marketing and the antiques business, but, to her horror, finds herself falling in love with Charles. Readers can only guess what happens next. Popular novelist Fforde's latest, following Restoring Grace (2006), is charming, romantic, and sweet. A pleasure to read. --Danise Hoover Copyright 2007 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Fforde (Restoring Grace, 2006, etc.) presents a chatty, feel-good romance filled with antiques and numerous cups of tea to get her gang of Brits through the tribulations of modern love. Young, slightly flighty Flora Stanza has just inherited 51 percent of Stanza and Stanza, a country auction house. She sublets her London flat, packs up a few summer dresses and cages the very pregnant cat Imelda for a sojourn in the country. She's not sure for how long, or for exactly what, but . . . why not? The stiff Charles, Flora's very distant cousin, and his equally patrician fiance, Annabelle, run the business, and they rudely tell Flora to head back to London. But our spunky heroine decides to stick around and learn the antiques trade (building on admittedly spotty knowledge gleaned from the telly), if for no other reason than to spite them. Kindly old Geoffrey, a porter at the company, takes Flora under his wing, and soon her London marketing savvy has multiplied the company's revenues. She dines out with Henry, the town Lothario, and befriends the slightly odd William, a poet/painter/naked-tai-chi enthusiast who pops into her cottage from time to time to bake a quiche. Flora even smoothes things out with Annabelle, giving her a Trinny-and-Susannah-style makeover and arranging for William to paint her engagement portrait. Everything would be perfect but for the nagging uneasiness Flora feels when around Charles. All the signs are there: She's in love! But what to do? Charles and Annabelle have been together forever, and the wedding is in just a few months. How can Flora stay with the company when Charles doesn't reciprocate her love? It's not exactly a surprise when things work out beautifully, but Fforde moves the plot along at breakneck speed, with enough charm to entertain the most discerning fans. Good-natured fluff. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.