Kitty’s Countryside Dream
by Christie Barlow
Publishing Date: 25th February 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 309
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
New home. New life. New beginning. Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places . . .
When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom…
But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems …
A heart warming, moving and funny tale, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Cathy Bramley.
So there. Judging the book by its cover, I’ve been expecting a funny, sunny, uplifting read, a read that will make me smile. Sadly, it was not the case, as the story didn’t even rise the smallest smile from me. Its tagline says: ” feel good romantic comedy about life, love and family” – I am very sorry, but as much as it was about life, love and family, for me it was not a romantic comedy. It also didn’t make me cry, and I really appreciate when my books either make me smile or cry, and if not than at least awake some emotions in me. I’m sorry if it sounds harsh, but this is what I feel about „Kitty’s Countryside Dream” – I was all the time thinking where is the story? Because first half of the book is about chickens, different breeds of chickens and how to breed them, keep them and make them happy, and as much as I love animals, the chickens somehow didn’t keep my interest. Then suddenly the story makes an almost full – circle turn and the last quarter is about Kitty digging deep and discover hidden secrets. I’m not sure how does it sit together?
But if it weren’t for the second part, I think my review would end with rating the book with 2 stars. Really, the cover and the blurb have deceived me a little. I am truly, really sad to tell you that the book itself wasn’t my cup of tea. I am not sure why – but I just couldn’t warm to the plot, couldn’t connect with the characters. There was a lot happening in the story, that’s true, but I really have a feeling that the book was divided into two parts that had nothing to do with each other. I had a problem with Kitty, the main character and also the narrator in this story, who for me was very self – concentrated, whingey and she pitied herself. Sure, she’s been through a lot, and she’s going to discover some secrets that are to shake her up even more, but still, she felt too immature for my liking. OK, she was young, but nevertheless, even from a young person one can expect some maturity and not only seeing her crying over everything, being upset because a guy she’s just met and liked didn’t jump at her immediately, and jumping to wrong conclusions all the time. I think I liked the secondary characters much more, Robin and Jeannie and Lucinda, they were great and I felt I had more in common with them than with Kitty. I would really love to hear more about Lucinda, with her bakery – she seemed really interesting and warm, and I have a feeling there was much more to her than we got. Nevertheless, all of them, plus Tom, who was managing the farm, made a group of great friends, they truly bonded and you could see that they felt well in each other’s company.
But that’s just me, and I can already see that the book is catching on many fans, which is a brilliant thing, The part on the chicken farm was unfortunately totally not for me, the part with the secret diary I liked more, but in comparison to the beginning that focused so much on the chickens etc, it felt too short, too neglected and too rushed. Nevertheless, at least the things seemed to pick up and gathered pace. But in the end I must really appreciate that „Kitty’s Countryside Dream” turned out to be a moving story about family and friends. Kitty’s life turned upside down and she learnt a lot, she faced her demons. And the lesson that I learnt from this book is that there is unconditional love. We often take love that surrounds us for granted but it may turn out that the people who give us this love might have fought for it we have no idea what price have been paid for it. You know, I really can see what the author wanted to achieve, and I am sure that for most of the readers the book is going to be a cosy, heart – warming, touching read.