Title: Kitty’s Countryside Dream
Author: Christie Barlow
Publication Date: 25 February 2016
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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 …
Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of Kitty’s Countryside Dream, the third novel from author Christie Barlow.
The first thing to attract me to this book was the bright and colourful front cover. It has such a happy and summery feeling to it that I could not help but want to read it – very eye-catching! Upon commencing the book, I found the writing to be engaging and the story flowed in a way which instantly drew me in.
The plotline is interesting. Kitty Lewis had spent years as a carer for her recently deceased mother, barely venturing from her side. After her mother’s death, Kitty finds herself at a bit of a loose end, having nothing else in her life. Coincidentally, it is at this point that she finds herself inheriting a flat and Bluebell Lodge (a chicken farm) from her grandmother, Agnes Porter, whom she thought to have died many years earlier. This unexpected inheritance may just give her a new focus in life and may be her much-needed new beginning. For Kitty, home was always with her mother and now, without her, she feels afloat. Moving to Rosefield, a quaint village on the edge of North Staffordshire, and meeting the friendly villagers allows Kitty to feel, for the first time, that she has a home to call her own.
I enjoyed the element of intrigue surrounding Kitty’s inheritance and I found myself very curious to learn why Kitty’s mother was estranged from her grandmother to the extent that she denied her existence to Kitty. The story becomes more mysterious when Kitty comes across a diary from 1960, written by an unknown person named Violet. Everything that Kitty understands to be true is about to be turned on its head.
The characters are all friendly and likeable, from the endearing protagonist Kitty to her new and welcoming friends – handsome chicken farm manager Tom Drew, pretty assistant Jeannie, suave Robin and baker-extraordinaire Lucinda – plus a couple of animals by way of her inherited cat Alfie and a chicken called Dotty! The story focuses strongly on friendships and relationships as Kitty’s new friends support her through the unknown.
All chick lit books need a good romance and as Kitty works closely with Tom on the chicken farm, she starts to feel the flutter of attraction. However, Jeannie’s dishy brother Robin is also showing an interest. Will romance prove to be on the cards for Kitty with either of these countryside hunks…?
On the whole, the book is a light-hearted and cheerful read, with a deeper underlying message about the importance of family, friendship, loyalty and the difficulties of parenthood. The story is uplifting and heartwarming for the most part, although there are some heartfelt and emotional points within the story as the book gradually reveals the secrets that Kitty’s mother had tried so hard to keep hidden.
I found Kitty’s Countryside Dream to be an enjoyable read – light-hearted and easy reading, full of laughter, emotions and a large dose of intrigue. It would make a great holiday read!
About the Author
Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad cocker spaniel. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. She is a Mum who wrote a book to prove to her children whatever you want to do in life go for it. The book she wrote to prove a point is now an Amazon #1 bestseller in the UK and USA.