The lasThe Chic Boutique on Baker Stt time I dipped into a Mills and Boon romance was 20 plus years ago on a beach holiday.

I’d read all my own books and was reduced to reading whatever I could find on the apartment owner’s bookshelves, which just happened to be Mills and Boon.

Without exception, the books were frothy, undemanding reads.

But the repetitive plotlines – girl meets boy; initial attraction followed by misunderstandings; followed by happy-ever-after ending were just a little too formulaic for my taste. 

I’m not sure much has changed in the intervening decades.

However, Rachel Dove, winner of the Prima Flirty Fiction competition, who makes her Mills and Boon debut with The Chic Boutique on Baker St, is the step-daughter of a friend, so, having also read her first novel Crossing Life Lines, which she self-published, I was interested to read her second book.

The plot is as predictable as expected: high-flying career girl Amanda decides to escape the London rat race and her cheating boyfriend and make a fresh start as proprietor of a chic up-cycling boutique in a picture postcard Yorkshire village.

Sparks fly when she bumps into village vet Ben, who is also trying to get his life back together after his wife left him.

Will Amanda get over her initial antagonism? Can Ben’s broken heart be mended? Will romance blossom?

This is Mills and Boon, so it’s not giving away the ending to say the answers to all three questions are: Yes, yes and yes.

You’d expect nothing less.

The dialogue feels a bit stilted at times but Rachel writes with warmth and freshness and the story gallops along at a lively pace.

It’s not my cup of tea – I like a bit more depth and detail – but it’s a light-hearted poolside read that’s bound to win fans.

Review by Sue Featherstone

The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is available to buy on Amazon.