28 Oct Blog Tour: ‘Appleby Farm’ by Cathy Bramley – Review
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?
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
‘Appleby Farm’ was on the list of 2015 releases I’ve been most excited about and one I was eagerly waiting to be published in paperback. Consisted of four parts, it was previously published as a serial in e-book format. However, as I’m not the type that enjoys major cliffhangers, I waited patiently for it to come out as one complete story all while being totally convinced I’ll be in for a real treat. I’m glad once again my feeling was right and the wait was completely worth it.
I’ve been following Ms Bramley’s work ever since she self published her debut ‘Conditional Love’ back in 2013 (later re-released by Transworld as publisher) and it was just a matter of time when she’d snatch a publishing deal. Not long after ‘Conditional Love’ coming out, she published her second novel ‘Ivy Lane’ and continued to climb amazon charts. So what is her formula to success? What is it about her writing that makes me devour her book, feeling so much happier and full of joy than I was before starting it? I’ve done a lot of pondering on this, to be frank, and though it might be more a matter of heart I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason why her books have such huge impact on me is her sincere way of pouring every atom of her in her works. Her words feel like a ray of sun, spreading from the pages and making your heart warm. She’s one of these rare authors who can use a rather simple story and make it magical! Give me a book with blank covers and I will instantly know if it’s Ms Bramley’s book as she’s got such a unique style of writing!
What I love the most about her writing is the simple language, the lovable characters who lead a normal life and everyone can connect to and the beautiful countryside settings. Some might say it’s predictable, but there’s a certain comfort in knowing your heroine won’t do something stupid to surprise you and you’ll root for her from the beginning to the end.
In ‘Appleby Farm’ we meet Freya, who’s working in a coffee shop and is the kindest and sweetest character that gets right under your skin the minute she’s introduced. In Ms Bramley’s words, ‘Freya is one big ball of energy’, so full of life and big dreams. She’s hard to settle down, always looking for challenges and changing jobs. It’s not that she’s too hard to please, that’s definitely not the case. On the contrary, she knows when it’s time for her to make the leap and move on to new adventures. This is what I liked the most, she’s so full of energy and ideas, and is not afraid to follow her dreams and heart.
Though she’s in a steady relationship with Charlie, things will change once she gets a call from her aunt with the awful news her beloved Appleby Farm is in serious trouble and her uncle is injured in an accident. And it is then that the real adventure starts, taking Freya on a true rollercoaster. All of a sudden she’s faced with new challenges, but now time can’t be wasted. She needs to act fast, lock her feelings and see if she can save her childhood home and help the people she loves the most.
As previously mentioned, once again Ms Bramley blew me away with the way she portrayed her characters. All of them (except for Charlie) were so lovable and felt so real. As much as it’s Freya’s story and all the changes she’s going through, it’s also a book that speaks about the importance of family and how we should always be there for our loved ones. Freya is not the cliched workaholic, but once she sets her mind she simply doesn’t give up.
‘In The World According to Freya, everything is doable.’
This is that strong feel good factor pouring out of the pages, telling the readers everything is possible if we can only imagine it and do our very best always believing in the best possible outcome. I was in awe of Freya’s enthusiasm, which was rather contagious as I immediately felt a lot better about some of my projects I’m working on.
As expected from Ms Bramley, the romance part was clean and just about the right dose. There was one specific scene which reminded me so much of my fave rom-com ‘Clueless’ and that brought a huge smile to my face.
To sum it up, ‘Appleby Farm’ is a charming, sweet, light-hearted read which I devoured in one sitting. I was completely immersed in the story, living the farm life and breathing in the smell of grass and freshly brewed tea. Wholeheartedly recommended!
My rating: 9/10