Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley – My Review

Appleby

What’s it all about:

Appleby Farm was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She’s been happy working at the café 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?

Review

The moment I saw Appleby Farm in Asda, there was no question, no hesitation, just a swift pluck of a book from the shelf and it was mine. And isn’t the cover just beautiful?

Like Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm was originally published as four parts, four separate ebooks, but I decided to wait it out to own the paperback instead.

Appleby Farm is all about Freya Moorcroft, a lively young woman with a twinkle in her eye and passion in her heart. She appears to be loved by everyone she meets, and this is perfectly understandable. I found myself wishing she was my friend too, she is just so relatable as a character and most definitely not one of those characters that needs to be saved by a man. Of course, she does already have her very own handsome fireman, Charlie.

In the past, Freya has found herself unable to settle anywhere, nowhere feels like home for too long, and we get the feeling that although she has Charlie whom she clearly loves, she is just convincing herself that Kingsfield really is home. But then a phone call from her Auntie Sue throws everything out of the window and sees Freya heading straight up to Lovedale, a small village in the Lake District, to help her Aunt and Uncle.

The moment Freya arrived in Lovedale, I knew that I would get lost in this book and it would be one of my favourite reads of the year. There is something magical about the way Cathy describes the scenery in the Lake District, and as someone who has just recently been on a break there myself, I felt like I was coming home. What a strange feeling, but it was so true. I felt like Cathy was pulling me into this family, making me feel like I belonged at Appleby Farm and it became a place that I never wanted to leave.

The set of characters that Cathy introduces us to when Freya returns to Lovedale are endearing, quirky, and such a caring bunch that you feel invested in each and every one. From Eddy who looks after the cows on the farm, to Uncle Arthur who has suffered a recent accident yet is stubborn as a mule and will not rest, to Lizzie who becomes an instant friend to Freya. Freya throws herself into life at the farm, just a temporary arrangement over the Easter period she tells herself, but on her return to Kingsdale once again, another frantic phone call sends her rushing back to Auntie Sue’s side, this time her stay becoming as long as she is needed. Which poses a slight problem for her relationship with the ever patient Charlie.

The longer she stays at Appleby Farm, the clearer it becomes that the farm is in trouble, and Freya needs to come up with a plan to save it, and plan she does. Freya thrives as she plans Appleby Farm Tea Rooms, along with a few other brilliant ideas, and though there are a few bumps on the way, with meddling and malicious characters, you can’t help but feel Freya’s positivity rub off.

Appleby Farm is such a fun, engaging read with the sense of community evident when times get hard for Freya’s family, one disaster hitting them after another. I cannot stress enough how brilliant Cathy’s writing is. If you’re looking for a read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside, Appleby Farm is the one for you. Buy it people, buy it now!

5 STARS

Buy it now:

Amazon UK / US

Follow Cathy on Twitter

Cathy’s website

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