Friday, 6 February 2015

Appleby Farm Part one by Cathy Bramley

Out now
Published by Transworld
Purchase from Amazon here

The Blurb:

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s 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 changes everything…

Freya’s beloved Uncle Arthur and Auntie Sue need her help. For the first time in years, Freya is back on the farm feeding the chickens, mucking out the stables, and loving every moment. As her visit comes to an end, she has a difficult decision to make: stay, or go?

Freya has to follow her heart, but just where does her heart lie?

Appleby Farm is an irresistibly charming novel told in four parts – following the adventures of Freya Moorcroft in love, friendship and a spot of farming – beginning with A Blessing In Disguise. It features some friendly faces who appeared in Cathy's bestselling series, Ivy Lane, but it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone story.

Each part of Appleby Farm contains 10 chapters.

My Review:

I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Appleby Farm and was so excited that I was primed and ready to download on the stroke of midnight. My plan to read the first couple of chapters before sleep were scuppered when I looked up just over an hour later to realise I had read almost all of it.....of course then I had to finish it before settling down for the night.

The main character is Freya, and I love her already! Freya has struggled to settle down to anything long term, and for the last few months has been living in Kingsfield and working in the local cafe. She stumbled upon the job as a help to her friend Anna, whose Mum had broken her ankle and was struggling to run the business. And that introduction is prime example of who Freya is. A loveable, naturally caring person who as a reader I very quickly became attached to.

If you, like me, have read and loved the Ivy Lane series you will be excited to see some familiar faces pop up. One of the first people we are reunited with is Charlie who has been dating Freya for a couple of months. We even get to go back to Ivy Lane and the allotments.

Freya is questioning what to do next in life, and pondering what happens next with Charlie.  He has a son but seems reluctant to bring them all together. Bang on cue Freya gets a call from her Auntie Sue who is phoning to say that Freya's Uncle Arthur had been in an accident. Freya drops everything and heads off to Appleby Farm to visit them.

This is where I totally fell in love with the story. Appleby Farm sounds like a fantastic place to live. I love country life and found it very easy to visualise what a great place this was, and feel at home. Freya quickly realises that her Aunt and Uncle need more longer term help, and sets about finding out more about what help is needed and enlisting people to get stuck in. We also meet more of the local community including Lizzie who is working at the local pub, Eddy who works on the farm, and Rory who is living locally and looking for some practical farm experience. They are lovely and I want to get to know them better (or just move there myself).

If I was Freya I know I would struggle to leave Appleby Farm, but then Freya does have the lovely Charlie to consider too. But where will she end up? Ooh I want to tell you more but I don't want to ruin it for you.....

I am in love with this series already. It is just as good as Ivy Lane and I cannot wait to devour the rest of the series and see what happens. I love Cathy's writing style. It is so warm, inviting, fun and loving and her books always fill me with warmth and put a smile on my face, just like meeting up with old friends and finding out what is happening with them. I could read her work all the time!

I loved seeing characters from the Ivy Lane series appearing and catching up with them. But if you haven't read that then don't worry, this works perfectly as a stand alone.

Roll on March so I can download part 2 and get back to Freya and Appleby Farm.

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