In this book review, Natasha Godbold samples the heavenly flavours at Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery courtesy of Cathy Bramley.
What can be more comforting than being enveloped in a bear hug when you are feeling down? Hearing the all-important words of support when you need them the most? Nursing a cup of tea by the fire on a cold gloomy day? Cathy Bramley’s latest novel – Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery – is all those things rolled into one. It’s one of the loveliest and most uplifting books I’ve ever read (and I have read my fair share). It’s like a slice of sunshine on a plate.
Even though Cathy Bramley hasn’t been on the scene as a full-time writer for very long, over the past few years, she has given us amazing books like Wickham Hall, Conditional Love and Ivy Lane, among others. As a result, she has won over many hearts and built a strong following. Cathy Bramley writes true to genre romantic comedies. In other words, she creates light-hearted feel-good novels.
Her books have this amazing quality to them – they make readers feel happy and put a smile on their faces. Time and time again, she brings to life wonderful characters and their heartfelt stories.
Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery is a story of a young girl named Hetty. At the tender age of seventeen, she had to make some grown-up choices and sacrificed her goals, dreams and aspirations for love. Fifteen years later, Hetty has no regrets. She is quite happy living on a farm with her adorable baby-girl and her farmer husband. Hetty is there for everybody, though she doesn’t feel like she has her own identity. But, maybe it’s not too late for Hetty to try to make something of herself to inspire her teenage daughter if nothing else.
Reading the book, I was literally transformed into the dreamy idyll of country living. Cathy’s description of a life on a sheep farm with all its every-day challenges and dramas is compelling. For those of you who love animals and have a soft spot for traditional country life, this colourful background will make the book extra special.
It made me fall in love with the novel before I even got to know all the characters.
Having read the Q & A and the Thank You sections at the end of the book, I still find it hard to believe that Cathy Bramley has never run a sheep farm herself. It’s so expertly written. The author shares an abundance of facts and insights into a farmer’s life to paint the picture.
The reader gets to witness the birth of a lamb and learns what the job of a shepherd really involves. And, you get to appreciate the difficulties the remarkable people who chose to be in this business go through.
You will also be inspired by how close-knit the community of farmers really is. They truly help one another in moments of need and have each other’s backs.
I truly enjoyed the vivid images of the farm animals and details of their daily life jumping off the pages. The book offers a taste of what it would be like to run your own farm.
And speaking of taste, through her delightful heroine, Cathy reveals some secrets of making the best short-crust pastry. Hetty views baking as a kind of therapy and is remarkably good at making pies. So much so, that she just might have a chance to make a name for herself.
Hetty has a gift for creating extraordinary fillings in her pies. And I am sure, the moment you start reading about them, you’ll desperately want to try your hand at recreating some of her wonderful ideas. If this book doesn’t inspire you to have a go at baking, nothing will.
As Hetty sets off on a journey of self-discovery, she resists temptation, struggles with guilt, faces her fears, confronts her past and learns the true meaning of sacrifice. When it comes to our loved ones, how far can we push the boundaries? How much is too much? And, is it possible to forgive a betrayal?
Reading Hetty’s story might make you ponder, is it better to be right or be happy?
My favourite quote from this book says it all: “What happens next is up to you… We can’t control everything, but we do have a choice over our own actions.”
As tempting as Hetty’s delicious pies sound, sadly, not all of us can indulge in her heavenly pastry. But, the good news is – the book is just as delectable and satisfying.
Furthermore, it’s completely fat and calorie-free! Enjoy it to your heart’s content. In fact, many of Cathy’s fans did just that, as Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery quickly climbed onto the top ten of the Sunday Times Bestseller list.
The book is a real treat, served with love and care, and made of tenderness and joy. It is another fantastic addition to Cathy’s ever-growing collection of fabulous books, a true gift to her readers.
Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery – Where and how
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Corgi (22 Mar. 2018)
Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.8 cm