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15 August 2016

Review: 'Kitty's Countryside Dream' by Christie Barlow (2016)

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 …

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of publisher Bookouture. They have a lot of great authors (Jenny Hale, Mandy Baggot, Marcie Steele, to name a few) and I'm always willing to give any of their chick lit/women's fiction titles a try. This also goes for Christie Barlow, an author that's completely new to me and one I've been quite curious about for some time now. I've read multiple good reviews of her works, so when I got a review copy of her novel 'Kitty's Countryside Dream' via NetGalley, I was really excited to give her writing a go. Based on the cover, I already had a good feeling about this book, but it's always wait and see to discover whether the inside is what you expected or not...!

Sometimes life gives you just what you need at the exact right time... This is also what happens to Kitty, who is still grieving her beloved mother, and is desperately in need of a fresh start somewhere new. The unexpected inheritance from a grandmother she didn't even knew was still alive brings Kitty to a small town in Staffordshire, where she is now the owner of a flat and Bluebell Lodge, a chicken farm. The fact that Kitty knows absolutely nothing about farming or chickens seems a bit daunting at first, but luckily her handsome neighbour Tom is more than willing to help out. Slowly but surely it starts to feel as if Kitty is building up something new for herself, but everything is once again shook up when she finds a hidden diary at the farm; a diary that holds a few secrets Kitty had no idea about...

I was really excited to pick up my first Christie Barlow read and rightfully so; I can't believe it took me so long to finally check out this author because I loved 'Kitty's Countryside Dream' from beginning to end! The book has a great plot at its core with a wonderful collection of characters that held my attention throughout the story. Kitty is a lovely heroine and I really enjoyed joining her at Bluebell Lodge, trying to figure everything out, with the help of her neighbour Tom and new friend Jeannie, who were both interesting and fun characters that also brought their own little something to the story. I really like novels in which the author decides to divert a bit from the main plot and also add in some extra, smaller, storylines for secondary characters while still linking everything to each other and Christie Barlow did a great job doing just that in this novel. 

The book focuses mainly on family and friendship as its main topics with a nice dose of romance and even a bit of mystery added to it. I was really captivated by the book from start to finish and think this is a great read if you have a few hours to yourself, whether you're on the beach, in the park or simply at home in a comfy chair. 'Kitty's Countryside Dream' is a feel-good, heart-warming and compelling story that I thoroughly enjoyed; the perfect Spring/Summer read and one that has already got me really looking forward to the next Christie Barlow read I'll be picking up!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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