Popsugar Reading Challenge 2022 Book 14

When I saw this category, I honestly had no idea what I was going to read. But I had a flick through a couple of likely suspects on my tbr caddy and was really pleased to find a book that fitted the bill. Appleby Farm by Cathy Bramley has a selection of delicious recipes at the back of the book based on some of the bakes that feature in the story.

What it’s about?

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?

What I think:

This is perfect holiday escapist fiction.

Freya is smart and funny and kind. A little lost, she still doesn’t know where her passions lie as she approaches 30. With all of her friends getting married and having babies, Freya is waitressing in a local cafe. Her relationship with her boyfriend Charlie, is going well but she hasn’t met his son yet and she is not sure where things are heading.

Freya gets a call from her aunt and uncle who need some help running their farm after her elderly uncle has an accident. Freya drops everything and heads up to the Lake District to help.

The Farm is struggling and Freya is determined to help get everything back on track so that her aunt and uncle can eventually afford to retire to Aunty Sue’s dream bungalow.

The friends to lovers trope is done really well. As Freya’s relationship with Charlie inevitably unravels she is drawn closer to gorgeous farmer next door and childhood friend, Harry.

Harry and Freya are clear made for each other. But with a farm to save, a tea room to set up, a devious brother trying to sell the farm and some ill cows to juggle, Freya has certainly got her hands full.

I love the supporting cast of friends and family. Arthur and Sue have a really poignant backstory, Lizzie is great fun and Lizzie’s sister Victoria is absolutely wonderfully hideous. There are genuine moments that will make you smile.

I was rooting for Freya from page 1. This is a rural romance done really well and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just what I need to end a reading slump.

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