Wednesday 16 February 2022

Guest Review: The Farmhouse of Second Chances by Helen Rolfe

Home is where the heart is...

Joy has made a family for herself. She's turned her beautiful old farmhouse into a safe haven for anyone who is looking for a new beginning. She's always ready with a kind word, a nugget of advice and believes that anyone can change their life for the better, if they really want to.

Libby has exchanged her high-flying job in New York for a break in the quiet Somerset countryside. She's soon drawn into Joy's world and into her family of waifs and strays - including Drew, whom Joy once helped get back on his feet.

So when a secret from Joy's past threatens everything, can the unlikely group come together to give Joy a second chance of her own?

Review: This author is a firm favourite of mine; I have read and enjoyed most of her books. This one unusually took me a while to get into, but once it had me hooked, I finished it in no time and was glad that I had stuck with it. The book has a lovely setting on a farm in the peaceful Somerset countryside that is owned by an amazing woman. 

The story concerns Joy, who is living in The Old Dairy, a farmhouse on the edge of a Somerset village. Now approaching the age of 70, she has shared the farmhouse with many less fortunate young people she has met along the way, trying to help them deal with their problems and set them on a better path in the world. She inherited the house and adjoining land from a kindly couple who took her in and helped her once upon a time. She herself was disowned by her family; the reason for this is a secret that she has kept to herself for many years and which emerges gradually as the story progresses. The only family member who has kept in contact is her niece, Libby, who arrives from the USA for a visit out of the blue; she knows nothing of the drama which caused the family rift all those years ago. She soon fits into life in the farmhouse, and becomes drawn to Drew, one of the people given a second chance by Joy’s kindness, and now a local business owner. However, Joy’s secret suddenly threatens to disrupt everything when it becomes known by an unscrupulous character, and she suddenly needs saving herself.

I can highly recommend this heartwarming story of a caring woman, her adopted family and a wonderful community. I was interested to read the background stories of some of the people who Joy has helped over the years, and loved that many have stayed around to repay her kindness. The story is full of likeable characters, whether in Joy’s immediate ‘family’ or in the village. I enjoyed the way in which the story was arranged, with different chapters told from the perspective of Joy or Libby. You can almost feel Libby relaxing into the new environment in which she finds herself - a far cry from the hustle and bustle of New York and a high pressure job. The way in which Joy’s secret of why she was cast out from her family emerges is very clever. There are little hints as to what went on, but I could never have guessed at the whole truth; it was a sad and amazing story with many repercussions. Once again, a marvellous story from Helen Rolfe that I’m sure others will enjoy.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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