A cosy, happy story in a beautiful setting. 3.5/5 stars.
Thank you to Random House UK and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book.
The blurb: 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?
The cover and title of Katie Fforde’s latest book tell you all you need to know! A Country Escape is cosy escapism with likeable characters in a wonderful setting. Although there is a romance thread to the story, I’d argue the greatest romance is between the protagonist – Fran – and the farm she hopes to inherit, which has its own starring role along with the beautiful countryside setting.
That said, when the main antagonist finally turns up about halfway through the story, he’s wonderfully heartless and left me dying to jump into the book to kick him in the shins. Fran’s elderly Aunt Amy is also entertainingly spiky and at times I marvelled at how Fran remained patient with her.
And if a delicious setting and villains weren’t enough, prepare yourself for oodles of cheese! This book is a treat for all foodies, particularly those who prefer a cheese board to dessert.
My favourite scene came near the end of the book, when high drama in a solicitor’s office made me laugh out loud. I won’t say any more to avoid spoilers!
Overall: Katie Fforde fans are sure to enjoy A Country Escape. Perfect if, like Fran, you’re looking for a break from metropolitan stress.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul