Thursday, 25 February 2016

Book Review - Kitty's Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow

Amazon UK
Title: Kitty's Countryside Dream
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 25th February 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

New home. New life. New beginning. Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places . . .

When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom… 

But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems … 

Having loved Christie Barlow's previous books, and also after falling in love with the cover of Kitty's Countryside Dream the first time I saw it, I knew I had to read this book. I was aware in advance that it was a slight change in tone, from her Playground Mother books, but thankfully I am delighted to say that this was even better. 

The writing and the story as a whole felt more rounded, and far more mature. What amazed me that I didn't mind too much about the book, was it was set in the 1980s, and I generally prefer my books a bit more 21st Century. However I knew I had to give this a fair go regardless, and thankfully, I was barely bothered by the year at all.

During the first half of the book you will learn more about chickens, and chicken farming than you perhaps ever wanted to know, and seeing Kitty come to grips with her new life, as owner of a chicken farm. She soon forms some new friendships, and also gets her wires crossed on more than one occasion. 

I found the first half of the book to be very light hearted, fun and you get a real feel for the various character dynamics. However its the second half of the book, for which Christie Barlow, needs to be applauded. The discovery of what was in Kitty's grandmother's safe, makes for completely compelling reading, and from that point on it was a struggle to tear myself away (and only managed it as I had to get off the train.)

Christie manages to weave a story, between two very distinctive generations, and although at one point I did think I had worked everything out, I wanted to know the reasons for what I was guessing was about to happen. There are sections where Kitty is tearing herself apart because of what she believes to be true, and yet as the reader, you are willing her to think straight and put two and two together, especially with regards her feelings toward one specific male. 

Kitty's Countryside Dream is a fantastic story, one that will keep you reading long into the night, just to find out what happens. I loved every moment of it, and some of the scenes with chickens, will have you chuckling. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Happy Publication day to Christie Barlow. Kitty's Countryside Dream is out now. 

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