A Country Escape by Katie Fforde – review

Published by Century

Publication date – 22 February 2018

Source – own copy

Fran has always wanted to be a farmer. And now it looks as if her childhood dream is about to come true.

She has just moved in to a beautiful but very run-down farm in the Cotswolds, currently owned by an old aunt who has told Fran that if she manages to turn the place around in a year, the farm will be hers.

But Fran knows nothing about farming. She might even be afraid of cows.

She’s going to need a lot of help from her best friend Issi, and also from her wealthy and very eligible neighbour – who might just have his own reasons for being so supportive.

Is it the farm he is interested in? Or Fran herself?

Warm, funny and wonderfully romantic, this is Katie Fforde at her very best.

Fran has left her job as a chef in London to follow her dream of being a farmer. Or so she thinks. Her aunt, who owns the farm, wants to leave it to Fran, provided she  can turn the place into a going concern within a year. The only trouble is the farm is losing money and she happens to be afraid of cows, which is unfortunate given the farm is a dairy farm. Then there’s the wealthy next door neighbour. Is he interested in Fran, or is it the farm he has his sights on?

As always with Katie Fforde’s books, I sound found myself wrapped up in the story of Fran and her attempts to save Hill Top Farm.

The story is filled with lovely characters, and a couple of purposefully not so lovely ones.  It was easy to get caught up in Fran’s excitement at moving to the farm and the potential change of life. Anthony is charming and kind, Amy is taciturn and funny in equal measure and Fran’s friend Issi also adds to the fun.

Fran’s background as a chef comes in handy when she has to deal with a surplus of milk. There are lots of descriptions of cheese, how it’s made and if you are a cheese lover this may sound like heaven. As for me, as someone who can’t stand the stuff, I just admired her ingenuity.

The story itself was charming, a will she, she won’t she, for both the farm and her burgeoning relationship with Anthony.  I loved the setting of the farm, it made the story a grown up Enid Blyton in a way. Most of us at some stage have day dreamed about giving it all up and moving to the country and Fran gets to live out that fantasy. It was with a tinge of regret that I turned the final page, knowing I’ve a while wait until the next one, as is usually is with a Katie Fforde book.

Katie Fforde’s novels are always a highlight of my reading year and are akin to being welcomed back to old friends. There is comfort and joy in the pages. A warm, entertaining read. Lovely.

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