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Book Review: Appleby Farm – Cathy Bramley

Home. Such a tiny little word. And yet at the same time, it means so much.” (p. 327)

“Look at that view! Who needs the rest of the world when you have paradise on your doorstep?” (p. 430)

Freya is a free-spirit – she has drifted from one job to another, from place to place, from boyfriend to boyfriend, almost all her life. Now she finally feels like settling down in the small town, with her gorgeous boyfriend Charlie, and her job at the café. Until one phone call brings her back to her Cumbrian childhood home, Appleby Farm, where she learns that family is everything, and that maybe her life choices so far weren’t the right ones after all… Will Freya finally find her happily ever after?

If this book were split into two – I would probably give the first one a 2-star rating and the second part a 4-star one. Why? Well… The first half or so of the book is dedicated to Freya’s character and her problems of settling down. In the past, it seems like Freya was forever on the go, always looking for fun and new adventures, never being able to settle down in one place and with one person. However, I felt like this is not the Freya we actually meet – her description doesn’t seem to match the character at all. From her description, I would expect Freya to be an adventurous, free-spirited person who doesn’t like attachments of any kind. Freya, on the other hand, seems to be a hopeless romantic. More than once in the book, she declares how much she likes to be one half of a couple, and dreaming of a place to call home. She then finds this place at Appleby Farm.

Apart from the fact that the description of Freya and her actual character weren’t really adding up, I didn’t really find the descriptions of Charlie, Freya’s boyfriend, and his actions, matching, either. They were described to be the perfect couple, and he seemed genuinely supportive of her decisions. But then, when tragedy strikes and Freya is needed on her uncle and aunt’s farm, he immediately leaves her, without trying to make their relationship work, even if it would be a long-distance one, at least for a while. Altogether, I even felt like Charlie wasn’t really needed as a character at all. The story would have been much better without him, if you ask me.

Another thing that bothered me was the sudden love Freya felt for (SPOILER ALERT) her next-farm-boy and childhood best friend, Harry. The first time she thinks of him in this way, she immediately thinks of “love”. No crush, no butterflies, but LOVE. During the first half of the book, there was almost no mention of Harry or the friendship he and Freya shared as children, but then, all of a sudden, when Charlie is gone, she realizes that she is in love with Harry. Towards the end of the book, though, we learn a lot more about them and their shared past, which was very nice! I just wish we had learned about them earlier in the book, at least here and there. The way their sudden love was described was very implausible in my opinion.

I think the first half of the book could have been shortened a lot – up to the point where Freya actually starts out at the farm and the story actually begins, which would have made the book a lot better. That’s when I started to like it much more, too! It was nice seeing Freya settle down and loving the place she was at, without wishing to be somewhere else. It was also nice to see the business coming together, and how Freya’s relationship with her parents was mended in the end. However, I found it quite hard to believe how this mending was come about. They had a hard relationship throughout all of Freya’s life, but then, suddenly, everything is perfect? Her father suddenly likes her decisions, and they even share a business? Very unbelievable, in my opinion. Again, my opinion about this is based on the fact that her parents were described as cold and unsupportive of her, but this description doesn’t really match their actions, as all of a sudden, they are a happy family. I also didn’t see why the mention of her brother was necessary at all. The looming threat for the farm could have easily been described differently, since the storyline with the brother doesn’t get a proper ending.

To end on a more positive account, though, I did like the story’s ending. The Christmas wedding was a perfect opportunity to wrap things up, and the fact that Freya gets her happily ever after was nice, too, even though it came too much out of nowhere, for my liking. I also liked the farm setting, and Freya’s relationship with their loving and beloved uncle and aunt, which seemed like the only plausible one in the whole book. It was also the most important one, if you ask me, so it gets more plus points. Freya loves them to pieces, and changes her whole life for them, so family really seems to mean the world to her. It seems like a stable anchor point in her crazy life, and as the one red thread throughout the whole book.

Only 3 stars from me, sadly, although I really wanted to love this book!

Did you read it? What is your take on it?? Tell me in the comments below!:)

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Appleby Farm – Cathy Bramley

  1. I’ve almost bought this book about a million times already. But something always held me back. And from what I just read, I must’ve been right. It’s a shame tough, because I love my some good small town FARM stories! 🙂

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