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Stately Pursuits

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,737 ratings  ·  211 reviews
'I don't suppose you'd care to house-sit for a while...'

Hetty Longden's mother thinks that looking after Great Uncle Samuel's crumbling stately home will be just the thing for Hetty's broken heart. Hetty doesn't mind; at least she can be miserable in private. But 'private' is a relative term in a village which revolves around the big house. Particularly when you are expect
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Arrow (first published 1997)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,737 ratings  ·  211 reviews


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Jacob Proffitt
Jul 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
This had kind of a slow, mostly chick-lit start which I found interesting. Initially. I liked the manor and the community and I thought Hetty was engaging. What I found increasingly hard to understand was her relationship with Connor. I mean, he's completely awful and yeah, she's stuck with him because he has more right to inhabit the house than she does, technically speaking. So she can't exactly shut him out or avoid him completely. But he's mean and angry and his goals are diametrically oppos ...more
Olga Godim
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Sometimes, I open one book after another, old favorites or new novels, and nothing works. Yesterday was one of those days. I couldn’t get into one book – a good mystery – and closed it after a few chapters. Started another – a new fantasy I’ve been waiting for – and couldn’t read past chapter three. I’ll return to them both but I wanted something light and fluffy, charming and mindless, and I found it all in this book. I finished it in one sitting, read it all night and enjoyed it. I smiled almo ...more
Mulva?
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't think it was "amazing", but I really liked it a lot. Probably the best Fforde book so far... and I've read most all of them.
Still... the story was the same old, same old,
I have have house...
I need to fix it...
There's a big, gruff, hot, angry man...
We fight a lot....
Guess it's love.
hahaha!
Casey Rock
Aug 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A great weekend read! So much fun and totally romantic. Makes you want to start a new life project and learn something unfamiliar.
Audrey Stark
May 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: avoid
This book was so promising! I loved the idea of a novel about a woman fixing up an old house and her life along with it. Then romance happened! It was horribly chliched, I felt embarrassed at parts because it was so awful. In addition to the strange format of the book, I could not stand to watch as the protagonist's impression of the antagonist changed. It was unbearable. I knew what would happen, it did, and I nearly threw the book across the room because I could not shake the unfavourable impr ...more
Katie
This was fun! It was what I wanted out of the book. Old fashioned chick lit. Fun side characters, good community stuff, and a nice romance.

Also fulfills "Forced Proximity" for Ripped Bodice bingo.
Rachel Gilbey
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I was able to treat myself to one of Katie Fforde's huge back catalogue of books, and I'm glad the opportunity finally presented itself. However I can't help but think I would have enjoyed it even more had I read it when it was first printed, instead, of many years laters, after having read her later books which do get better and better by the book.

Unfortunately some of the slight problems I had with this book, were nothing to do with the content itself, but that I had w
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Cathleen
It was better than average romantic fiction because Katie Fforde creates a very likable main character in Hetty, and the setting is nicely realized. As others have written, the plot is predictable, and all the loose bits are happily tied up at the end. My guess is that Fforde has been heavily influenced by Jane Austen; the novel recalls the misunderstandings and misperceptions, the character types of a Jane Austen novel--the smart, independent young woman, the haughty but appealing man, the bevy ...more
Hayley Noble


I have read this book quite a few times, but I feel a bit like it should be more adult for its market. I love the tension between Hetty and 'Conan the barbarian' and it kept me glued and made the book impossible to put down. I also loved the fight to keep the house in order. However a lot of talk about virginity and safe sex made me feel like I was back doing sex ed at school, and made the more racier Scenes a bit unrealistic.
Mary Pessaran
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the setting of this book and I liked the main characters. Very important in a romance to like the main character. I did have an issue with Hetty's boss/beau breaking up with her by allowing her to find him in bed with another woman. (not really a spoiler because it happens so early in the book). It seemed unusually cruel and not believable. It was probably a device to gain sympathy for Hetty, but, as readers, we don't want to have to suspend disbelief too much. I guess my other issue w ...more
Tea Leaves and Reads
Great for a summer read - not too heavy, easy going, likeable characters - what more is there to say?!
Laura
Sep 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Predictable, light fun. A notch up from your typical romance novel, since the setting (as in all of Fforde's novels) is nicely realized, and the characters are about more than just the romantic relationship. And it takes place in England! (Sorry, just my personal, Anglophilic axe to grind.)

Good for very fluffy summer reading, or when you need a break from heavier stuff, or when escapism is desperately in order.
Haley
Jul 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Haley by: Ariane
This was the first book in a long time that I read just for fun! I love Katie Fforde because she writes cute, clean romances. This book was probably one of my favorites because of the story line, but I was disappointed that it wasn't as clean as her other books. This is one of her earlier books, and apparently they aren't as clean as her later books.
Amy
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Really didn't like the love interest in this one - I get liking the gruff/silent but strong type, but this guy has lousy communication skills and insults the heroine without ever apologizing to her later. So much of romance is about escapism, and by escapism I mean putting yourself into that story, and I wouldn't like to be talked to or treated like that.
Neenee
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-2014, big-bad-wolf
Needed some fluff in this awful weather.
Thank you, Katie Fforde. I enjoyed this thoroughly.
Ririn
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Rachael
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annette
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read at least one Katie Fforde book. Because I believe everyone needs to be able to laugh out loud while they read.

Hetty has fallen in love with her boss and they are in the midst of an affair. She is dreaming of marriage. That is until she is bringing his favorite food to his home and she finds him in bed with a lovely blond woman. He had planned this encounter because he did not want to actually tell her they were through.

Hetty is a mild mannered woman who hates confrontation,
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Artemisa
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, romance
This book was a book market finding. I was in London and only took 1 book with me (Christmas Carroll,by Dickens) and my tablet decided it would not charge with the charger I had with me, so if I wanted to read something else I had to buy it.
One day I was going to meet with some friends for a food festival, and it was on the South bank of London, and I remembered about the book market under Waterloo bridge.
I was checking row after row of books, some looked promising, but nothing seemed to hit th
...more
Heleen
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly why I fell in love with Katie Fforde - or her writing, to be exact.
All the characters had exactly that; meaning that they weren't flat. There were enough to go around, but no one was superfluous. And everyone acted according to their characteristics. And characters that are there to fill in one purpose in a specific scene are very well introduced in ways such as: "... Who's name Hetty couldn't remember". A perfect way to make a scene without having to introduce mor
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Tali
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
Noticing a pattern now with Katie Fforde books that I actually love the older novels a lot more than the newer ones, even though I've been reading them the wrong way round. Anyway, I really enjoyed this novel. It's not too heavy going, but there is actually some plot with depth to go along with all the lightheartedness. As with Thyme Out, this novel develops the main character a lot more than just young, single woman with interfering mother and, unusually for Fforde, we're actually introduced to ...more
Stephanie
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a light read who is willing to wait a little before getting into the story
Recommended to Stephanie by: Mother
Shelves: books-i-own
Katie Fforde does an excellent job with this story line. Though it takes a little to get into the story, the way Hetty is portrayed it very well done. Her writing is clear and easy to understand and once into the story it is hard to put it down.

The interaction between the two main characters is believable and how they don't like each other from the start is a great distraction of what is really going on between the two.

The minor characters all play a role within this story that contributes nice
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Michele
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a fun & light book about a young woman (Hetty) who is recruited to house-sit an old, historic country house for an elderly uncle who has to go undergo surgery. The uncle's heir (Connor), a civil engineer who is often out of the country for his job, is the other main character. Hetty falls in love with the house and attempting to restore it gives her a new purpose in life after being heartbroken by a relationship that ended badly. Connor, who knows that the house could be the financi ...more
Reggie
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wasn't sure what to expect, I don't often read chick-lit. I didn't think it was going to hold my attention. I borrowed it online as an audiobook because I needed something to listen to while bored at work... I ended up really loving it. **SLIGHT Spoiler alert** It has a Pride & Prejudice/ Bridget Jones-ish parallel when it comes to the romantic storyline. I picture a Clive Owen type for Connor and Déborah François from the French movie Populaire as Hetty... It was a fun read. Would like to r ...more
Bev Taylor
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
just the thing for a broken heart .... ?

hetty has just left her cheating boyfriend - who happened to be her boss - and is out of a job

then her mother asks if she would house sit great uncle samuel's crumbling mansion whilst he is in hospital. having nothing better to do she agrees

yes,m it is falling around her ears and even worse it has to be open for the public at easter. has she bitten off more than she can chew?

added to this mix is a spiraling debt due to a loan and samuel's heir who is d
...more
T
Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars.
My first Katie Fforde book.
A light romance set in a small village in England. Hetty has just been dumped by her boyfriend, who is also her boss, and older than her. He dumped her in a most dramatic way, allowing her to find him with another woman. He's definitely a jerk.
Her mother sends her to a distant relatives estate in the small village to be a housesitter while he's had surgery. Hetty learns to love the village, and the home. She starts working to set the house in order to be
...more
Catriona
Sep 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Katie Fforde is likeable and fun to read. Hetty has no job, no boyfriend and no flat due to her boyfriend being foul enough to catch him in bed with another girl and so Hetty quits her job (Alastair worked at the same place she did) and so she cannot afford her flat so she flees home. Her mother finds a distant relative who needs help - Hetty can housesit his falling apart stately home.

Hetty loves the house and the community and she tries to help the house and the money problems to get it fixed
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Mindy
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A delightful, funny tale of true love and old English estates. Hetty begins the story as a naive girl in her first affair of the heart whose dreams and expectations are dashed away within minutes of the opening. Depressed and jobless she moves back home and is fairly promptly set up with a house-sitting gig for an old distant relation. The house is old and in bad need of repair; the owner is old and in bad need of funds to keep loan sharks at bay. Hetty falls in love with the house and decides s ...more
Ruth
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This is another fun read. Hetty devastated from being dumped by her boyfriend Alastair is asked by her mother to housesit for a distant relative who has to go to the hospital. The older man lives in a huge estate house that is crumbling around him and would take gobs of money to fix up. Hetty takes on the challenge of housesitting and begins to love the house. Enter, Samuel's nephew who is going to inherit the house when Samuel dies. He says that he doesn't have the money to repair the house and ...more
Marty
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
British book. Hetty Longden found her boyfriend in their bed with another woman .. end result: No boyfriend, no place to live in London, no job. After going back home and moping for awhile, she becomes the “house sitter” for her distant elderly uncle’s family estate while he is in the hospital. The old 1600 house, is in need of major repair, but is basically a marvelous old house and the center of things for the nearby village. The heir to the estate, now somewhere in Central Asia, thinks the pl ...more
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Catherine Rose Gordon-Cumming was born 27 September 1952 in England, UK, the daughter of Shirley Barbara Laub and Michael Willoughby Gordon-Cumming. Her grandfather was Sir William Gordon-Cumming. Her sister is fellow writer Jane Gordon-Cumming. Katie married Desmond Fforde, cousin of the also writer Jasper Fforde. She has three children: Guy, Francis and Briony and didn't start writing until afte ...more