Sharon Booth is one of the few authors I read who can take an unlikeable character and turn them around. In this case, I despised Emerald at the beginning of the book; she's an entitled brat who's lazy and mean. By the ending, I can't say I liked her much better, but I did understand her and was willing to forgive her for her actions.
Emerald is the middle child of Cain Carmichael, an aging rock star in the mode of Bill Nighy in Love Actually. Cain hasn't had much contact with Emerald over the years, and quite frankly doesn't know what to do with her when she shows up at his youngest daughter's wedding (Honey and Teddy from This Other Eden, the first book in the series). He pawns her off as a wedding planner on Eden and Eliot who are trying to fit a wedding of their own into their busy lives.
All the Skimmerdale characters show up in the book; the story is about so much more than Emerald. While Emerald causes a lot of trouble, all sorts of other goings-on are fracturing relationships and building new ones. Ms. Booth creates the most authentic characters. For example, while Eden can be very understanding and patient (she's sometimes known at Saint Eden), when she blows it's spectacular. Life on a sheep farm can be stressful, even in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, but there's plenty of love and new beginnings here also. The children are adorable, Cain is hysterically funny, James finally gets his comeuppance, and even Emerald grows up. As an aside, as someone who just recently hiked through Yorkshire, I loved the parts about the bunk barns and the walkers.
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