Full English by Rachel SpanglerFull English by Rachel Spangler is a story that highlights how sometimes we have to run towards the unknown to truly find what makes us smile again.

Best-selling author Emma Volant has suffered a humiliating divorce at the hands of her ex. Devastated by the turn events, she decides to run away and hide in the seaside English village of Amberwick.  She doesn’t know another living soul, and that’s alright by Emma. Not knowing people will allow her to surrender to her broken heart in private, and heal on her own terms. That is what she hopes to do. But the locals of Amberwick have other ideas.

Brogan McKay was born and raised in Amberwick and has built a comfortable life. Part-time jobs and short-term flings have always been good enough for her. When Emma moves into the cottage down the street, the locals gather at the pub to hatch a plan to draw Emma out of her self-imposed isolation. And, being the only other lesbian in town, Brogan eventually gets roped into their schemes. At first, Brogan doesn’t want to have anything to do with the towns people’s ideas. But when she meets the beautiful and wounded newest arrival, Brogan realizes Emma has the potential to wreck her carefully controlled expectations.

Despite their growing attraction, both Emma and Brogan are in firm agreement that neither of them is in a position to look for love and decide to remain friends. Their hearts, however, have other ideas. Ideas that are more in line with towns people than themselves. Will Brogan and Emma surrender to their fears? Or will they be able to create a full English love story?

The Characters

What I love about these characters is their reliance on each other to heal their hearts.

Emma’s comes to Amberwick after a humiliating divorce.  She’s broken, and mending her heart is going to be a slow process that involves dealing with the pain and coming to terms with the catalyst events. Luckily, Emma has a village of people that have no qualms to help her along the way.

Brogan is Amberwick through and through. She loves the village, loves her family, and loves how uncomplicated life is for her. However, Brogan is guarding her heart as much as Emma, yet for entirely different motives. Brogan’s staple as the only lesbian in town has given her a reputation with the townspeople, who have watched her galivant with vacationing women who are looking for ‘Ms. Right Now,’ not ‘Ms. Right.’ Brogan plays it off, saying she’s not looking for anything long term, but even she can’t lie to herself. She wants what the majority of her family has – a spouse, kids, the love and support of a lifetime companion. It’s something that has alluded her, but something she desires immensely.

When Brogan meets Emma, she’s not looking to make the moves on the only other lesbian in town. She just wants to make her smile. Through sailing, road trips, and fancy gardening, Brogan is able to keep Emma smiling more and more. And in doing so, she’s giving Emma permission to heal. It’s what makes Brogan a good friend, and, hopefully, a better girlfriend.

The Writing Style

The pace of this story is deceptive, and I love it. Spangler gives us a story that spans months without feeling rushed. In doing so, we’re able to savor the development of Brogan and Emma’s relationship from friends to lovers. In addition, she allows us to truly enjoy the beauty that is Amberwick. By seeing all the village has to offer, you truly see how important it is to Emma and Brogan’s developing romance.

The Pros

What I truly loved about this story was its ability to make me feel relaxed. I felt at ease when I read this story. I savored the scenery, the people, and the beauty that went into telling Brogan and Emma’s tale. It made for a nice change of pace from the hustle that has become my life, and had me looking forward to a nice relaxing evening with Amberwick and a cup of coffee.

The Cons

I don’t have any money to go to England, and I really want to now.

annas favourite booksThe Conclusion

This was such a good read. Spangler really captures the essence and beauty that is around us in the world, even in the places we never expect to find them. I invite you take a trip to Amberwick. Enjoy the local flare, the people, and the love story that take place within this quaint little village.

Excerpt from Full English by Rachel Spangler

Emma let her eyes wander over the stunning landscape before her, the azure sea, the golden strip of beach rising in verdant dunes, and for the first time thoughts of her grandmother weren’t accompanied by a wave of sadness. “It’s beautiful out here.”

Brogan nodded and looked over her shoulder. “Not a bad view of the village, is it?”

She looked at the outline of stone buildings with red and brown roofs atop a rise, all peaked and angles with a church spire to keep watch over them all. “You have a gift for understatement.”

“I’m sure you’ve been a lot more places than I have and seen a lot more amazing things.”

“I have been able to travel a bit,” she admitted. “My work has opened a lot of doors, but I’m not sure any of them has anything prettier than this.”

Brogan looked down as if she’d found something important to do with the steering handle on the outboard motor, but Emma liked the way the corners of her mouth twitched up with pleasure.

“My grandmother used to tell me stories about this place,” Emma continued. “As a little girl, I thought it must be the most magical spot on earth, but as an adult, I’d started to wonder if she’d embellished her descriptions, either for my benefit or her own.”

“And?” Brogan asked, rising to fiddle with some ropes near the mast. “Did she?”

“Not a bit,” Emma said, with a rush of affection, both for the place and the woman who’d loved it. “Not the views anyway. Or the colors, or the way the buildings stagger and stutter-step toward the sea.”

Brogan finished loosening a knot, then turned to face her, green eyes flecked with hope and a hint of mischief. “What about the magic?”

The question lodged in her chest, or maybe it wasn’t the words that made it hard to draw a full breath so much as the way in which they were delivered, or the person who delivered them. Either way, Emma couldn’t find the air or the wherewithal to answer right away. Instead she looked out to sea, over the azure expanse, toward an island in the distance until the words came to her. “I thought I’d found some magic a long time ago, but I was wrong, or maybe I was unworthy, so I’m not sure I’ve even been looking for it lately.”

“But you still believe it exists?” Brogan asked quietly.

Emma pondered the question, still watching the water, and the jagged point of gray rock jutting isolated and proud out of the vast, shimmering plane. “I think I have to believe in magic. I’m not sure I could trust myself if I didn’t.”

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