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A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott
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A Rural Affair (edition 2012)

by Catherine Alliott

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793152,477 (3.64)8
Member:RobinBrz
Title:A Rural Affair
Authors:Catherine Alliott
Info:Sourcebooks Landmark (2012), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library, I tried, but couldn't finish
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A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott

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Poppy had imagined, in an abstract way, how it would feel if she were to become a widow. When her husband is suddenly struck by debris from a plane, she is actually relieved. When a woman comes to her door after the funeral, Poppy learns that her marriage was an even bigger sham than she thought and spirals downward. Thanks to her quirky friends and her loving father, Poppy receives more support and advice than she needs, but she figures everything out, finally, on her own.

Even with the downward spirals, Poppy continued to make me laugh as she made her way through her sudden status as a widow, single mom, and dating eligible men. ( )
  Hanneri | Mar 26, 2015 |
I have long been a fan of Catherine Alliott. I don't remember exactly how I discovered her books but I do know that I have been reading them so long that I used to have to buy them online from overseas and have them shipped here. And they were and are the kind of delightful Brit chick lit that made the extra effort well worth it. Alliott's latest, A Rural Affair, is the same kind of entertainment that her previous books were and as such was a fun and frothy way for me to spend a day.

Poppy Schilling is a married mother of two and if her marriage isn't perfect and her husband is demanding and distant, well whose life is everything she's ever dreamed? But Poppy isn't one to walk away from her less than fulfilling life. She just fantasizes sometimes about Phil the paragon's untimely death. So when she finds two men at her door telling her that Phil has in fact been killed while out on one of his incessant cycles, crushed by a chunk of frozen pee that detached itself from the underside of an overhead jet, well, she is understandably gobsmacked and maybe just a little bit relieved.

Poppy mourns more for the loss of a father for her children than she does for her husband, despite the fact that Phil was never much of a father for their kids anyway. As Poppy is trying to adjust to her new life, she starts getting more involved in the life of her bucolic little village, mainly at the behest of her worried friends, joining the local church choir, helping start a book club, and going out with the local hunt (each of these to generally hilarious effect). But when her doorbell rings and the woman standing there tells her that she was Phil's long-time mistress, it causes her to examine everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and Phil himself.

As a character, Poppy is kooky and often times off-balance. She is a complete klutz and gets herself into entertaining and giggle-worthy situations. The death of Phil and his stifling influence allows Poppy to spread her wings and be herself. As if she's not got enough on her own plate coming to terms with widowhood and the revelation of Phil's other life, she is a supportive and devoted friend and gets embroiled in her friends' complicated lives as well. Add to that a bit of a burgeoning crush on the solicitor handling Phil's will and you have the makings of a first-rate romantic comedy. The pacing is even and the pricking tension of what will happen with Phil's mistress contesting his will keeps the reader turning the pages as much as Poppy's embarrassing and crazy situations and the slight whiff of a potential romance do. Good fun all the way around and if the ending is a bit rushed and more than a little predictable, it is exactly the sort of ending the happy reader wants to see so it is entirely forgivable. ( )
  whitreidtan | Nov 12, 2012 |
Poppy Shilling has been fantasizing about killing off her prig of a husband for a while. His obsessive ways, constant put-downs, and absences from their children's activities have gotten Poppy fed up. Imagine her surprise when the constables come to the door to tell her that Phil has been killed by being smooshed with a frozen block of pee that fell from an airplane. Poppy tries hard to be properly sad and grieving but she is happy to move on with her life especially when she finds out that perfect Phil had feet of clay.
Poppy meets with Phil's solicitor to straighten out the will and finds herself somewhat drawn to the disorganized but attractive Sam Hetherington. As it turns out she will need Sam to help with more than the will after a young woman claims that she was Phil's lover for years and that he was leaving her a part of his estate. Poppy decides she is going to start getting involved in activities and joins the local church choir and the world's worst book club. There is also a fairly interesting hunt club section that had both humor and sadness. Poppy moves forward with a few missteps but keeps plugging along.
I liked all of the everyday life that went on in this book. Poppy has enough on her plate to sort out her own life but she still manages to get involved in her friend Jenny's marriage, her other friend's acrimonious divorce, and other assorted girlfriend problems. Along the way, she picks up a young admirer who might put Sam out of her head. The characters were fun and made the plot enjoyable. Like a lot of the Brit-lit I have read, there is a lot going on throughout the book and it is sometimes hard to keep up with who is who but it all works together in the long run. Ms. Alliott is a new author to me and I ended up buying two of her other books after reading this one. ( )
  SharonR53 | Mar 2, 2012 |
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Newly widowed Poppy Shilling should be feeling distraught at the death of her husband, Phil. But, in fact, she can't help feeling relieved. No longer will she have to endure Phil's iron fist ruling over her and their two young children, or his unfortunate penchant for lycra cycling-wear.… (more)

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