BOOK CLUB: A Room at the Manor

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Author: Julie Shackman
ISBN: 978-1-76063-286-1
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: July 2018
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

A Room at the Manor is a new release by Julie Shackman set in Scotland that sounds heartwarming and intriguing. The cover is absolutely stunning and it’s one I look forward to reading. The month is beginning to run away from me so I thought it best to give our members somewhere to leave their reviews while this one still calls from my TBR.


Lara McDonald returns to her quiet hometown of Fairview when her love affair cools, she is heartbroken but determined to make a new start. A new start following her dream of baking instead of in another PR position. She takes the first position that comes up and finds herself working for a local woman with quite a reputation in her tea room, True Brew.

An unlikely friendship is forged with an elderly customer, Hugo Carmichael. The Carmichaels have lived at the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor for almost 300 years and it is still home to Hugo, his son and grandson even though it is in need of renovation.

Hugo recognises something in Lara and changes his will to include her; leaving Lara stunned and others less than thrilled with his faith in Lara.

A story of love, family, hope and trust, A Room at the Manor will delight every reader keen to find their place in the world.

This is one that certainly sounds interesting and I look forward to hearing what our members have to say.

A Room at the Manor is published by Allen & Unwin and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading A Room at the Manor so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

23 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: A Room at the Manor

  1. A beautiful story of love, determination and heartache is presented to us in Julie Shackman’s ‘A Room at the Manor’. Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Publishers Allen & Unwin for supplying this book for review.

    What a spectacularly addictive book. The story line full of emotional twists and turns, introducing us intimately to the personalities of its main characters, baker Lara McDonald and Scottish laird family, The Charmichaels.

    I love the intensity of spirit and drive that the author portrays in Lara and her genuine lovely spirit blooms throughout the book. The broody, difficult sculptor, Vaughan Carmichael is an interesting mix and presents a complex love interest for Lara.

    Social status and the expectations of upper verses lower classes intermingles throughout the book. And a few snags are afoot, reaffirming that in real life love isn’t always an easy ride.

    Who couldn’t fall in love with a book full of Scotts to adore. This book’s a treasure.

  2. I loved this book. It had all the ingredients that I like. A good romance and storyline and baking. It puts me in mind of Trisha
    Ashley books. I hope Julie writes some more like this. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book.

  3. This book was such a delectable treat with its descriptions of scrumptious food and a beautiful old country house.

    Julie Shackman’s novel often reads like one of Josephine Moon’s books and it also features a dash of Jane Austen thrown in for good measure. In this case, Lara is our main character, a fine and inspiring heroine who is determined to make something of herself in the wake of heartache. An expert baker, she dreams of having her own tea rooms.

    “A Room At The Manor” is an enjoyable and sweet story that you can really get lost in, just like a good cuppa with a close friend.

  4. This book, ‘Room at the manor’, was a nice story, but I must admit that I could see where it was going in the first couple of pages. For me, there were no surprises, but I still liked the story. It was easy to read and I was able to finish it in a couple of days – a good book for sitting back and relaxing to! Thank you Beauty and Lace for another book to review >:o)

  5. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this book.

    This is a delightful story about a girl following her dreams, and working hard to achieve them (although she does have a bit of a kick in the right direction!). I enjoyed this book from the very start. I managed to read it in 2 days despite having to work, do all my chores and look after the kids – I was quite tired when I finished it due to a couple of late nights reading!!!

    I thought it was interesting how the book explored the differences between the classes in Scotland. It highlighted the issues that people in the working class experience, as well as those in the aristocratic class. It’s definitely worth all people realising that all people experience hardships, no matter what their background is.

    I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys backing and enjoys a good romance.

    Thanks again for a great read.

  6. A Room at the Manor Julie Shackman
    A delightful read for a few spare hours. And that’s all it will take for the reader to be swept up uin this light enjoyable romance.
    A happy ever after ending leaves the reader with a warm glow

  7. A beautiful story focusing on Lara and her dream to one day own and run a shop where she can focus on her baking.
    As she works for an unforgiving employer in a cafe she meets some lovely people with one of these who changes the course of her life.
    Read while Lara pushes her way through challenges to set up a business in the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor and to make it work.
    She immediately makes it her life to meet the challenges while coming across barriers such as the enigmatic Carmicheal grandson. An artist with determination!
    Bring into the equation Lara’s mother and her younger lover and the local’s she brings on board throughout the journey.
    Read this story of family, trust, love and friendship to find out what transpires. It is well worth the time to read and enjoy.

  8. Room at the Manor has all the ingredients for a fabulous read- a Scottish manor, a heartbroken girl, a dark mysterious handsome man, and a quaint bakery. Although the storyline was a little predictable, it was well written and there were enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The descriptions of all those cakes also helped! A great easy holiday read!

  9. I received this book Wednesday after work. I had a wisdom tooth removed late Wednesday afternoon which had been causing me pain all day.That evening after getting my daughter to bed I began reading A Room At The Manor and I had finished the book by Thursday night.

    I truly Loved reading Julie Shackman’s book and enjoyed the Scottish history and the move into a modern Scotland. I love baking and tea and was engrossed in the tea-room fantasy and the amazing opportunity that was trusted/thrusted upon the main character Lara by local Laird Hugo Carmichael who to Lara is an almost stranger before his demise.

    She was the perfect example of fighting for what you believe in, trusting yourself and your dreams, resilience and the boundaries between classes not always being as finite as first believed. Lara and her besty Morven created a masterpiece and they brought a sense of comradely, kinship and love to the book which was heart-warming and delicious.

    The charmichaels, and more specifically Vaughan Carmichael, add another dimention to the story. Being forced into each others lives, livelyhoods and bussiness become the beginning of a deep and empowering journey though each characters history, love, loss and hopes. Lara forces the family to face realities in new perspectives and fights fiercely for history, dignity and family history.

    Lara is as fiery as her corkscrew red curls and she provides so much maturity and depth to the story.
    I thoroughly enjoyed my journey through the pages of A Room At The Manor, though a quick and easy read it was full of wit, surprise, love and compassion. The novel was empowering, warming and addictive and I greatly enjoyed my time within its pages.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace for the chance to read this novel and the wonderful publishers Allen & Unwin for supplying this book for my review.

  10. A great vacation read – comforting like a hot cup of tea and cake on a rainy afternoon. (You’ll totally get that analogy after reading “A Room at the Manor”.) A classic tale of love and friendship and achieving your dreams, with enough twists (although quite predictable and not entirely surprising) to keep this easy read interesting. It’s so sweet that the descriptions of colours throughout related to the food theme, like the avocado green menus and the buttercream yellow paint.

  11. I really enjoyed reading A room At The Manor by Julie Shackman.
    A wonderful storyline about a young woman called Lara and her search to follow her dreams and open her own bakery.
    Working for an unforgiving employer in a bakery she meets a handsome Scottish man called Hugo that will change her life.
    Set in both historical and modern day Scotland it explores the interesting class system and fascinating history of this wonderful country.
    Lots of twists and turns and love and friendship. I believe there is something for everyone in this novel.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for allowing me to read and review this wonderful novel.

  12. Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book club and Allen & Unwin for this book to review.

    While there isn’t anything new in this storyline, Julie Shackman makes it feel fresh with interesting characters and mouth-watering cakes. I must give a big thank you to the Author for not dragging us through the betrayal and heart-break that led Lara McDonald back to her small country home town. Instead picking up the story when Lara’s heart is on the mend and then bringing in the circumstances and friendships that allows her to turn her life around.

    The pairing up of Lara and her new love is predictable and completely guessable, but the journey held my attention and had a few developments that had me doubting whether it would actually happen.
    A sweet story that kept me reading right to the end.

  13. Thanks Beauty & Lace Allen & Unwin & especially Julie Shackman for the chance to review A Room at the Manor

    I found this book enjoyable from the very first page & with love friendship & gritty determination from Lara kept me enthralled to the end

    Nice quiet time reading & would recommend to anyone thats wants some light reading

  14. A Room at the Manor is about Lara McDonald who returns home to Fairview with a broken heart and so deciding to start fresh and follow her dream of baking she takes on a job at the local tea room. The position is not what she signed up for however, and she finds herself confiding in one of the regular customers, an elderly Hugo Carmichael who owns and lives in the nearby Glenlovatt Manor about her dream. Sadly Hugo passes away and Lara discovers he has included her in his will.
    This book, although quite predicable, is a very cute and enjoyable read. Julie Shackman is very descriptive in her writing so you get a clear idea of how everything looks and I absolutely loved the sound of all the amazing treats that Lara was constantly whipping up. It would have been really fun to actually have a recipe or 2 at the end of the book! I read this book really quickly due to the speed of the story (although may have moved just a little too quickly at times, felt a little rushed every now and then to get to certain points – let us readers enjoy more of your lovely writing!) and the gorgeous descriptors. It was a really easy but once again, enjoyable, feel good, book to read. Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read this. Will be looking up more of Julie’s writing.

  15. Julie Shackman has written a beautiful romantic comedy in her novel, A Room at the Manor. I was quite taken by the books cover, a beautiful heritage Scottish manor set amongst a sprawling garden with scotch thistles decorating the cloudy skies; so lovely.

    We meet Lara McDonald, a young Scottish lady who has returned home to recover from a broken heart and is now working in a local café. Lara has a friendly and bubbly manner and boasts a talent for baking, all of which are lost on her spiteful employer, the ever-grumpy Kitty. Lara soon meets the Laird of Glenlovatt Manor and they bond over their love of baked goods. This friendship brings about some unexpected events and Lara’s dreams and broken heart are transformed.

    This has been a wonderful book to read and in particular I have enjoyed the humour and romance that flourishes through the pages.

    Thank you to Julie Shackman for writing this novel, you have a lovely writing style and I found this most enjoyable. Thank you also to Allen & Unwin, and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read this book, this is very much appreciated.

  16. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the chance to read A Room at the Manor.

    I am not going to provide a synopsis of the story as the other reviewers already have, but I want to say that this is a delightful book for anyone who wants a fun read. Yes you can could of tell whats going to happen but that doesn’t stop it from being a great read for a cold Winters (or hot Summers) day.

    Nicely drawn characters, interesting concepts and a a bit of humour! Magic!

    Thanks again!

  17. Wow! I loved this book! It was light hearted, fun and funny. I loved how the heroine worked hard, remained polite and yet was assertive and not a pushover. The characters were all well thought out and authentic, the descriptions of the Manor and area were vivid but not overpowering, and the baking descriptions made my hands itch to be back in the kitchen baking these treats myself.
    It’s been a LONG time since I had so much fun with a book. Thanks Beauty & Lace and Allen & Unwin for introducing me to another great author.

  18. Beautiful English manor and fabulous baked treats ! Sounds like heaven to me! Wonderful warm characters life and death and love this book has it all you won’t be able to put it down for to long, you will need to know what’s happening to Lara!
    Thank you so much Beauty and lace also Allen & Unwin for a most lovely story x

  19. A Room at the Manor by Julie Shackman, is a lively and intriguing tale about a young woman returning to her home town to recover from a recent break up and build her career anew in a direction she has always only dreamed of . . . baking.

    Entertaining and enjoyable, this story follows Lara’s journey from an unexpected beneficiary of a will, to creating a successful business and saving Glenlovatt Manor. The animated characters, especially Morven and Wolf add vibrancy and mystery, to the piece; and the beautiful setting, especially the gardens at Glenlovatt Manor and Glenlovatt Manor itself, added intrigue and history to the exciting feel of the book. The storyline was well thought out and though it felt a little predictable at times it was a great read. I especially loved the delicious descriptions of the cakes, pies and other bakery items that made me hungry every time I picked up the book.

    Definitely worth the read!

  20. A room at the Manor by Julie Shackman has it all. A good romance, comfortable lovable characters, beautiful setting, and a bit of mystery thrown in too.
    Lara is recovering from a relationship breakdown and trying to find a new way in her world. She comes across the Carmichael Family, an established Scottish Laird family. Father Hugo Carmichael and Sculptor son, Vaughn Carmichael present a challenging mix of emotions for Lara. I love the way Julie develops her characters, enabling you to easily identify with the twists and turns of events and how they affect each character.
    This is a great book and I’d highly recommend it to any one who loves a good straightforward story that keeps you interested from cover to cover.
    Thank you, Julia Shackman for this story. Keen to read more of your books.

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