I always know when I start a new Jane Lovering book that I will be in for an enjoyable treat and Home on Folly Farm was no exception. Dora is a rare breeds sheep farmer in Yorkshire and it’s a far cry from her previous lifestyle in London. Nevertheless she is content enough with the hard work and natural rhythm of life on the farm she inherited from her grandfather. Her peaceful routine is about to be shattered though with the arrival of her somewhat spoiled sister Cass and her twelve year old son Hawthorn, known as Thor. They have come uninvited for an extended stay while their parents’ house has an extension built. To Dora’s horror, Thor has a tutor, Nat, who at first glance she thinks is an ex from London. Some careful questioning reveals him to be his brother and a tentative friendship develops between them.
What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the way the characters developed. Dora is someone I took to immediately of course and I was intrigued as to what she was trying to put behind her from her London days, a time she seemed rather ashamed of but also a time where she had a missed chance of happiness. Nat’s arrival brings back memories of that time and perhaps reawakens in her the need to be less self sufficient. I really liked her work ethic and her determination to do the best for her flock and honour her grandad’s legacy. We see that farming is not an easy life with long sunny days and lambs skipping about the fields. It’s a constant struggle to balance the books and with little room for sentimentality – hard when you have hand-reared lambs in your kitchen.
By contrast, Cass and Thor are harder to like with their pampered lifestyles, sense of entitlement and seeming obliviousness to the realities of farming life. Dora has always felt resentful of the way that Cass was looked after by their mother when she became pregnant at just 15. It’s easy to see how this maybe led to Dora’s life choices as a younger woman, perhaps seeking attention, perhaps seeking love. And yet we come to see that Cass doesn’t necessarily have it all either. Thor, like many young people, seems to see life through the lens of his ipad. However, along with his almost 1000 YouTube vlog followers, as he begins to document life on the farm we begin to see flashes of an enthusiastic teen rather than the old-for-his-years character when we first meet him. His followers (literally) make a difference at a crucial and dramatic part of the book!
As always with a Jane Lovering book there is plenty which will make you laugh, most notably one-liners from Dora. There is humour throughout the book making it a really enjoyable, light-hearted read while still addressing those issues of coming to terms with your past. Home at Folly Farm is another delightful read from this author, sure to make you finish reading with a smile.
My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to take part in the blogtour and to Boldwood Books for my review copy from Netgalley. Home on Folly Farm is available now in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats. You can order your copy here: Home on Folly Farm
From the back of the book
Needing an escape, Dora swapped city living for life as a shepherdess on her grandad’s Yorkshire farm. More than a decade later Dora is still there, now farming the fifty acres and caring for the one hundred rare sheep by herself. She never hears the call of the city, but instead relishes the peace and simplicity of life on the Moors.
When Dora’s glamorous but quarrelsome sister Cass, her teenage nephew Thor and his handsome tutor Nat, turn up for an unexpected and unreasonably long stay, life on the farm is thrown into chaos. Cass brings with her unwelcome memories from the past, and of someone who once stole Dora’s heart.
Dora takes refuge in the comforting routine of the farm, the sheep never allowing her too much time to dwell. But, as the seasons change, the snow starts to melt, and as lambs begin to fill the fields, Dora can’t keep hiding in the hills. Because even though she’s trying, Dora can’t run away from a love that never really let her go…
Let Jane Lovering whisk you away to the beauty and serenity of the Yorkshire Moors, far away from the noise of the city. Just right for fans of Emma Burstall, Holly Martin and Kate Forster.
About the Author
Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home. Her first title for Boldwood will be published in September 2020.
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