Joy Browne lives in a farmhouse in the village of Bramleywood, which has been her home for twenty-five years. Since inheriting The Old Dairy, she has been running it as a halfway house, helping people who needed it, as she had been helped years ago. Some of the “waifs and strays” are characters in this book, including Drew (who now runs his own kayaking business), Lauren (who has started up a cake business), Freddie (who looks after the land and farms fruit and vegetables) and Cameron (the newest arrival).
I thought it was really unusual to include these kinds of characters, the sort that often end up in trouble. It was great to see how they had made something of their lives and how Joy had helped them, but also how they gave back to her, so she has a kind of family. Now in her late sixties, Joy has become a sort of surrogate mum to these young adults.
Joy’s only biological family member she is in touch with is her niece Libby, who is now thirty-six. One day, Libby writes to her to say she is leaving New York and coming to England to see her aunt. The chapters are written from Joy and Libby’s viewpoints.
Libby comes over and things seem to be going well. But Joy has long held a dark secret which someone knows and is threatening to reveal…
I loved this book. All the characters are beautifully written and I loved how the farmhouse was such a positive place. The puppies are gorgeous too! The community is very realistic and I could easily see the settings and the people in them. You come to care for both Joy and Libby early on in the story and root for them throughout.
The story is really well-paced, never becomes boring and all the threads weave beautifully through the book, tying up perfectly at the end. A complete delight!
9 out of 10
By Helen Rolfe
Published by Orion Fiction 17th February 2022 Paperback Original and ebook £7.99
The uplifting new novel from the author of The Little Village Library about second chances, making a community and finding where you belong
Home is where the heart is…
Joy has made a family for herself. She’s turned her beautiful old farmhouse into a safe haven for anyone who is looking for a new beginning. She’s always ready with a kind word, a nugget of advice and believes that anyone can change their life for the better, if they really want to.
Libby has exchanged her high-flying job in New York for a break in the quiet Somerset countryside. She’s soon drawn into Joy’s world and into her family of waifs and strays – including Drew, whom Joy once helped get back on his feet, and now helps out around the house.
So when a secret from Joy’s past threatens everything, can the unlikely group come together to give Joy a second chance of her own?
Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Ali McNamara!
Readers adore Helen’s heartwarming storytelling;
‘Enchanting… Employing all the warmth and charm of Maeve Binchy, and a special brand of kindness that she has made her own, Rolfe weaves together elements of mystery, romance, family relationships and the warmth of community in a story guaranteed to bring laughter, tears and miles of smiles’ Lancashire Post
‘A warm, comforting tale of family and community which brims with kindness and love’ Annie Lyons
‘A heartwarming story about family, forgiveness and the importance of kindness… If you’re looking for a feelgood novel in these difficult times, this is definitely it!’ Fiona Harper
‘A lovely community, full of friendship and love’
‘I enjoyed every minute of this book and found it very hard to put down’
‘Lovely, feel-good…filled with lots of love’
‘Gave you all the emotions: suspense, happiness and excitement’
About the author:
Helen Rolfe is the author of feel-good fiction. She writes romantic and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending.
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