Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Guest Review: Finding Hope at Hillside Farm by Rachael Lucas

Hillside Farm, nestled in the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside, is a safe haven for Ella. Living on the remote farm, with just horses and her aunt Bron for company, Ella thinks she has finally found a place where she can forget her past and find peace.
But the arrival of a small girl called Hope and her father Harry changes everything. As Ella helps the pair come to terms with their loss, she realizes that she too deserves happiness. But is it too late to find it?


Review: I very much enjoyed Wildflower Bay, the last Rachael Lucas novel I read, and was delighted to find this, her latest book, in a local shop. The synopsis sounded quite intriguing. Once started, I found myself engrossed and the chapters just flew by. I loved the sound of the village where the action takes place, even if I couldn’t pronounce its name! There is a fair amount of mention of equine matters in the story, but if, like me, you don’t know much about horses, that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book. 

The story is set in a small village in Wales, where Ella lives on Hillside Farm with her aunt Bron. Ella is a practicing equine therapist, who helps people deal with their problems through contact with her horses. She has always been careful to treat grown ups only, but makes an exception for a little girl, Hope, who has come to the village for a few months to live with her grandparents in a small cottage near to the farm. When Hope’s stepfather, Harry, appears on the scene, Ella’s past, which she thought she had escaped, comes flooding back. Will Ella be able to help herself while dealing with Hope’s and indeed Harry’s problems?

This was a really touching story which had me smiling a lot, but also tearful at times. Ella’s backstory was very sad, and I admired her courage in having turned things around - or had she? She was obviously very good at her job, but was she really happy hiding away in this lovely but very sheltered location? Another character I really respected was Hope’s grandmother, Jenny. She had taken bold action when faced with crisis in her family rather than sitting it out - very commendable in my opinion. I was not quite so convinced about Harry. He had been terribly wronged in his mind, but seemed too suddenly willing to forget all that. However, I can thoroughly recommend this book as an enjoyable read. As the cover suggests, it may be especially attractive to horse lovers, and the setting in the Welsh hills is very appealing.



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