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Monday, March 16, 2015

Ivy Lane: Complete story by Cathy Bramley

Title:  Ivy Lane: Complete story

Author: Cathy Bramley
Publisher: 26th February 2015 by Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
ISBN: 9780552171236
Pages: 416 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: romance, women’s fiction, chick lit
My Rating:  four crowns


Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution.

But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organizing bake sales and planning seasonal parties.

As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweet peas and let people back into her life – and her heart?

My thoughts:

Ivy Lane is a first person narrative from the main character, Tilly. However, that doesn’t stop you from getting to know the other characters well and there are so many to meet. In fact, I really enjoyed the secondary characters and found myself just as much invested in their development throughout the book as with the main characters. So many of them were easy to relate and become attached to – on more than one occasion I found myself wishing that I was jumping on my bike and peddling down to share with the folk at Ivy Lane.

“Despite my attempts to remain aloof I felt as if this tight little community was pulling me in”.

As one might expect from a book centred around life on a shared garden allotment, this is not an action packed, fast paced read. Instead you are presented with a sweet chick lit stroll that unfolds at a gentle pace with a satisfying journey to complete.  And it’s funny! There are some great humorous moments sprinkled throughout this tale:

“I glanced round, hoping that someone else would need the loo soon. Where were all the weak bladders when you needed them?”

I have to admit to having a real affinity to Tilly. I just loved her teacher tales (being a teacher myself) and the fact she was a ‘home body’ (also like myself) had me nodding my head in empathetic agreement.

“Unfortunately, as soon as I pushed open the door I knew I’d made a mistake. The pub was packed, noisy and for a stay-at-home girl like me, totally intimidating”.

I did have a few issues with certain parts of the story. Tilly’s past was dragged out just a tad too much for my liking.  I confess to some ‘eye rolling’ when Tilly would tear up (again!) or be found running from the room (again!).  And the romantic aspect which later developed was also a bit predictable but I was willing to overlook that – it is chick lit after all!
“”I blinked rapidly as unbidden tears popped into my eyes. Here we go again”.

Overall, however, this story offers a guaranteed happily ever after.  It’s great escapism and the perfect read to curl up with for a restful retreat.  It’s a tale of friendship, love, trust and understanding when the time is right to move on. You will be glad you took the trip to Ivy Lane; in fact, you will find it hard to leave. I have heard a whisper that the author is writing another story based on a minor character – sign me up now! I would love to venture back into this garden!
“It was really happening, plot 16B was coming back to life. And as I returned Gemma’s hug, it occurred to me that perhaps I was too … we could do it, me and my plot. We might be battered and damaged, but we could start again and hopefully come back stronger”.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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