Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
New Home by Ivy Ruthven is the first in the YA romance series Bramble Wood’s Royal Tea Shop. Olivia, a teenage girl born to privilege in Scotland, loses everything and is forced to move to a humble small town in America with her outcast mother and younger brother, James. Everything is difficult for a girl adjusting not only to a new income, a new school, and a new country, but also to a new feeling of fear and helplessness. Olivia strikes up friendships, wins hearts with her musical talent, and finds work in a signature little tea shop run by the quirky Bramble Woods. But the story is only beginning, as mystery and discomfort loom around a strange, popular boy who seems instantly obsessed with Olivia.
New Home was all-round captivating. A delightful story defined by perfect pacing and stellar writing, and threaded with believable, subtly well-rounded characters both young and old. In a spot-on telling of the classic story of finding adventure by falling on hard times, Ivy Ruthven’s Olivia receives a reversal of fortune and handles it in an entirely lovable way. Loyal, plucky, and determined, she’s as likable as the enchanting small town of Knightswood that she now calls home. Ryan is a compelling foil, appealing and suspect at the same time, with a slightly weird quality that leaves the book on an ambivalent, intriguing cliffhanger. A lovely beginning to a promising series, New Home quietly builds a sincere and accessible world and populates it with a good set of characters. For readers looking for something light-hearted and sweet, this is the perfect cup of tea!