Afternoon lovelies.  I hope you’re all looking forward to the weekend! Earlier this week I did a spotlight on A Family Affair by Julie Houston, and today I’m bringing you my review of this heartwarming story of secrets, love, heartbreak, running away and family.


Title: A Family Affair
Author: Julie Houston
Estimated page count: 356
Formats available: Paperback and eBook.  Available on Kindle Unlimited
Publisher: Aria (3 Jun. 2021)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…

Perfect for fans of Heidi Swain, Milly Johnson and Marian Keyes.

Purchase links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Kobo ~ Google Play ~ iBooks


my thoughts

When Frankie is called back from her travels in Italy to her small home town in Yorkshire, she isn’t expecting the news that she’s wanted to join the family business.  Having run away after having her heart broken two years earlier, returning could go one of two ways.  But she realises that she’s missed her family and friends and is looking forward to taking up her position in the business.

Be back with her best friend Daisy and her Aunty Pam, brings a new confidence to her and she’s determined to do well.  But when things start going well a curve ball is thrown at her and she has to face things that could be the end to her new confident self, and new life.  Can she face up to them? Will she be successful in business? And ultimately, will she ever find true happiness?

This story had so many lovely elements to it.  With Frankie coming from a big Sicilian family, it was wonderful seeing the family dynamics, although some are definitely questionable (especially in the early years!).  Her Mum is something else, and in comparison her Aunty Pam is wonderful! A caring, loving and somewhat wild lady who has sacrificed quite a lot over time for her family.  I loved her and just wanted her to be truly happy after everything she’d been through.  Frankie is also a fantastic character – at times I wanted to give her a big hug, at others a kick up the bum and a stern telling off!  There are some other wonderful characters in this, one’s your will automatically fall in love with, some will grow on you and others you won’t want to like, but will!

Mainly set in the factory in the village and in the little cottage Frankie lives in, the setting felt really cosy.  With bee hives in the countryside, cycle routes and lots of greenery, it kind of welcomes you in.  There is also a lot of food in this, particularly Italian food and if you’re a foodie you will love this! Make sure you have some biscuits ready for when it makes your stomach rumble!

The story is told from the two different characters – Frankie and (Aunty) Pam, and flits between the past and the present.  We learn what Frankie has been through and the cause of her heartbreak, Pam’s teenage years, growing up and what she went through and sacrificed, and where they both are in the present.  There are a few things that you won’t see coming and I loved each and every one of them.

So if you’re looking for a heartwarming read that will give you equal doses of family, love, sacrifice and heartbreak, and will also have you backing these two wonderful women, then this is for you.


Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

Where to find Julie online: Twitter | @JulieHouston2 ~ Facebook | @JulieHoustonauthor ~ Instagram | @juliehoustonauthor

Thanks to Vicky at Aria & Head of Zeus for inviting me on to the tour, and to the author, Aria and NetGalley for my copy of the book.  

Follow Head of Zeus: Twitter | @HoZ_Books ~ Instagram | @headofzeus ~ Facebook | Head of Zeus ~ Website

Have a wonderful evening

Chelle x

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