Bramblewick is a pretty little village, nestling on the North York Moors. Travel over the stone bridge which crosses the beck that runs down from the moors and alongside the village, and you’ll find beautiful cottages, an ancient church, and a variety of small businesses, including a teashop/bakery called Spill the Beans and a busy pub, The Bay Horse. You’ll also find the village medical practice, which is a branch surgery of the main practice in the local market town of Helmston. At the Bramblewick surgery, you’ll meet receptionists Anna and Holly, GPs Connor and Riley, and new practice nurse, Rachel.
Bramblewick is surrounded by various moorland villages, such as Hasedale, Newarth, Moreton Cross, and Farthingdale, and it’s just a short drive to the coastal delights of Kearton Bay and Whitby. It’s also completely fictional, as are all the places I’ve just listed (except Whitby, obviously) but each one of them features in various books of mine, and Bramblewick is the main setting for three of them – New Doctor at Chestnut House, Christmas at the Country Practice, and now Fresh Starts at Folly Farm.
This new book features Rachel, the practice nurse at the rapidly-expanding surgery, and Xander, a man with a secret and also a love for animals. Xander is a sucker for a hard-luck story, and when he hears about any animal in trouble, he just can’t say no, which brings him directly to a run-down farm that’s seen better days, and into the lives of Rachel, her mum Janie, and young son, Sam.
They’ve all been through tough times, which is perhaps why they can relate to the animals Xander brings to them. Animals like Duke, an elderly dog whose owners are about to emigrate and whose future is looking very bleak indeed.
Then there’s Little Red, a tiny kitten, only days old, who has the worst possible start in life. And there are other arrivals at the farm, too, each one with a story to tell and each one bringing Xander and Rachel ever closer, as the occupants of Folly Farm – animal and human – reach for the fresh start they all deserve.
Little Red and Duke were inspired by animals within my own family, and I hope you like the pictures of them. They are very much loved and very well looked-after, and their owners couldn’t be more proud of them! Fred’s story came from a news article I heard about and, I have to say, I was pretty shocked that something like that could actually happen. Sad to say, stories like Fred’s are becoming more common.
Fresh Starts at Folly Farm is, however, a feel-good romance with a guaranteed happy ending, so don’t worry that it will make you too sad. I really enjoyed writing this one, and I hope you all enjoy the third instalment of this series. There is more to come from Bramblewick! Here’s the blurb:
Rachel Johnson has returned to her childhood home in Bramblewick, a small village on the North York Moors. Taking up a position as practice nurse at the village surgery, Rachel hopes she can rebuild her own life, and provide a better life for her young son, Sam.
But Folly Farm isn’t what it used to be. Since the death of Rachel’s father, the spark seems to have disappeared from her mother. No longer a working farm, the place seems neglected and sad.
Sam is clearly resentful of the changes in his life and, after a worrying incident at the school, Rachel fears that the move has come too late. Trying to settle into a new job, aware of her mother’s obvious loneliness, and fretting over the state of the farm on top of everything else, her new start isn’t working out as she’d hoped.
Then, one morning, Rachel’s mother finds a horse in the stables, and life at Folly Farm changes forever.
You can buy Fresh Starts at Folly Farm here.
Have a great week!