I would like to thank Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on this blog tour.
Dream Job. Fresh Start. Big Mistake.
When Bella Black arrives in a sleepy Wiltshire village, it seems like the perfect place for a new start: a lovely home, exciting job and an attractive colleague or two to take her mind off her recent divorce.
When people start disappearing, she realises she holds the key to a mystery bigger than she could have ever imagined.
Who is really pulling the strings at the secretive OAK Institute?
Can anyone be trusted?
Will Bella make the right choices before its too late?
I wasn’t sure what sort of read to expect with this one but knew it was a genre I love to read. I wasn’t wrong I found this a fun entertaining light read. I really liked the main character Bella Black, some of the antics she got up to just had me chuckling.
Bella is headhunted by a Catherine Knight from Acorn Consulting, despite the fact that she isn’t really looking for another job, and wasn’t even thinking of leaving London and the few friends she has. But when offered double her wages, what can it hurt to just go for an interview?
Before she knows it Bella is on her way to a new home and new job in Wiltshire. After all what does she have to lose, now seems like a good time for her to move on with the breakdown of her marriage, a fresh start is good.
Before she’s even had chance to settle in her new home, the neighbours are popping by and introducing themselves, with a bottle of wine and some welcome words. Although a couple of days later, her visitor, another neighbour by the name of Maggie Thatcher arrives on her doorstep with a bag containing knickers, claiming that whenever she has moved she can never find clean knickers on the first day. This made me chuckle the way it is written just comes across funny as this woman is like a whirlwind, but when she finds out where Bella is going to be working she leaves as abruptly as she arrived. Claiming that the company have harmed or done something with her husband could this be true? Or is Maggie Thatcher just an eccentric woman?
As Bella starts her new job, there are some odd things going on within the company. Whilst she is on probation for 3 months she is not allowed in to any OAK meetings, as she starts looking round the huge building trying to find where everyone has gone she gets lost, not one for a good sense of direction. She ends up having to take photos of landmarks in the building to help her find her way around, but then realises there are cameras around the building which will look odd her taking pictures.
After her 3 month probation period, Bella is finally allowed into her first OAK debrief and finally she gets to find out what it is all about. What is so secret? Why is it held in an underground conference hall?
The building seems to be full of surprises, it has its own pub a replica of a pub in the next village the Royal Oak, after a days work staff can go into the pub, have a drink, then get driven home by drivers on standby. Bella finds herself attracted to two of the employees Ben and Oscar although she wants to keep things on a professional basis. As she learns more about the institute, the more intrigued she is. When she catches Ben, Lauren and James having some sort of secret meeting she is even more curious as to what is going on, it didn’t look to be a friendly meeting. Bella tries to get information from Lauren but is told to leave it. But Bella knows something isn’t quite right.
But it’s on a trip to an island known as La Chene which is shaped like an oak leaf, nothing like shown on google earth. Things get curiouser for Bella here, why does the company hold so much information on their employees? she is sure she sees the librarian on the island a very odd character who so far she has only seen back at the offices, why is he here? She then thinks she sees the missing Teddie Thatcher was Maggie right? Did the company do something to Ted? Why? What does Ben know? Is he somehow involved? Who can she trust? With so many questions Bella isn’t sure who to believe. On their return journey it is announced that the head of the company Isadora has been kidnapped.
I wasn’t sure who could be trusted and who couldn’t, the story is full of twists and turns, along with some humerous moments. Bella seems to be forever getting herself stuck in one thing or another. A bunch of good characters despite not knowing until the end who you can and can’t trust. This is a well written enjoyable read. I found myself finishing it around 4 in the morning as I was that engrossed.
If you are looking for something a little lighthearted, but with a little mystery suspense, great characters, I would definitely recommend this.
I would like to thank @SerpentineBooks for a copy of this book, in order for me to take part in the blogtour. All opinions and views are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather Barnett gained a degree in English and French from the University of Leeds and has written ever since: from copywriting to stand-up comedy and sketches.
She is now focusing on writing novels. Heather influences span Jane Austen and Douglas Adam’s at one end of the alphabet through to PG Wodehouse at the other.
Heather’s debut novel, Acts of Kindness, is an uplifting, light-hearted mystery. It was inspired by witnessing commuters helping a woman who’d fallen down the stairs at Paddington Station; intermingled with wondering what was behind some grand stone gate posts that she used to drive past in Wiltshire.
Her second novel, Lord Seeks Wife, is a romantic comedy and will be published summer 2021.
Aside from writing, Heather’s interests are classic literature, cats and comedy.
Heather is head of marketing at an agency near Oxford and lives by the river Kennet in Berkshire.
For more information on Heather and her books, please visit her website: http://www.heatherbarnettauthor.com or join the discussion on Twitter @WritesHeather
Social Media Links –
Serpentine Books: http://www.serpentinebooks.com Twitter: @SerpentineBooks