Move Over Darling
Coralie Casey is haunted by her past. Deciding it’s time for a fresh start, she sets up ‘Sweet Cleans’, a range of natural beauty and cleaning products, and escapes to Penmorfa, a quiet coastal village in west Wales.
Gethin Lewis thinks he’s about to put his home village Penmorfa behind him for good. Now an internationally-acclaimed artist living in New York, he just has to return one last time to wind up his father’s estate.
But the village soon disrupts their carefully laid plans. As truths are uncovered which threaten to split the community apart, Gethin is forced to question his real reasons for abandoning Penmorfa, and Coralie is made to face the fact that some stains just won’t go away.
Christine Stovell’s second novel is set with magnificent contrast between the rolling countryside of the Welsh Valleys and the bustling city of New York.
The story centres around a ‘will they – won’t they’ relationship between Pembrokeshire newcomer Coralie Casey, and internationally renowned artist Gethin Jones, an old Penmorfa boy who has made a reluctant return to attend to his late father’s estate.
After an initial awkward meeting, the couple find themselves slowly becoming attracted to one another, but as they both seem to have dark secrets and brooding pasts they try to suppress these feelings and carry on with their lives. This task becomes increasingly more difficult for Coralie as in an attempt to help the town which she has grown to love, she agrees to become the subject of a hand painted ‘Gethin Lewis’ piece which will auction to raise funds to build the Community Hall which they so desperately need.
Coralie endeavours to manage the business she is striving to build, selling handmade, natural cleaning and beauty products, which also acts as a therapeutic attempt to block out a secret in her life that she is desperately trying to make amends for. While whenever Gethin returns to Penmorfa he is met with a barrage of bitter comments and glowers from the older residents, particularly Delyth and Mair from the WI (Merched y Wawr) who he is attempting to help raise money for, and make amends for his past.
There are several sub-plots to carry the story nicely along, and Stovell’s ability to describe settings and characters so perfectly adds to the beauty of an already lovely book, as does the description of Coralie’s gorgeous vintage fifties style dress, and love for all things Doris Day.
The only criticism of this book for me personally, is that the chapters seemed long and I like smaller, bitesized chapters that I can dip in and out of without feeling like I was leaving halfway through a scene, but overall this is a book I really enjoyed and would recommend.