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From spring to summer, autumn to winter, a lot can happen in a single year...
Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution.
But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organizing bake sales and planning seasonal parties.
As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweetpeas and let people back into her life – and her heart?
A charming and romantic story certain to make you smile - perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.
Oh Ivy Lane is perfection! It is one of the best books I have read this year. I simply love it......
Tilly Parker is the main character and is simply wonderful. We meet her as she just moves into the local area and gets an allotment on Ivy Lane. There is alot of intrigue and mystery for the reader as to what has happened to Tilly to make her up sticks and move here. We know that something awful has happened to James, but we are very skilfully left in suspense as to what this might be. I found myself trying to second guess what it was and trying to be a detective to piece it all together.
The book is told in four parts, one for each season. I love this concept and think it worked brilliantly in telling the story of Ivy Lane. Just like our surroundings change with each season, as readers we were able to follow the lives of the community over the year and see how things change in their life. Some lives and relationships begin to grow and blossom, whilst others head towards the autumn of their years.
The story begins in spring and Tilly cuts a lonely figure trying to find her way in life again. I felt immediately drawn to her as an incredibly sad person who seemed totally lost. I wanted to reach into the book and wrap my arms around her. When she starts at the allotment it is clear that she is a total novice and knows nothing. However she isn't alone for long. We meet Charlie, a fellow allotment holder who begins to show her the ropes and could also have a more romantic interest in Tilly! We also meet other characters such as Alf and Gemma. All of them begin to give Tilly some confidence and I started to feel I could see glimmers of hope for her.
During summer a tv crew descends on the allotment and Tilly unwittingly becomes quite the centre of attention. With the crew also comes the producer called Aidan. I conjure up an image of a handsome man when I think of him, and it seems he is quite a hit. We also see more of Gemma and her rebellious teenage daughter which provide some very funny as well as touching moments.
Autumn really packed a punch for me and was my favourite season of the book. So much is happening and there is some really sad moments. There is also a massive cliffhanger which had me almost tearing at the page in desperation to find out what happens. We see the return if Aidan. Will romance finally be blossoming for Tilly or will drama get in the way?
The story all comes together in winter. Another season with lots happening but for me it had the ahh factor about it. Preparing for Christmas we see Tilly totally at home in Lane and a key member of the community. Organising a baking competition and the Christmas party sees her come into her element as a strong woman, with passion, heart and love.
The book flows perfectly with lots of action, drama and laughs. I fell in love with all the characters in their own way and felt like part of the community. Tilly is far and away my favourite and I was willing her to be happy from the first page. I felt like a proud Mum watching her grow and blossom throughout. There are some very moving moments in the book and I admit I was reaching for the tissues. Tilly is a strong woman who has overcome tragedy and is learning to live and laugh again. She is passionate and caring with a heart of gold, and always sees the best in people. She is a great role model.
Cathy Bramley is a fantastic writer. She has a gift at bringing characters to life and portraying them in a way that brings them to life off the page. I could really empathise with their situations and got lost in my reading magically transporting myself into Ivy Lane.
Cathy is also queen of suspense. Each season is action packed, but builds up to a climax with a gigantic cliffhanger. I just had to turn the page and keep reading straight away. I found the whole book hard to put down and was totally hooked throughout. The balance of laughter, sadness and hope was perfect.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It will take you on an emotional roller coaster of a ride, but one that you will love. Tilly Parker could be my inspiration and her friends would just be so great to know.
Ivy Lane has also bought out the inner gardener in me. I never thought I would be planting seeds or looking at what veg I could grow for myself. I am even on the lookout for my very own local allotment, just like Ivy Lane.
Just incase you didn't realise it by now, I am a massive Ivy Lane fan and would urge you to give it a read too. I am going to miss catching up with them and have a massive book hangover.