Friday, 2 June 2017

Book Review - Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels - Chances Fortnight

The chance I took in reading this book was that I had never read any of the children's Animal Ark books, so had no idea if the author was really able to write for adults, or what this would be like. 

Amazon UK
Title:  Summer at Hope Meadows
Author: Lucy Daniels
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 
Publication Date: 1st June 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Newly-qualified vet Mandy Hope is leaving Leeds - and her boyfriend Simon - to return to the Yorkshire village she grew up in. There, she will help out in her parents' surgery whilst they're short-staffed. Mandy's life has always revolved around her work with rescued animals, and Welford offers an opportunity to work with creatures of all sizes, from hedgehogs and puppies to farm stock and even wild deer.

But rural Yorkshire is very different to the hustle and bustle of a big city. Mandy must work hard to be accepted by the close-knit village community, and convince them of her abilities as a vet - especially Jimmy Marsh, the gruff owner of the local Outward Bound business, with whom she just can't seem to get along. 

When some long-neglected animals are discovered in a critical state on a nearby farm, Mandy is determined to prove herself as a confident and fearless vet. When it comes to protecting animals in need, she's prepared to do whatever it takes...

I have a confession to make... 

.. I have never read any of the Animal Ark books. I was aware of them when I was younger, but I think they started coming out once I was already moving onto books for slightly older children. As a result I had absolutely no proper idea what to expect when I started reading Summer at Hope Meadows, and I am just so happy that I loved the book as much as I did. 

It took a whole 5 mins of reading before I relaxed, sat back and let this incredibly lovely story take over my life for the rest of the day! At this point let me just say how refreshing it was to read about a female vet. I have recently read books featuring hunky male vets as the main attraction, but this one, the heroine of the book, is animal mad, and is wonderful with animals. 

If you don't like cute and fluffy animals, or some of the larger farm livestock that you get in rural areas, then this won't be the book for you, as it is teeming at the seams with adorableness. But with it there is also a rather more serious message running through the book about treating animals well, animal welfare and there are some incredibly distressing scenes when you Mandy comes across mal-treated animals. 

Mandy is a wonderful character, she seems to put animals first ahead of everything, with the exception of her best friend James who also loves animals. James is involved in a huge storyline that I don't want to say anything more about, but just keep an eye on him. The other main man in Mandy's life is her boyfriend of a year Simon. 

Simon and Mandy seem to have differing views on a lot of things, and he isn't too pleased at her decision to return home to Welford, while he is still working in Leeds. He also wants to set up a different sort of clinic to where Molly's heart lies, and he is a character that I took an almost instant dislike to. 

While I was reading, I did do a quick google about the original Animal Ark series, and from the little I saw, I  believe I am safe in saying that if you grew up with the series or enjoyed it at all as a child, then you will love this new series for adults, featuring an adult Mandy and James. 

It is very clear how compassionate both Mandy and the author is towards animals, and Hope Meadows has the potential to be incredibly special. I am already incredibly eager to read book 2 of this series, as if the writing flows as well as it did in this first book, I'll be impressed. This was a very easy to read book and it really captured my imagination. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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