Earlier this year I had the pleasure of participating in the Blog Tour for Love Heart Lane, the first in the brand new Heartcross series from Christie Barlow. Having fallen in love with the setting and the host of characters introduced in the first book I didn’t hesitate to jump on board for the current tour for book two, Foxglove Farm! Today it’s my stop and I’m sharing my thoughts on this newly published novel, enjoy!
Return to Love Heart Lane for friendship, romance and a community who will be be there for you no matter what…
Isla and Drew Allaway appear to have the perfect life–a strong marriage, two beautiful children and their picture-perfect home, Foxglove Farm.
But, new mum Isla is struggling.She loves her little family but with Drew working all hours on the farm, Isla’s lonely.
When she discovers that Drew has been keeping secrets from her, Isla has to face losing the home they all love.
Can the Love Heart Lane community pull together once more to help save Foxglove Farm?And can Isla save her home…and her marriage?
To the outside world Isla and Drew Allaway have the perfect life; a happy marriage, two wonderful children and a thriving business, but Isla knows something has changed. Her once passive, loving husband has become distant and prone to flying off the handle when asked even the simplest of questions. As a result, the communication between the pair has become practically non-existent leaving poor Isla with a whole host of scenarios dancing across her mind as to why her husband has morphed into someone she no longer recognises.
Struggling to understand where things have gone wrong Isla has to draw on her inner strength to try and hold her family together, that is until a tragic accident reveals the truth behind Drew’s behaviour. At her lowest ebb Isla needs the help of her nearest and dearest to avert potential ruin and salvage not only her relationship but her whole livelihood.
I have been so excited to immerse myself again in the Heartcross community and discover more about its inhabitants and this latest book certainly delivered everything I wanted and more! Whilst the focus of this book is on the Allaway family I really enjoyed the updates about the characters I fell in love with in Love Heart Lane which are littered throughout. Having said that Foxglove Farm also works as a standalone novel as lots of historical events are recapped sufficiently so you aren’t left with lots of questions or blanks to fill in.
Christie Barlow has an amazing talent for creating relatable characters that display their human flaws for all to see which is so refreshing as I personally get bored of reading about ‘perfect’ lives, let’s face it it’s just not realistic. I love how in this book Barlow has taken the somewhat taboo subject of male mental health and chosen to put it in the spotlight, highlighting the realities and struggles sufferers face, which she has executed in such a wonderfully sensitive way.
I’ve read plenty of books with female protagonists who struggle with mental health issues, but this is the first one I’ve found that focuses on offering the male perspective and it’s definitely something I think we need to see more of in the book community as these kinds of problems do not discriminate in any way and everyone is vulnerable.
Foxglove Farm leaves you with an uplifting, feel-good factor as you close its final page thanks to the wonderful community spirit and pulling together during hard times by the residents of the small village of Heartcross. However, this story isn’t all light-hearted and in fact deals with some serious, pertinent issues too which is something Barlow does superbly well, combining the highs and lows to create a real page-turning read.
I absolutely loved this book and read it in only a day as I was unable to put it down! I’ve been reliably informed that this isn’t going to be the last offering from Heartcross with the next book Clover Cottage already in the pipeline. With such a wonderful cast to characters I’m sure there will be many more opportunities to jump back into the Highlands life and discover more about both familiar and new faces along the way. I certainly can’t wait to see what happens next and I’d highly recommend the Heartcross Series if you are looking for something new to read.
About The Author
Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia.
Christie is an ambassador for Zuri Project raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for Mama Life Magazine bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.