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A Breath of Fresh Air

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3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  606 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Charlotte Lawrence, widowed at 34, decides to return to the village of her childhood. It means moving into Ivy Cottage, pretty if overgrown, and suffering the attentions of her interfering sister Hilary. Most of all, it means Alex, Ivy Cottage’s drop-dead gorgeous tenant.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Orion Publishing (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Annamarie
Jun 15, 2011 Annamarie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Charlotte is consumed by guilt - after months of agonising she finally asks her workaholic husband for a divorce. The very same day Peter was killed in a tragic accident. Charlotte's only wish is to return home to the idyllic Cheshire village of her childhood.

Ivy Cottage and Hulme Welford are all Charlotte remembered - Lunch in the shade of the fig tree and fork suppers. And her interfering sister Hilary hasn't changed either, organising everything from milk on the doorstep to Alex, the sitting
...more
Bev Taylor
Jan 08, 2015 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it
one morning charlotte tells her husband that she wants a divorce. by noon she is a widow

she returns to her home town to start again but she is unable to grieve as she feels in some way guilty that he died

she has a male tenant in the flat of her property to whom she is attracted but cannot allow herself to follow her emotions. he has his own secrets as well

great characters and a good prose. u feel u r living in the village!

would just like to know what job she eventually finds

bev
Chrissi
I thought this book was light and easy to read, but it definitely isn't the best from Erica James.
Nikki
I enjoy Erica James's books for the characters -- I like how even the ones who at first seem like stereotypes or caricatures will, by the end of the book, be shown to have other aspects and hidden traits; for the scenery -- she loves the county of Cheshire and describes it in a way that makes me want to move there, and also appreciates other parts of England and Europe as well; and for the guaranteed happy ending, not always a given in other types of fiction.

A Breath of Fresh Air starts with th
...more
Parveen Harnam
Jan 15, 2015 Parveen Harnam rated it liked it
Simple read. It's not too bad, although I do have to say that there are far too many characters. Yes, the many characters did confuse me, but, there was a loveliness to it, like they were all my friends, for the short while that I was reading the book. I like the realism of it, quite true to life, for what one would consider "chick-lit". Barry, the studious boy in the book was my favourite character, except for the religious aspect added on that I thought was very unnecessary. It felt a bit off. ...more
Arlie
Apr 15, 2010 Arlie rated it did not like it
Shelves: fluff-reads
I felt the need for a light and happy read as I'm currently in the midst of Dickens and Salman Rushdie. I also seem to be spending a lot of time waiting in places, so that felt like another good reason for an easy book. James' writing is fine - she captures conversation well and gives interesting little details on characters. In many ways, the book reminded me of Maeve Binchy. There's nothing overly bad about it, it's just that it's not really good. However, I got my happy ending, and I really d ...more
Leasha
Apr 22, 2015 Leasha rated it liked it
Really enjoyed reading this! The book was funny, sweet and really drew me in from the start. I love books about small towns and all the different kinds of characters you can find within each. You learn about many different people who come together to create a story about acceptance, moving on and relationships. I was particularily interested in Iris, the grumpy old woman. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a light spring/summery book to eascape to.
Debby
Apr 28, 2012 Debby rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
When Charlotte Lawrence's husband is killed in an auto crash just after she requested a divorce, she returns to her English home from Brussels. Determined to run her own life for a change, she immediately causes the rumor mill to go into action. Gradually she comes to terms with her guilt and her new life thanks to her tenant. Another interesting look at small town England and various family dynamics. Not fabulous but an enjoyable women's fiction book - really a 3.5.
Sue
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it
Charlotte loses her husband and buys a house in the small village where her sister lives. Romance blooms, perhaps inevitably. Good plot and sub-plots, likeable people on the whole. I found the minor characters a bit stereotyped, but it helped to keep them memorable. A pleasant light read with a fairly predictable ending.

First read in 2000. I enjoyed it on re-reading too, having entirely forgotten what the book was about.
Maureen Vincent-Northam
Nov 01, 2010 Maureen Vincent-Northam rated it really liked it
Shortly after Charlotte Lawrence asks her husband for a divorce, he's killed in an accident. She decides to move from Brussels and buys a place in the English village of her childhood where she acquires Alex, a sitting tenant. We know, of course, that they'll end up together but the twists and turns of their journey made for a good, often witty, read.
The Cats Mother
Gentle english chook-lit about a woman whose husband dies in an accident soon after she asks him for a divorce. She moves back to her home village and spends the rest of the book avoiding hooking up with the sexy neighbour, while the peripheral characters misbehave but all turn out all right in the end.
Gemma
Jan 21, 2011 Gemma rated it really liked it
enjoyed this book but did really like it just got started then finished, was gutted when I got to the end wanted to read more....l did know not when I finished it that there was a follow on. But was very please when I not only discovered that there was follow on but I also had it sat in my little pile of books to read very glad I picked this one to read first and not Time for a Change.
Nicki
It was very predictable, but it was fun. Erica James is very good at creating real characters that you recognise as either yourself or someone you known or know. This is her first novel from 1996 and she has definitely got better as the years have past. This is a esy book to read when you need something light and fun.
Emma Moss
Feb 05, 2014 Emma Moss rated it it was amazing
A slightly slow start but a good, interesting read the further I got in to the book. A good balance of strong interesting characters that I grew to enjoy the more I read. Twists and turns kept it interesting without the unrealistic dramatics of some novels.
Terri Edwards
Jun 15, 2015 Terri Edwards rated it it was ok
Meh. Didn't finish this one. I liked the writing style just fine and the plot would've been good but, affairs left and right, very shallow characters; I honestly didn't like any of them, except the male love interest. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to keep me reading.
Jacqueline
Sep 18, 2011 Jacqueline rated it it was ok
not the best Erica James I'm afraid. There were several other characters that were described in some detail and then dropped from the story altogether - not entirely sure why they were there in the first place. Much preferred Paradise House.
Emma Mcdougall
Jan 05, 2014 Emma Mcdougall rated it did not like it
I have no problem with "Chick Lit" it's more that many of them are written to such a formula and almost demand that we reduce our intelligence for the entirety of our journey into them. Easy, uninspiring read.
Jennifer
May 21, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves, favorites
Time and time again I read this book, and I am always gripped and completely involved within the first chapter. It is such a brilliant duvet book! Emotional yet comforting, you must read in times of stress and anxiety...or any other times!
Glyn Smith-Wild
Not terribly impressed. I know it's more a woman's read than a man's, but it did not draw me in. I like a book with a few peaks and troughs (not too many of the latter) but this gave me neither. A good enough storyline, but lacking, I felt, in drama.
Bev Walkling
Oct 11, 2012 Bev Walkling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I found this book an enjoyable light read, a romance but not a sappy one.
Gloria
Aug 16, 2012 Gloria added it
Just started the book today... will keep you posted on my thoughts of this book. I paid 99 cents for the book... not bad alittle slow at times... but enjoyed the book...
Ayesha
Mar 21, 2013 Ayesha rated it really liked it
One of Interesting Book....
Sarah
Jan 21, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-hardcopies
Very English
Bernie Morris
Oct 05, 2016 Bernie Morris rated it it was amazing
Another great chick lit from Erica James. Thoroughly enjoyed.
Jules
May 02, 2013 Jules rated it liked it
This was an OK read.
Lora
Nov 26, 2011 Lora rated it it was amazing
Favorite books of 1999...
Sandrawieman
Jan 07, 2014 Sandrawieman rated it did not like it
Boring
Lisa
Jan 05, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it
nice simple read.
Virginia
Jan 03, 2012 Virginia rated it liked it
Not the best Erica James, a nice easy "cottage style" romance with no surprises but a good read.
Julie Tombs
Jul 20, 2014 Julie Tombs rated it really liked it
I love Erica James novels and this is no exception. Brilliant story and great characterisation and a very easy read.
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With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.

T
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