Among Friends (by Alexandra Raife)

I like Alexandra Raife's writing. She bases most of her novels in Scotland, and the themes are to do with growth, usually on the part of the heroine. Raife doesn't have the amazing gift of - say - Rosamunde Pilcher - to make me care deeply about her characters, but she always tells a good story, often bringing in characters from previous novels as minor players.

I very much enjoyed reading 'Among Friends'.

After tragically losing her family, Louise has been caring for an elderly relative, who eventually dies. She applies to a job agency - run by Cass from the novel 'Wedding Gift'. Although Louise is very unsure of herself at first, and unwilling to work with children, she soon proves to be a reliable and valuable worker.

Despite herself, she becomes drawn to the dour Hugh and his rebellious daughter Emily. I thought the book was very well written, and believable. The conclusion was more open than I like, but still encouraging.

Definitely recommended - and it's not vital to have read any of the previous books, as this does stand alone.

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