I've quite enjoyed the few Alan Titchmarsh novels I've acquired (usually from my mum!) and thought his last, Folly was really rather good! In hopes of something similar I tracked down a cheapish, second hand copy of this one and settled for a more subdued read, after the explicit contents of the Fifty Shades series!
Harry is a sadly disillusioned History teacher in his early forties, although he seems much older in his manner and lifestyle! Still getting over his brief but disastrous marriage he's resigned from his job and decides to buy a quaint but neglected cottage by the river. He is quickly enamoured by Alex, his new neighbour who lives alone with her daughter, Anne. New love distracts him from his search for his ancestors but through his new home and an unexpected find from his best friend Rick, history finds him. Running alongside and eventually coinciding with the modern story is the tale of Anne Flint, a fifteen year old housemaid with aspirations who finds excitement isn't all it's cracked up to be when her adventure quickly leads to tragedy.
It was pretty much as I expected - a gentle paced, easy read. I enjoyed it, but felt there was a much "bigger" story to be made of the idea. The whole "haunting" element was a bit of a red herring and the decline of his old headteacher is quickly forgotten; it all felt a bit rushed and skimmed over as if a more extended and in depth book had been hacked about. Due to this, none of the characters were really memorable and I thought the modern day Anne had so much potential. Shame really as I liked what was there but just wanted more.