Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review of Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden

Farm Fatale: A Comedy of Country ManorsFarm Fatale: A Comedy of Country Manors by Wendy Holden is light, fun, and a perfect example of British chicklit.

The blurb:
A witty, beloved novel of heart and heartland, Farm Fatale skewers the culture clash of city vs. country in the snappy, observant style that made Wendy Holden famous.

Cash-strapped Rosie and her boyfriend mark are city folk longing for a country cottage.  Rampant nouveaux riches Samantha and Guy are also searching for rustic bliss -- in the biggest mansion money can buy.  The village of Eight Mile Bottom seems quiet enough, despite a nosy postman, a reclusive rock star, a glamorous Bond Girl, and a ghost with a knife in its back.  But there are unexpected thrills in the hills, and Rosie is rapidly discovering that country life isn't so simple after all.

Farm Fatale: A Comedy of Country Manors opens in present day London which sounds busy, exhausting, and expensive.  We're seeing the city from the point of view of Rosie, an illustrator, disillusioned with what the City has to offer.

Rosie is tired of London -- the expensive and cramped apartment, the crowded subways, and the noise. She dreams of moving to the country, having a small cottage and a garden, but unfortunately, her boyfriend Mark prefers living in the City.  Mark isn't interested in moving -- he's far more interested in his career as a journalist and eventually getting his own column.

When Mark sells his editor on a new column "Green-er Pastures" where Mark will write about swapping city life for "rural heaven," Rosie gets her wish.   The couple searches for the ideal home on their tiny budget -- the real estate journey fun on its own. But the real adventure begins when they settle into the village of Eight Mile Bottom.

Eight Mile Bottom has a fun crew of characters  - here are a few that you'll meet:

Samantha - wealthy B-movie actress who has an A+ ego. Samantha's got an eye on the headlines and is eager to be one of the celebrities "escaping to the countryside."  Samantha buys Bottoms, one of the oldest and largest estates in Eight Mile Bottom, and "modernizes" the place using her unique taste and a team of decorators.

Guy - Samantha's meal ticket.  He's loud, crude and a whiz at finance.  As Guy spends more time with Samantha in their new home (Bottoms) he starts to see her more clearly - and it's not a pretty sight.

Matt - a superstar musician whose first two albums went platinum.  Something happened and Matt fled from the public eyes -- he's become a hermit.  His neighbors and the press keep an eye out for celebrity sightings!

Duffy - the postman with no respect for the privacy of the Royal Mail.  He's also the Village's biggest gossip.  Duffy had wanted to be a journalist -- and his perseverance and questions indicate he would have been a good fit.

John - a dairy and sheep farmer in the neighborhood.  He's tall, well-built, good looking and seems to be developing an interest in Rosie.

 Mrs. Womersley - Mark and Rosie's elderly neighbor who is very good with her hands: cooking, baking, gardening, sewing, etc.  She's also John's aunt and isn't above match-making.

Add to this mix a former Bond Girl, a posh best friend and her spoiled child, and a series of misunderstandings and you have Farm Fatale.  Rosie is flighty, funny, kind, unlucky in love and a likable character - can't help but cheer for her.  Farm Fatale: A Comedy of Country Manors is a fun, romantic comedy - British style.

ISBN-10: 1402237162 - Trade Paperback $14.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (July 1, 2010), 432 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Wendy Holden wanted to be a writer from an early age,  and Yorkshire, where she was born, was a great inspiration in this respect. A few miles away from where she'd lived as a child was Haworth Parsonage, home of the Bronte sisters.

Wendy read English at Cambridge in 1983. She met her husband Jon; he was studying French and Russian at King’s College.   Her first job was on the art magazine Apollo; after this she went to work on a magazine for foreign diplomats in London. She also worked as deputy editor of the Sunday Times Style section.  Her first novel, Simply Divine, was published in 1999.  Learn more on Wendy Holden's website at http://www.officialwendyholden.com/

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