Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Returning to a Favorite Author: A Country Escape by Katie Fforde


My bestie Candace and I share a love of Katie Fforde novels. We've been reading them for--oh gosh, about 20 years? Maybe more. First discovered her when B&N featured her novel Wild Designs way back in the 1990's. I bought the hardcover (still have it) read it super fast, and decided I would always read Katie Fforde novels whenever I could. 

Unfortunately, they can be hard to get in the U.S. I told Candace we needed to visit the UK just to stock up on novels we can't easily get here. She's up for it. 

I bought a used copy of A Country Escape and I'll confess I stayed up way past my bedtime Monday night so I could finish it. There is something comforting about Katie's novels--almost like having a cozy blanket wrapped around me. Her novels usually involve a female main character who is a bit older (not in her early 20's) and has an interesting career or finds herself doing something completely out of her normal life. In A Country Escape, Fran finds herself leaving London and her career as a chef to move to a small farm she just may inherit if she can keep it going for a year. Fran's distant Aunt Amy has moved to a care home and has asked Fran to take over her farm. What makes this farm special is the herd of cows that Amy has kept on her farm for decades--they are special cows and must not be sold or bred outside of their breed. Lucky for Fran, the farm comes with the brilliant Tig, the gruff yet friendly brilliant keeper of the cows. 

When Fran is faced with an overwhelming amount of milk that may be tossed out, she decides to make soft cheese, hoping she can sell it and keep the farm from going under. That starts her on an interesting path using her chef skills to save Hill Top Farm from a greedy relative who is also trying to inherit the farm. Who will Amy leave the farm to in her will? 

Of course there is romance for Fran--but it's subtle and refreshing. The cast of characters are all charming and heck, I'd love to visit Hill Top Farm myself one day if I could! 

It's been awhile since I've read a Katie Fforde novel, and I kick myself for missing a few over the years. I'll be trading books with Candace as we both try to catch up. These are perfect novels for anyone who wants a charming, quick read with  a full cast of characters who are all pleasantly pleasant. 

Rating: 4/6 for a delightful novel about taking a chance at a new life, using life skills to create opportunities when presented with set backs, and the rewarding, yet hard working life of a farmer. Brew a pot of tea, settle back, and enjoy the British countryside. 

Available in hardcover and ebook. 

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