The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

A brilliant, poignant and heartwarming story that made me smile and moved at the same time.
It's the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last as Ms Ashton is a talented storyteller.
The cast of characters is well thought and interesting, the story flows and keeps you hooked, the setting was vividly described.
It was an excellent read, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Juliet Ashton is one of my favourite authors so I couldn’t wait for her latest book and this certainly doesn’t disappoint! 

The book is set around Cherry Blossom Mews and told through the eyes of Sadie, who is recovering from a tragedy. Sadie is surrounded by the other residents of the mews who have formed a family of sorts, all of whom are on a journey of their own. A surprising twist changes Sadie’s life forever. Warm and uplifting, it’s a great case study of relationships. 

This story is full of laughter and joy but some tearful moments as well. Easy to read, the writing just flows naturally, it’s a true escape from real life that is definitely worth a read!
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If your favoured reading material is a compelling tale with a good sprinkling of relationships, imperfection, hope, secrets and humour then The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton is a must-read for you!

Sadie McQueen lives on Cherry Blossom Mews, an unassuming street in a corner of London. She attends weekly Residents’ Association meetings for support, to share news and a natter, and through Sadie, the reader gets to know more about Sadie herself and the other characters in the story. 

From the outset there was so much happening in this wonderful tale of friendship, guilt, grief, happiness and life! At times, this was a very empowering and hopeful read that was full of strength and a keen sense of humanity. On the flip side, it was quite a difficult book regarding the deep rooted discussions and serious topics it contained, as well as the way in which many of the characters had been deceived. The story-line was a perfect cocktail of different courses and characters that blended naturally to create a heartwarming, powerful story.  

I was totally smitten with this book. Juliet Ashton instantly drew me in with her thoughtful and exceptional writing. The story-line and plot were both highly intriguing and extremely emotional. There was a whole raft of characters that Sadie encountered who helped to support her as she as she gradually came to accept herself, her experiences and traumas. The story was witty and amusing in parts and the serious issues were tackled with empathy and compassion.

Although one or two of the scenarios necessitated the suspension of disbelief, the characters were all wonderfully solid and and I felt like I had met them all personally. The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is my first by Juliet Ashton and there was no room for repetitiveness or boredom here! 

I recommend this novel without a flicker of hesitation, so don’t miss out!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Simon and Schuster UK via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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A really lovely story about a small community of individuals who regularly meet for the residents meetings . They are a mixed assortment of individuals and there are some heartbreaking and humorous stories of them all . This is such a lovely read and you will be left feeling satisfied once you have finished
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This was a lovely read. Uplifting, warm and full of human kindness. This is a novel about community and is structured around the monthly resident’s meeting. Our main character, Sadie, lives on Cherry Tree Mews. It’s not the best area, but it’s a safe space that Sadie really values and we begin to understand why when we learn more about her past. She seems to carry a sense of loss and a terrible weight of guilt. 

It’s when Hero comes into her world that we start to see more of why Sadie feels this way. One of the major issues the community faces is the possible siting of an addiction recovery centre in the area. Residents are largely against the scheme, but when Hero comes along and talks about its benefits, their opinion starts to change. It’s clear that Hero and Sadie have a connection, but she tries to avoid it at first. Maybe, because she realises it might force her to open up. Hero confides in her about his marriage to Zizzi and their twelve year old boy, Hero has always wanted to make a difference, but Zizzi was a social media star who wanted fame and money. They became incompatible. Slowly, Sadie starts to open up about her past and finds she feels lighter. 

This book isn’t just about romance though, it’s about how very diverse people can come together and form a community, even friendships that can be just as strong as family. In a time where people seem increasingly polarised, it was refreshing to read about people finding common bonds and supporting one another.
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Well Juliet Ashton really likes to put her characters through it in her novels, she throws everything she has at them and this book is no exception. 



Sadie is such a complex main character. She has a troubled past and a positive present and she is such a solid part of her community. I loved what she tried to make happen in her little corner of the world and I also really respected where she had come from. There really is so much that has gone on in Sadie's past in so many ways that it is a surprise to us all she is living the life she is living. I love the storyline that this author wrote for Sadie and I really feel like I knew her as a real person by the end of this book.



This book has a whole host of side characters too, this is a really big cast and they really do each get their own slice of the pie when it comes to plot points. Each of them is well-developed and has their own drama going on either in their present or in their past. The trouble was, I was so invested in finding out about Sadie's past and her life that I didn't love the side plot as much as I should have done. I saw it a bit more as a distraction than as an enhancement to her world. I liked the little bit of romance that we had going on and the friendship but I didn't feel as invested in these other characters the same way as I felt invested in the main storyline. 



This book tackles some big issues and there are definitely some care warnings for domestic abuse, substance abuse and death that come with this book. This is not an issues based book though and I really feel like the substance abuse is dealt with really well over the course of the novel. If you love reading very character driven novels then this book is for you.
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The Fall And Rise Of Sadie McQueen is a book from a genre I don’t really read a lot from, preferring a good thriller but this book snared me in with its quirky characters and the ups and downs of the main character, Sadie’s life.
I liked the layout of this book, at the start of each chapter is an email stating the weekly agenda for the Cherry Blossom Mews Residents Meeting, this was a good way of getting to know the residents and ensuring you didn’t forget them. All the residents are great characters in their own rights and that made this a better read because the characters were all different and were very well developed.
Although this was a predictable read it was a great read getting there and at times it’s not quite the light hearted read I had it down for.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Simon and Schuster UK for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
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Sadie McQueen lives on Cherry Blossom Mews, in a community that – you quickly start to learn – is made up of people that are in troubles, have problems, tragic pasts, feel no hope, and even if they don’t realise this, the landlord of the mews has realised it and amassed all those lost souls together. The residents meet regularly at their association meetings where they are supposed to have an “agenda” but the meetings always end with gossip and exchanging news. They support each other incredibly, even if they do this without knowing this.
The little community means everything to Sadie. It is a place where she can heal her heart and start her life again after a tragic event in the past. She sets up Sakura, a spa, where she employs the incredibly honest and mouthy Fi and, even if she isn’t sure if it’s a good move, Cher, a sister to the local mafia – twins. And then U – Turn, a therapy centre for addicted moves to the mews, even with some opposition from the neighbours, and there is Hero, and Sadie has a chance to move with him, to come out of her shell, maybe even find love, but can she forgive herself for what has happened in the past?

It is really, really hard to write review for this book, I actually put it off for the last moment, a day or two before my stop on the blog tour, and the reason for this is very obvious – this book is so wonderful, this book is everything, this book is a gem of a read – what more can I say? I loved it from the beginning to the end, lived and breathed with the characters and yes, it left me in pieces but also feeling so positive.

Juliet Ashton can for sure write her characters, giving them incredibly huge personalities. The banter and interactions between them feel so real, raw and genuine. There is a whole eclectic bunch of them, all so different and with different personalities but all with strong, distinctive voices and you can’t help but immediately fell in love with all of them. Amber and her Yummy Mummy Cafe and Party Emporium, serving all things vegan and showing her perfect live on Instagram. Bob and Mrs. Bob with their cafe, Mary with the dogs, slowly learning about her family betrayal and regaining hope, running officially MOBuk charity shop and, unofficially, another charity that you’re going to learn about when you read the book, Hero with his broken marriage and privileged background, Cher and her notorious criminal twins, Michael with Qwerty bookshop, Fi, feisty, quirky and strong on the outside but so vulnerable inside. And there are some other characters, that I won’t mention but that are so important and significant to the plot – all of them were endearing, all of them broken, all of them needing each other and , deliberately or not, healing each other through their acceptance, friendship and compassion.
And Sadie, who is at the heart of this book, so brave and strong. The more I read, the more I loved this woman, my heart went to her. There were things in the past she’d rather forget, and honestly, if I were Sadie, I’m not sure I’d have enough strength and determination to get back up and try again. She, on the other hand, lost herself to find herself afresh, went where nobody knew her to build a new life for herself. I wished all the best for her, and seeing her coming across every new obstacle that life has been throwing her way, I wanted to give her a standing ovation. Learning about the horrors of her past and her losses helped to understand her wanting to be anonymous, not being able to open to new love, her terrible guilt but also it made me wish desperately that she’s going to find the highly deserved peace.

Each chapter starts with the invitation to the weekly Cherry Blossom Mews Residents Association meeting, and the more you read, the more you start to appreciate them, as they brilliantly capture the nature of the hosts. The meetings themselves are incredibly entertaining, fabulous parts of the book, where more gossip was shared than actual work done but there was so much heart in those meetings! And they actually tell the real stories of the characters, sharing their illnesses, betrayal, deaths, addictions and hopes, while dealt with empathy and understanding from the other residents, showing that also a community of generally strangers can be closer to you than your family. But of course, there are also things happening between the meetings, things that will make you smile, laugh, cry and start to believe that there is hope.

The book is full of poignant moments that are brilliantly written with humour added to them. It’s not too saccharine, not all sugar, and there isn’t always a happy end, and the balance between sad and funny, happy and heartbreak is absolutely perfectly measured. Sure, there were things that were too coincidental, and some that didn’t ring so true to me – though I don’t want to tell you what exactly it was, as I’m immediately going to spoil one of the biggest turns in the story – but really, everything happens for a reason, right, and it did work in this story perfectly well, as the plot was solid, thoughtful, well concocted and believable, even with the little hiccups.

“The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen” was a heart – breaking and heart – mending beautiful story about small community, about friendship, hope, love, loss and grief, filled with secrets, lies and misunderstandings, about finding support and friendship that is stronger than any other bonds. The author, as usual, touches upon many serious issues, she writes about alcoholism, abuse, addictions, social media but she writes with tons of understanding, without judging, giving us a wider spectrum. It’s a gorgeously written book and the characters were full of life, feelings and sentiments, being able to speak about emotions in a way I wasn’t even sure is possible. It shows life how it is, raw and brutal, full of surprises and twists that don’t always lead to happy ends. The book, the characters are going to stay with me for a long time, I will be recommending this book left and right – it’s a MUST read that deserves to be shouted about from the rooftops.
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I feel so sorry for any books I read after this one as Sadie McQueen is going to be a tough act to follow! This was incredible!!!!! Emotional, humourous, romantic, dynamic, relatable....honestly, it had everything I could have wanted from a book and more. I was gutted when it finished.

Everyone who lives in Cherry Blossom Mews has a unique story to tell. If you sat down with any one of the residents, you'll end up finding out much more than you bargained for. However, despite all of the individual heartache, despair, uncertainty and what not, every single resident has one thing in common; they want to belong.

Sadie McQueen is the main character of the book, and her story had my jaw hitting the floor in shock. How one person can pull themselves through what she did is just incredible. She doesnt see how strong she is, but, given the truth of her past, can you really blame her?

Family (both blood and self picked) is at the heart of this storyline. Juliet Ashton doesnt say that every family is perfect and without problems, nor does she suggest that every family can rival the ones on Eastenders, instead the author has made her characters relatable. She has made them endure things that one of us could relate, empathise with, acknowledge, or even learn from. You never know the full truth of what someone else is dealing with unless they come out and tell you themselves, and this book highlights that fact, and the way that people are so quick to come to their own conclusions, absolutely beautifully.

At times, #SadieMcQueen was quite a difficult book to read in terms of the deep rooted discussions, serious topics, and the way in which many of the characters had been deceived. On the other side of the coin, Sadie McQueen was also empowering, hopeful, full of strength. In other words, the storyline had the right mix of paths, and it all came together to create such a powerful story that warmed my heart.

I could sit here and say what all of the characters had gone through, but I won't because, even if I did drop hints, it would take the shine away from the authors hard work. I'm basically saying to you that spoilers suck!

I absolutely adored finding out about all the different walks of life in the Mews, and I just loved the strength of the community spirit and the way spirit everyone came together to help one of their own. It didn't seem to matter whether Fi was going through hard times herself, she would still be there for her best friend, Sadie, should she need her and visa versa.

The best part of the book for me, was the way in which Juliet Ashton came alive in her storytelling. I could feel the emotion behind the words when it was needed, yet I could also feel the elation and hope fulness too.

I truly couldn't have asked for anything more from 'The Rise and Fall of Sadie McQueen' - it's a story that has truly captured my heart and soul and, if I may say so, is probably the best book that Juliet Ashton has written so far.

What an empowering, insightful, emotional and spellbinding way to start the New Year. Juliet Ashton, you have done Sadie and co, proud. This was magnificent! 

Ps. Is it too early to read it again?!
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Sadie intrigued me from the beginning. I wanted to know more about her guilt from three years ago and what motivated her. The clues are really well timed and by the time we know the whole story, I had so much love for her (I must admit I made some assumptions in the beginning which were way out). Although she’s vulnerable I thought she had so much strength.

The characters’ idiosyncrasies come into play at the weekly Residents’ Association meetings and through Sadie, we get to know more about them throughout the week. The timing of new characters is perfect and add even more colour to their lives.

I really enjoyed Juliet Ashton’s writing style. For instance:

“  the family ties so slack they trailed on the floor.”

“You must be super fit by now, all the jumping to conclusions you do.”

I enjoyed the dry wit and humour which balances out the heartbreak of the theme.

When I found myself getting comfortable with the story and thinking I had it sussed, WHAM, another shock is thrown into their lives. I didn’t see any of these things coming and loved the new path the story followed. It certainly kept me alert and engaged. 🙂

The Cherry Blossom Mews community drew me into their everyday lives, so much so, I continued to think about the characters long after the story ended.

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is a must read. I urge you to add to your wishlist.
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What a book this is as it takes you on a journey of ups and downs in the life of Sadie McQueen. 

And also the rest of the residents of The Cherry Blossom Mews,  The book is written so that each chapter features their next weekly residents meeting which they take turns to hold, and allows us to really get to know all the residents of the Mews in a great way.

Sadie is the main character and she has a tragic backstory and its trying to overcome certain things in her life. There are elements of what happens involving her in the book that had me gasping out loud. 

There are so many threads of story-line and I really enjoyed all of them.  All the characters have distinct personalities, and I loved getting to know them all. 

This is a sensitively written, at times emotional, and generally heartwarming story. Although I'd expect nothing less from this always enjoyable author.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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Oh what a sparkling gem of a book! I immediately fell in love with all the varied characters in this book, all gorgeous, endearing, charming but broken residents of Cherry Blossom Mews where this wonderful community live and work, and ultimately heal each other through love, friendship, compassion and humour.
From Sadie who is clearly escaping an unhappy past in Suffolk where she lost both her husband and daughter in a car accident, to Hero, the handsome man in charge of U-Turn, a charity that helps people fight their addictions, to Cher Mogg, sister of the notorious criminal twins, who bucks the trend to become the much loved, reliable receptionist at Sakura Spa, owned and run by Sadie. There is also Michael, who owns Qwerty bookshop. Is he in love with Sadie or do his affections lie elsewhere? Meet Mary, the eighty year old lady who runs MOBuk charity shop, owns a dog, (currently looking after Noel VI) and who is responsible for another charity that no-one else know about, and Fi, a feisty larger lady who has a hopeless love life, a love of calorific treats and gives massages at the spa. The group also includes Mr and Mrs Bob who run the 'caff' and Amber, Insta influencer who does a very bad job of being a business woman with her Yummy Mummy Café and Party Emporium. Enter Grace, who rents studio space to create her art and give exhibitions at her gallery. There are other characters too which I won't mention so that you can discover them for yourself, but rest assured all of them become deliciously entwined in each other's lives for better or for worse.
Common to all the residents of Cherry Blossom Mews is heartbreak, they are all carrying emotional burdens and all require the help of one another to carry on with hope in their souls. This happens slowly but surely by way of a weekly residents' meeting, where each of the motley crew take it in turns to host and send out (funny) emails about upcoming meetings. Of course, there are lots of adventures in between the meetings that will make you smile, laugh, cry and sigh.
There are a lot of coincidences that most likely are too absurd to happen in real life, but in this book, everything that happens happens for a reason and the end result is that although life can be cruel, pain can be embraced, and new joys can be found as long as we have people who care around to join us in life's rich journey.
A pleasure and delight to read, a bit like opening a box of chocolates that has your very favourite chocolate in every single hole of every layer!!!!
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I wanted to absolutely love this book but to be honest, I really seemed to struggle. I've enjoyed Juliet Ashtons work previously and through that I would again, maybe I chose to read this when I wasn't in the right mood or frame of mind. I think it is a me thing rather than any fault of the book. 

I didn't connect with the characters at all, I struggled with this and although I saw a sense of community I just didn't feel anything for them. Parts were a little surreal and I just didn't gel. I'm not a monster and was empathetic to situations etc but for me, I just felt something missing. 

I applaud the way the author has tackled so much, content wise with issues surrounding mental health, addiction etc - al real cross section of many topics. 

Although I was slightly disappointed with this, I will read more by the author as she writes well and is thoughtful in topics she includes.
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I loved Juliet Ashton’s previous novel, The Sunday Lunch Club, it was one of my favourite books last years, so I was really looking forward to read her next novel, but I was a little disappointed. Set in a small community in London, the protagonist is Sadie, a woman who has a tragic past, suffered loss and guilt, and she’s now trying to move on with her life. In just a few weeks, she is swept off her feet by the new man in Cherry Blossom Mews, she finds out the truth about her family, and she helps the friends who are now her family. I didn’t really warm up to the characters and some of the stories felt a bit surreal. I liked the closed community feeling and the author writes about thought-provoking themes like addiction, grief, mental health, and domestic violence, but, no matter how hard I tried, I had trouble to lose myself in the story. However, this won’t stop from reading more by this author.
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Oh my goodness I absolutely LOVED this book.
The fall and rise of Sadie McQueen is a wonderfully quirky novel full of eccentric, endearing characters that make this such an uplifting read. 
I don’t know quite what I was expecting, having read a previous novel by this author, The Sunday Lunch club. For me her latest offering is far superior and more along the lines of a Ruth Hogan novel (which is high praise!!). 
The novel centres around the residents of Cherry Blossom mews, home to these wonderful characters and their businesses. It’s hard to pick out a favourite, each one likeable for their idiosyncrasies, from Mary and doggy companion Noel to Bob and Mrs Bob who run the cafe to Hero, recovering alcoholic fronting U-Turn, a place to support and advise others in the same position.
Of course Sadie McQueen takes centre stage, owner of Sakura, a spa, alongside her employees Fi and Cher.
This is a novel about community, taking care of one another and how family doesn’t necessarily mean blood relations. Full of humour, I found this to be such a heartwarming read. It’s also about love and letting go with more than a few surprises along the way. These ‘surprises’ most definitely set this book apart from the comforting, happy ever after ending type that I thought this might turn out to be.
Sadie, for all her flaws, is immensely lovable and a strong character and has faced such tragedy but is still fighting. Together with all the other residents, many of whom are fighting their own demons, the author takes us on a magical journey through the ups and downs of Sadie’s life so we learn of the reasons behind her darkest days until her days become more and more filled with sunshine. 
The residents meetings they have are hilarious and whilst pointless are essential to this little community . Maybe a little bit sentimental in places but I can overlook that since I loved the writing style and the humour that the author portrays even in the strangest of circumstances. 
These are characters that stay in your mind long after the last page and I can’t recommend it enough!! This is actually one of my favourite novels of the whole year and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Thanks as always to the author and publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read in exchange for an honest review.
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I am tempted to start this review with a letter to the author. And if I did, it would go something like this:

Dear Juliet Ashton,

please write another book.
And another, and then another.
And just keep going!
Also, I know I may be pushing it here, but…
Can we have like…One every month?
Cause I need another one NOW!!!

Yours, Swooning Fan

As nice a fantasy as it would be, having a new book from one of your favorite authors each and every month, I feel like maybe that’s not going to happen.

But the reason I said it is that whenever I pick up a book by Juliet Ashton, my face just sort of turns into one of those heart-shaped eye emojis 😍, and I carry on like that throughout the whole book (with a sprinkle of laughing or crying faces too.) It’s just always such a pleasure to read.

So it’s no wonder that me and Juliet Ashton’s newest book, the Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen, hit it off right from the start.

It's About...

The main character, Sadie, runs a beauty business in a London mews with a rag­tag bunch of fellow business people working and living in the same space, forming a sort of tight-knit community. The book starts out with a new business moving in, and it’s a clinic that helps put addicts on the right track. Naturally, everyone is against it, because they don’t want ”these kinds of people” on their nice, family friendly and perfectly proper mews, thank you very much.

But it’s worse for Sadie… Because she has some tragic history when it comes to addiction. Despite that, she takes the high road and defends her new colleague. (Doesn’t hurt that it turns out he’s smokin’ hot either.)

Oh, and yeah. His name is actually Hero. (I am invested!)

I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t just a book about a love story, and that’s that. As it usually is with Juliet Ashton’s books, it’s so much more. It’s about community, found family, loss and grief, letting go of your past, and of course, some romance. Just a dash. (In a very, very satisfying way.)

So let me tell you more!

It’s Cozy, Heart-warming And Sweet, But It’s Also About Realistic People And Realistic Problems
The recipe for The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is perfect: coziness, friendliness, some new hope, but also some dark past, mixed in for good measure. That bit of the story isn’t revealed right away, so you keep guessing at it as you go, and it keeps the tension well.

Like many characters written by Juliet Ashton, the cast is wonderfully quirky!

Somehow, this author always writes the perfect bunch of people for the story. There are quite a few characters in The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen, some of them more important, some more secondary – but they complement each other with their differences so well, and that’s because Juliet Ashton writes the best character dynamics ever. I loved that about The Sunday Lunch Club, and I found myself loving the same thing about the Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen too. What I liked about this bunch especially was that they were all so realistic (well, maybe apart from Hero. But a semi-romance has to have a good male romantic lead. We can’t do much about the fact that most real guys don’t actually keep up. Right? Who cares!)

Anyway, most of these characters (even Hero) have very real problems – oppressive, controlling families, life traumas and broken loves, addiction and broken families, or just serious health troubles that may break a family’s life. It’s not that only the lead characters are dealing with problems – everyone has some in this book, and it’s about how the community comes together to help each other figure out a way to make it better – even if they don’t always see eye to eye or even realize that they’re actually helping each other. (That’s what’s also so realistic about these character relationship dynamics.)

Don’t You Just Love Good Books About Found Family Though?

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is about family – but not the typical kind. It’s about found family, cultivated family.

Not many are gifted with a family that accepts us or gives us what we need, and this is mostly true for the people in this book. All of them so different, some may not even realize what they are to each other or that they also need everyone in this community – that they all aren’t just incidentally there, but they’re a family alright.

Again, back to the characters – I loved the way Juliet Ashton portrayed them. If at the start of the book they may seem a tad perfect, their struggles, flaws and passions will get revealed through the story, and I can tell you that not a single one is one-dimensional, a though some may get more attention than others. I can’t help it – I adore books that are made by the characters. I can only recommend this one!

Triggers

For full triggers please look up the review on my site (AvalinahsBooks) or Goodreads, because Amazon doesn't have spoiler tags. While the list of triggers is long, none of them are shocking or unexpected, even overly stress inducing. They won’t be sprung on you. Most of them are part of the characters’ histories, except for the big ones which are part the main character’s current life.

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.
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I've been looking forward to reading this novel for a while, and I was rewarded with a rich, tender story.

Sadie McQueen owns a spa business set in Cherry Blossom Mews, a special place off the main thoroughfare made up of lots of small, independent businesses which flourish together. By way of their weekly 'business meetings' they all interact and support each other, although it may not always seem like that on the surface . . .

This is a unique and heartfelt book; cleverly structured, we get to know Sadie's story little by little whilst we're busy keeping up with all that's going on in the mews. With a wide array of charismatic characters, this is an entertaining and happy read with hidden depths. I found myself riveted by the daily goings on and, thanks to the clear descriptions, could easily picture the setting in my mind's eye. A truly endearing, emotional read which is bursting with happiness and I'm so very happy that this was my final read of the year, leaving me on a high. I can't recommend this one highly enough; Juliet Ashton always delivers but I think she has surpassed herself with this one. A full five star read!

My thanks to publisher Simon & Schuster for my copy via NetGalley; as always, this is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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Cherry Blossom Mews, a quiet haven in the midst of London, a place where Sadie McQueen can heal and start her life again. Her fellow residents all have secrets that bring them together, to a place of safety and community. Sadie sets up her spa Sakura, hires the honest and mouthy Fi, and Cher, sister of the local version of the Kray’s, but there are still ghosts that follow her around. Sadie has the chance to move on, find love, be happy but only if she can forgive her self. The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is a real feel good book about family, community, love and hope.

The eponymous Sadie McQueen is at the heart of this book. Rather than move to London to find fame and fortune, Sadie goes to lose herself, be anonymous, go where no one knows her story so she can build a new life for herself. Sadie’s husband was killed in a car accident, that she blames herself for, three years previously. She has a real battle about moving on and finding love with Hero her neighbour. There is no doubt there is chemistry between them but Sadie feels as if she is cheating on her husband. Sadie comes across many obstacles that everyone faces at sometime in their life and this is what makes her such an endearing character. Her fellow residents in Cherry Blossom Mews are a diverse and interesting group that add colour, humour and drama to the book; Michael runs the bookshop and is facing unrequited love, Hero opens a clinic for those dealing with addiction and is Sadie’s love interest, Mr and Mrs Bob run the cafe with Mrs Bob’s caustic tongue, Amber is Instagram obsessed and runs Yummy Mummy, a cafe and shop and finally Mary and her dog Noel who run the charity shop.

Rather than have chapters that are numbered the plot is divided by the weekly Cherry Blossom Mews Residents Association, that is more about gossip than getting things done. Whilst Sadie may be the main character, the supporting characters all have their own story, their own secrets and surprises along the way. In these personal stories the subjects of addiction, betrayal, death, illness and domestic abuse are all dealt with empathy and understanding.  Like Sadie, many of the characters have problems with their family; Hero from his privileged background and broken marriage, Cher and her gangster brothers, and Mary learning about her family betrayal. The real message of this book is that a community can be your family, to support and love you when your own family may have abandoned or betrayed you. After all, you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends.

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is heart warming, emotional and uplifting. Sadie’s story isn’t an easy one, and there are a few shocks along the way, but she is a character that you can’t help but love. The mixture of drama, sadness, humour and romance make this a fabulous read and being released on Boxing Day perfect for that after Christmas slump.  So, take yourself off to to Cherry Blossom Mews, make new friends and have a fabulous time.
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The fall and rise of Sadie McQueen was a little bit predictable but still an enjoyable read. The main character is Sadie McQueen she is a widow who has escaped her old tragic life and moved  away to London, to try and rebuild her life after the death of her husband and daughter, she lives and has a beauty salon in a little mews which is filled with a variety of similar lost souls and misfits and their businesses, the highlight of the month is when they hold a residents meeting where the big discussion usually consists of Sadie moaning about no one doing the minutes and the bins, but its a life that suits Sadie fine, that is until a Hero by name and nature breezes in to the Mews. 

What I liked about this novel was the way Juliet Ashton has managed to write about some great believable characters dealing with all the problems that can happen to any one of us but in a lovely light hearted way and I  really ended up caring about them all.
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Though the premise is wide and sprawling- a small community of misfits learning to love each other, a woman coming to terms with her past, a love story- Juliet Ashton has written a book that hangs together beautifully and that I really enjoyed reading.

In it, Sadie McQueen is a woman running from her past. She’s running a spa and living in Cherry Blossom Mews along with a group of misfits that include social media influencer Amber- and new arrival Hero, with whom she connects almost immediately. But Sadie needs to heal herself from tragedy, but she can’t do that without confronting the things that she’s done, and that means exhuming some skeletons.

Juliet Ashton doesn’t just focus on Sadie: we get to meet everybody at Cherry Blossom Mews and learn a bit more about their past and their personal demons, which makes for a book that really gives you the warm and fuzzies afterwards. It’s a book about the strength of community and of the family you make for yourself; Sadie’s relationship with Fi, her friend, is particularly lovely, because it’s so uncomplicated and supportive.

The book is also chock-full of plot. So. Much. Plot. We get backstories, side stories, the main story of Sadie and Hero’s romance, plus also another plot twist that comes halfway through, as well as the story of how Sadie came to Cherry Blossom Mews. It all hangs together well- barring one or two coincidences that are just a little bit too convenient- and you get to watch Sadie grow and heal in a way that makes you root for her all the way.  If you’re looking for a heartwarming Christmas read, this is it!
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