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Blog Tour: Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley - Book Review and Recipe
Author: Cathy Bramley
Published: August 13th by Corgi
Amazon | Amazon UK
Blurb: 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: Is it just me or are Cathy Bramley's books just getting better and better? God, I really did enjoy Ivy Lane at the beginning of the year (it's on my top ten of books for the first half of the year) but let me tell you, I enjoyed Appleby Farm even more! Cathy has the ability to create such homely and stunning surroundings that they just make you feel part of the story. In this case, we go to Appleby Farm by the hand of lovely and lively Freya Moorcroft. A character we already met in Ivy Lane, even if briefly. Appleby Farm really stole my heart in this story. I could easily picture those fields bathed by the sun with the lazy heard rummaging around. *Sighs* I want a vacation in the Lake District right now.
And Freya couldn't be a better leading role. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm were contagious and I soon found myself cheering for her and her big ideas. Plus, her uncle and aunt were the cutest old couple ever. They were going through really tough times to keep the farm afloat but their love for it and farming in general never faltered.
Also, how cool was it to catch up again with some of our beloved character from Ivy Lane? Fantastic dot com Gemma, her mum, the lovely Tilly and gorgeous Aidan, they all had their guest appearances! A real treat for us readers. And let's not forget Charlie, the fireman! He is Freya's boyfriend when we start the story and they share some really special moments together. Although I have to admit that I never was a big fan of Charlie in Ivy Lane. He was a bit like a big (spoiled) child. Here, we see him in a whole new light and I think the role he plays in Freya's life is very supportive and mature. He still has his childish moments though.
Appleby Farm is a great read that has a really positive vibe around it. I was grinning non-stop during the whole book and it left me with a content heart. Well, I have to admit that Cathy made me suffer a bit with Appleby Farm's future. There was so much drama surrounding the farm and its inhabitants! I really had no idea how it was going to end (I certainly didn't expect how it was resolved at the end) but with Freya's optimism and efforts and a bit of help of chatty Lizzie (loved her, by the way) and gorgeous Harry, I was sure we could have the perfect happy ending, and boy did we! Just perfect.
Another hit from Cathy Bramley, Appleby Farm is a beautiful story about family, finding one self and love. It goes directly to my list of favourite reads of the year, next to Ivy Lane. I can't wait to start Cathy's latest serialised novel, Wickham Hall, right now.
Also, Cathy is sharing one of her delicious recipes with us today! I always love that she includes recipes at the end of her books related to the story. I cannot wait to try this florentines ones. Cathy, all yours:
This is my grandmother, Mary’s, recipe. She used to make these when she had her ladies’ coffee evenings and she always seemed to have a box of them in the fridge whenever I went round to visit her. They are absolutely delicious but very rich so cut them into small squares.
You will need . . .
225g dark chocolate
125g glace cherries
125g sultanas (or mixed fruit if that’s what you’ve got)125g sugar
125g desiccated coconut
Line a tin with silver foil. Melt the chocolate and pour over the foil. Place into the fridge until set.
Roughly chop the cherries and sultanas and add to a bowl with the sugar, coconut and egg. Mix well and spread over the chocolate.
Heat the oven to 190oC (375oF/gas mark 5) and bake for 20 minutes.
Allow to completely cool, pop it into to fridge to chill for half an hour and then cut into small squares. They will keep for quite a while in an airtight box in the fridge.
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