Friday, 25 September 2015

Book Review - Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley

Amazon UK
Title: Appleby Farm
Author: Cathy Bramley
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Corgi
Publication Date: 13th August 2015 
Rating: 5 Stars

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the cafĂ© round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm.

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything…

The farm is in financial trouble, and it’s taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape.

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price?

Appleby Farm was originally released as 4 separate parts in ebook format, however I decided I wanted to hold off so I could it read it all in one go. I prayed that it would be released as a fully combined book, and my wishes were granted. And I am so glad I had my eye on this release as its a fantastic book, it is heart warming and utterly lovely. 

Freya has always had itchy feet, and moved from job to job at fairly regular intervals. When we meet her she is working in a cafe near the Ivy Lane allotments (featured in Cathy Bramleys previous book Ivy Lane, and this does feature some recurring characters), and she seems happy enough. Until Freya receives a phone call from her Aunt Sue, informing her, that her uncle has had an accident. 

Freya races up to the Lake District, and is reminded of how beautiful her childhood home Appleby Farm is, and just how much work it is. She decides to help her aunt and uncle to try and turn the farm's fortunes around. 

There is a great feeling about of trying to triumph over adversity, and saving a failing farm from ruin and developers. It was fascinating to hear about modern farming practices, and the ideas Freya has for saving Appleby Farm, and trying to ensure her relatives can retire too, are innovative and I found myself willing Freya to succeed. 

Freya's love life is present in places, and the early scenes with Charlie and Ollie are loveable, and I found myself hoping they would be together forever. Until Freya returns to Appleby Farm, and sees her childhood best friend is still working on the farm next door...

I can understand why this was released in four parts, as the book is separated into four very distinctive sections, each with a different focus in the journey.

I loved watching Freya slowly grow in cofidence at the farm and start to have belief that her plans will work. She makes new friends, both animal and human, and also attempts to mend some of her own cracked family relationships. 

This was a wonderful book to read at a weekend, and made me long to live a simpler life myself, and to get together with the great outdoors. There are even a whole bunch of recipes at the back of the book, for added content. 

This is a brilliant story, which left me smiling, and I can't wait for Cathy Bramley's next combined book release in January, Wickham Hall. 

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