Thursday, September 3, 2020

BLOG TOUR - A Year at Appleyard Farm


Down a winding lane lined with strawberry trees and wildflowers lies Appleyard Farm, a beautiful orchard in the English countryside. And in a little farmhouse in the furthest corner, a young woman has a difficult decision to make…

Life on Appleyard Farm is all Freya Sherbourne has ever known. Having spent her childhood playing in the emerald green meadows and berry picking until sunset, Freya intends to call the farmhouse home forever. But when her father suddenly passes away and Appleyard Farm goes up for sale, Freya’s world comes crashing down.

Holding back the tears, she starts packing boxes while waiting for a buyer. Now the river no longer sparkles, and the apples taste a little less sweet. Until Freya learns the exciting news that her best friends Merry and Willow are moving nearby to open a local shop. And when someone from her past re-emerges, handsomer than ever and offering to mend the cracks in her broken heart, Freya’s eyes begin to twinkle once again.

But falling in love is scary, especially when you don’t know what the future holds. And when Freya discovers that her new love has been keeping a secret, one that threatens both their fragile relationship and the farm, she risks losing everything.

With the clock ticking, will Freya choose to follow her heart or save the farm? Or can she find a way to do both?

Told in four parts, this is a gorgeous story about love, friendship and new beginnings. Fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Debbie Johnson should grab a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on the sofa and prepare to be carried away!

A Year at Appleyard Farm was previously published as four short stories: Merry Mistletoe, Spring Fever, Gooseberry Fool, and Blackberry Way.



Title:   A Year at Appleyard Farm
Author:  Emma Davies
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Romance; Women's Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   517
Date of Publication:   September 3, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars

In this touching story by Emma Davies, we have four separate stories that show how love and second chances change the lives of several people. 


Freya Sherbourne lost her father several months ago, and she has decided that she needs to sell her orchard and perhaps go to work for her friend Merry. However, a stranger named Amos that she gave a place to lay his head changed her life in remarkable ways. She is currently living with her boyfriend, but they are drifting apart. For now, it is time for Freya to sell her wares at a local fare. This certainly will be her very last season. However, Freya finds herself in competition with Sam Henderson in more ways than one. The two shared a past, but there is more. Freya also shared a past with Sam's brother Stephen, and she cannot stand the sight of the man.

This touching story was a great read and a perfect start to this collection of stories. I loved Amos and how his insights played into Freya's future.


Merry and Tom are getting a fresh start. They are new parents to baby Robyn and are moving into a new home. They had been running a small hotel, but now they hope to begin a new business, one that will be called Five Penny House. However, the house needs a lot of work. What is more is that it is said to be cursed. With friends Freya and Sam, Merry and Tom try to ignore that rumor and are greatly looking forward to the hard work ahead.

However, as a new mother, Merry has some serious concerns. Her long friendship with Freya helps her to cope with those issues, especially when a very serious event takes place that could be utterly devastating. Just like Freya had Amos while her life was changing, someone appears in Merry's life. Her name is Cora and her insights are quite valuable. 


Willow's strawberry fields are doing quite well. She imagines that she can grow her business even more than it is, especially if she can get her husband Jude to help her. However, as close as they are, along with being the parents of twin girls, there is something that seems to be drawing Jude away. Just as sensitive as the first two stories, this one has an air of mystery about it. Jude has secrets, and Willow begins to worry about the future of their land. 

However, Willow is not alone with things changing as she has good friends Merry and Freya right by her side. Hopefully Willow will not end up at cross purposes with Jude. This story was just as sensitive as the first two and I enjoyed their conflict but especially the resolution.


Stephen has finally gotten back into the good graces with his brother Sam and also with Freya. Sam and Freya are about to get married. While Stephen will be serving as the best man, Freya will still need a lot of help. She finds someone that fits the bill and her name is Laura. However, Laura is reticent and with very good reason.

Meanwhile, one day while on his bike, Stephen runs (literally) into Laura. He soon learns that she is deaf, and then so does Freya. Laura had a very traumatic past and very recent events might thrust her into a larger crowd than she is prepared to handle. While Freya and Laura begin to work together, there is a situation that throws Stephen and Laura together. If love at first sight is real, then Stephen has been struck. This doesn't mean that things will be easy for him and Laura, however. 

I especially loved this story because in the first one in this collection, Stephen was all but despicable. I loved the fact that he became a changed man and I loved watching him fall for Laura, despite their apparent obstacles.

Concluding thoughts

When this book came up for review, there was no doubt that I would read it. I have read several books by Emma Davies so I knew that I would be in for something special. She writes a great mix of women's fiction and romance, and I even read a mystery by her. Well, with this collection of stories, I got just what I bargained for: an excellent read. One that was utterly compelling. 

I loved the sensitivity of each story, the realness of the characters, the drama and conflicts, as well as  the infusion of special characters like Amos and Cora. All in all, this book gave me the reader a very warm feel throughout. Although each story was only just over a hundred pages or so each, they all felt complete to me. Of course, they all tied together, and this only raised the level of continuity and completeness. I never did read this book in its previous publication, so to get the chance to do so now made my heart sing. It is a wonderful demonstration of love, family and friendship that captivated my attention from beginning to end.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: 'I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.' Well the job in the design studio didn't work out but she's now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It's a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea. 

Author Social Media Links:
Pop over to her website

where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor /
or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her):


  1. I like the breakdown of this collection

  2. Glad to see you liked it, I have this one on my cloud

  3. Sounds like a sweet read with many intertwining stories. ❤️

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this! I'll have to read this with some apple cider