Tuesday 14 July 2015

Reviewed: Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin.

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm will be published by Carina on July 17, 2015.

Thanks to the author and publisher for auto-approving me for a copy on Netgalley.

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm is the latest book by Rebecca Raisin, an author whose books I love more than anything. There’s something about Rebecca’s books that are so warm and inviting that I find I never want to leave them and Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm was no exception. Here, we meet Lucy who is a kind-hearted, caring character who is lovely but really does need to have a bit more self-belief. Lucy’s mum has an illness which will see her health decline and her lifespan gradually decrease and so other than working her fingers to the bone, Lucy dedicates her time to caring for her mum. Lucy answers her mum’s every request which is why when her mum asks her to take a year out, a year to focus on herself and live her own life, Lucy begrudgingly gets on a bus and finds herself in Ashford, the place I fell in love with back in Rebecca’s previous books. The story that follows is so charming and enticing, another winner of a novel from Rebecca that will send you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

There’s a tender and touching exploration of the relationship between mother and daughter all throughout this novel. I loved the bond between Lucy and her mum, how they were the best of friends and how they had so much love and respect for each other. At times I felt like I could identify with their relationship and see similarities to the bond I had with my mum – the laughter in the toughest of circumstances, the regular texting and always seeking out the latest gossip rather than wallowing in the sadness life brings. They were so close and it must have been so difficult for both Lucy and her mum to even consider Lucy taking a year away but that it happened, to me, showed the immense care they had for each other and how to each of them, the wishes and happiness of the other person was the most important thing in the world.

When Lucy is in Ashford, her life changes completely but I did like how she never lost touch with her mum and always tried to get in touch, even with a little message, to show she was still there for her. Equally, it was just as inspiring and uplifting to see Lucy let go and build her own life. I just knew as soon as she got on that bus to Ashford that she was going to fit right in. Rebecca’s Ashford is the place I would most like to live in the world. There is such heart, soul and magic to that town, let me tell you. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a Gingerbread café, little bookshop and a maple syrup farm? I got a little kick out of meeting all the characters from Rebecca’s previous books again – CeeCee, Lil, Sarah and Becca to name but a few of the delightful characters brought back. The spirit of friendship in this book is a joy to read. The characters liven things up with their love of life and laughter and I always adore how they come together in a crisis and are always thinking of the next thing they can do to help. They’re so thoughtful and generous with their time and no wonder nobody ever wants to leave Ashford with neighbours like them.

The main strand of this story revolves around Lucy and Clay. Lucy is in need of a job and Clay is in need of a worker on the maple syrup farm he has inherited, though he’s not likely to admit it in a hurry. Lucy is strong though and wins him over quite quickly, or at least wins herself a job since Clay is not the easiest person to connect with. Clay is a little offhand and a little uptight and I couldn’t figure out why. There was something about him that we get a glimpse of on occasions that showed there was a little more to his character than just a grumpy soul but I was intrigued and really wanted to know what had turned him into this person who really needed to lighten up. Getting to know Clay was one of the most interesting parts of this novel and I was whooping and shouting and encouraging (on the inside) to get him to open up a bit. I was seriously crazy excited the first time he laughed properly. He was all brooding and mysterious and I found his story surprising but quite heartening. I could ramble about Clay all week long…

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm was a story that captured me instantly and it flowed in such an easy manner it made it difficult to put down. I’ve found that every time Rebecca has a new book, each one seems to have a bit more depth and substance to it which is really lovely to read. I like seeing every layer built up and Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm does live up to its title as there are secrets always just around the corner. Rebecca constructs beautiful sentence after beautiful sentence and turns them into a gorgeous book. I lost count of the number of sentences, of quotes that I highlighted on my Kindle because they resonated with me or because they were simply stunning. The naturally descriptive tone to her writing is enchanting and whether she was describing the baking at the café, the feel of the bookshop, the artwork or the parts that made the farm come to life, she makes you want to get on a bus straight to Ashford, make it your home and never, ever leave.

A touching story mixed with laughter and secrets, a reminder of how important it is to live your own life


  1. Gorgeous review, Sophie! Wouldn't it be so great to live in Ashford?!

    1. It would! Shall we move there? xx

    2. YES! Just imagine, all Rebecca's biggest fans in one little town, eating gingerbread and reading all day! :) <3

    3. Yes! We could settle into Sarah's bookshop and pop into the Gingerbread cafe - heaven! x

  2. Mmmmmm this book sounds great. Not sure it is good for my diet though. 🍓🍉🍒🍥🍪🍩

  3. Such a fantastic and special review, it sounds really really good. A big hug. xxx


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