Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley

Yay! First book review of 2015.  Also my first finished read of 2015.  Not my first book – I’m in the middle of a very long, very good book and an audiobook but I needed to read something on my Kindle to save carting a nearly 700 page paperback on the train to Birmingham.  And I had an advance copy of Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley from the publisher (via NetGalley) for review.  It turned out to be a very good choice.

Ivy Lane was first released as an ebook only in four sections – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter –  one every few months over the last year.  The complete novel is being released as both a paperback and an ebook in February (the ebook slightly before the paperback)

From spring to summer, autumn to winter, a lot can happen in a single year . . .
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 sweetpeas and let people back into her life – and her heart?
A charming and romantic story certain to make you smile – perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

I loved Tilly as a character.  In fact I loved pretty much all of the characters in Ivy Lane.  And I really enjoyed the book.  It kept me happily occupied on the journey to and from Birmingham and interested enough that when I got home I put it down long enough for the five minute roll (powerchair) from the station to my flat and to make a sandwich before picking it up agaijn and finishing it off.  So much for my planned night lazing in front of the telly (well, I did get some of that in after I finished it).

I kept hearing about Ivy Lane as each of the installments came out and thinking I should get them and give them a go.  I read Cathy Bramley’s first book Conditional Love late in 2013 (that link goes to my review) and liked it so I thought I’d like Ivy Lane and was keen to give it a read.  But I never quite got round to buying the installments.  And now I think that was probably a good thing because it’s a brilliant book and I enjoyed it a lot.  However each of the installments ends on a bit of a cliffhanger type moment and frankly I think having to wait ages for the next bit to come out would have driven me crazy.  I’m not a huge cliffhanger fan, much better when all you have to do is turn the page to resolve it.

Ivy Lane was a fun read and although in one or two places I thought “I wonder if this is what’s happening…” I wasn’t always right and even when I was it kept me guessing.  Whcih is good! Sometimes I think I’ve read too many books and am becoming jaded about them and writing reviews. Not this one.

Cathy Bramley’s next book will be Appleby Farm it’s also going to be released as a serial. And the main character of it was a minor character in Ivy Lane.  I’m looking forward to reading that and hoping we might find out a little about what happened next to Tilly and some of the other Ivy Lane characters along the way.

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