A Rather Remarkable Homecoming
I fell in love with Penny Nichols and Jeremy Laidley in A Rather Lovely Inheritance and have enjoyed each of the subsequent books in the Rather series. Penny and Jeremy are as charming as ever in the latest entry, but the plot meandered a bit more than usual, and I found it easy to put down.
The latest adventure of Penny Nichols and her husband Jeremy Laidley picks up about a year after their wedding in A Rather Charming Invitation. They’ve been away from London for most of the year and the minute they return to their office they encounter two new clients: A mother and her son are there at the suggestion of Prince Charles. They represent a group of townspeople from a small village in Cornwall where Penny’s grandmother used to live. Her grandmother’s home is now in the hands of a local historic group. Some shady developers are threatening the home and a large area of land surrounding it. Prince Charles suggested that Penny and Jeremy’s historical investigative firm, Nichols & Laidley, might be able to find some historic value to the home, and thus save it from the developers. The home has special sentimental value for the two; it’s where they first met as children.
Penny and Jeremy head off to Cornwall and are quickly immersed in the town, where they get to see things not only from the perspective of the wealthy tourists, but also from that of the struggling locals.
Their search for historical connections to the home goes in such disparate directions as Shakespearean connections, pirates, Arthurian legends, and a secret club created by Penny’s grandmother when she was just a girl. As always, the author treats us to some fantastic European settings. Penny and Jeremy’s investigation leads them from London to Cornwall to Madeira and eventually back to Cornwall. The author brings each of these settings to life.
Nothing about Penny and Jeremy’s search goes smoothly. When one of their initial hopes proves false, much of the town becomes angry with the pair. At that point the book really seemed to drag, with a few too many plot threads thrown in. I don’t need a plot to move in a linear fashion, but this one took a few too many twists and turns.
But while the plot dragged at times, I found the characters, as always, delightful. Jeremy and Penny are the cutest, sweetest couple (and if you don’t like a bit of saccharine avoid this series). They walk hand-in-hand, they adore and respect each other. Although they come from privileged backgrounds, they can’t stand injustice and will work to help anyone who needs it. Now, they did have a bit of a fight at one point in this book, I guess to prove that they’re human. But it was over very quickly.
I enjoyed visiting with some characters from previous books, including Penny’s disreputable cousin Rollo and an aging actor. Many of the Cornwall residents were also interesting and fun.
The author neatly wrapped everything up in the end and eventually tied together most of the plot threads. But while I’ll keep reading the series, I hope the next entry gets back to the form of the earlier books. I still like the series overall, but suggest that you start with the first book to fully appreciate the characters.