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?
I'm not a fan of serials as I get too impatient wanting to read the rest of the story immediately, but then have to wait weeks or sometimes months until the next episode is available, so even though I wanted to read Cathy Bramley's Appleby Farm I'm glad I did wait until the complete version of the book was published last week.
I hadn't twigged before I started reading that there was a connection with Cathy's previous book, in that Appleby Farm starts off in Kingsfield where Ivy Lane was set and that the main character in this novel Freya was the same Freya that was briefly introduced at the end of Ivy Lane, so it was a welcome surprise to be reacquainted with a few old friends briefly before the story moved on to tell her story.
From the moment Freya arrives in the Lake District you could feel that this is where her heart belonged and that she would do whatever it took to help save the farm for her auntie Sue and uncle Arthur who had practically raised her. But what does this mean for her relationship with boyfriend Charlie who's back in Kingsfield? Freya has to think of ways to bring the farm into the modern era by diversifying and make it pay its way to keep a roof over their heads, but is this a mission impossible?
You can't help but like Freya as a character, she has a heart of gold, is loyal to her family and friends, and she has such a resilient spirit about her that no problem was too big to overcome and nothing was going to beat her. And before long she's recruited help from a great cast of supporting characters, her uncle's farmhand Eddy, student Ross, childhood friend and neighbour Harry, her new friend Lizzie and last but definitely not least Sue and Arthur, But I have to admit that Lizzie was my personal favourite as she was such a fun lively person to be around but wasn't afraid to get stuck in when needed.
I've only been to the Lake District once as a child so have very fuzzy memories of the area but Cathy's stunning descriptions of the landscape and area really made me feel like it's a place I'd like to visit again, and this from someone who is a townie at heart. Although I can't honestly say I'd want to try a night in a Yurt, no matter how glamorous you make it, in the middle of the Cumbrian countryside!
Appleby Farm was everything I was anticipating and more, I loved every single page of it... even the ones when I was cursing under my breath at the devious actions of some. Another fabulous read from Cathy that draws you in. I'm definitely a fan of her writing having enjoyed all three of her novels to date so am already looking forward to reading the complete version of her current serial Wickham Hall which is being published in January... just in time for my birthday ;)
I'd like to thank Sarah at Transword for sending me a paperback copy of Appleby Farm, I had already ordered the eBook so now have the options to re-read either format at a later date.