Cathy Bramley has long since been one of my favourite romance writers and Appleby Farm is just another example of why I adore her work so much.
With a protagonist who is far enough on the right side of twenty-five to be relatable to the middling mums who love to snuggle down in the bay window with a good book, but not so far to be unrelatable to younger lovers of the genre, Appleby Farm is a definite must read. It’s warmth radiates throughout the pages and both the character development and wonderfully aromatic (yes I meant to use that word, you’ll see why when you read it) setting, makes it lovably quirky.
As with so many romances, there is the rather generically opulent descriptions of men with their chiselled jawlines, broad shoulders and rugged but not unkempt stubble. However, it isn’t so over the top that the men seem unrealistically ‘gettable’ (a pet hate of mine). After all, what ‘normal woman’ would be surrounded by potential love interests who all look like they’ve strolled off the pages of Men’s Fitness magazine?
Now, this may be due to my somewhat unhealthy addiction to romance novels (or perhaps it’s simply because I’ve read so many books in my lifetime) but I did find parts of the plot somewhat predictable. Though with a genre like this, it’s easy to pick up on the subtle cliches. That isn’t to say I wasn’t also pleasantly surprised. There were times when I thought I knew what was going to happen, only for my theory to be completely blown out of the water by some unique plot twist.
In a nutshell, this gets a thumbs up from me and will definitely be going on my must-read-again shelf.