Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley ~ BLOG TOUR!

This is it. A new chapter. Go for it, Tilly Parker. 


Title - Ivy Lane
Author - Cathy Bramley
Publication Date - 26th February 2015
Publisher - Transworld
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 416

The blurb

Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she seeks out peace and quiet in a new town, taking on a plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution. 

But the friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and gradually draw Tilly in to their cosy, comforting world of planting seedlings, organising bake sales and planning seasonal parties. 

As the seasons pass, will Tilly learn to stop hiding amongst the sweetpeas and let people back into her life - and her heart? 

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I'd like to thank the wonderful Sarah Harwood for inviting me along on the blog tour for Cathy Bramley's #IvyLane! I had already read Ivy Lane: Spring, but sadly hadn't been able to keep up with the rest of the seasons and their publication dates, so it was an absolute joy when I spotted the complete Ivy Lane story on Net Galley! I couldn't wait to get started and to carry on from where I'd left Tilly Parker and her story last time. Trust me when I say readers, that the wait damn near killed me! 

As of right now, I'm still trying to process my thoughts on Tilly Parker's story because it was just so bloody brilliant, so if I begin to ramble and make no sense at all, then that's my excuse! 

In Ivy Lane, we're introduced to Tilly Parker. Cathy begins to reveal to the reader that there is something that has led Tilly to her new destination, although the exact reason isn't revealed until a later point within the story. It's fair to say that I was intrigued instantly and my mind was whirring with all of the possible reasons as to why Tilly was there. She was beginning a new job in the local primary school, she was looking for peace and solitude, and all of these things pointed to Tilly's past and something dramatic which must have happened to make her want to start completely anew. Tilly's past remains a mysterious for quite a while which is something that I just adored. Every now and then, something would cause Tilly's eyes to swim with tears, and it became apparent that as the story progressed, I was getting closer and closer to figuring out what had happened to her before Ivy Lane. I found myself warming to Tilly immediately, not just because it was obvious that she'd suffered some sort of tragedy, but because she was just so damn likeable! Self-deprecating at times, comical, friendly and genuine, Tilly Parker was a woman who I could definitely see myself being friends with. What I loved the most though, without a shadow of a doubt, was Tilly's transition. Looking back now, from Spring to Winter, Tilly undergoes such a marvellous change and it truly warms my heart. Avoiding friendship and keeping herself to herself is Tilly's main plan of action when she first steps onto Ivy Lane territory, but as the seasons pass, her determined wall of solitude is chipped away at, and by the time winter arrives, Tilly Parker is like a brand new person. This change that takes place was incredibly beautiful to witness from a reader's perspective, and I was in awe of Cathy's superb talents when it came to matters of the heart. The entire Ivy Lane story was a big bundle of friendship, love, letting go of the past and welcoming in all that is new, positive and uplifting. It was a pure pleasure to journey alongside Tilly, and to watch her push through the surface and blossom into this new sparkling being, much like one of the seedlings of Ivy Lane itself. 

I think Cathy's decision to begin each new part of Tilly's story with a new season was genius. Not only did it enhance the whole gardening and weather themed feel of the story, but it had me thinking beforehand of all that I had to look forward to in the upcoming months! Whilst reading in summer, I found myself excited about what would be happening in October during Halloween, and in December for Christmas! The colourful, engaging inhabitants of the Ivy Lane allotments drew Tilly in despite her best efforts to not become involved with any of them, and it wasn't long until Tilly was planning social events and getting dressed up in a witches outfit! Along with the changing seasons came the changing weather. The sunshine swapped places with frost, and this of course affected the delights that the Ivy Lane gardeners would plant on their allotments! It was busy and thrilling and even though I'm the least green-fingered person in the world, I had this crazy urge to turf soil, plant potatoes and carrots, and to assemble my own little greenhouse! I just think that Cathy has got such a wonderfully cosy package with her Ivy Lane story. Everything fits so perfectly and I could honestly see myself living alongside Tilly and the rest of the Ivy Lane lot very, very happily. The atmosphere was inviting and I honestly cannot fault the author for a single thing. This is what reading is about; finding a place that feels so comfortable and homely that you'd love to visit and meet the characters, and maybe get a lesson or two in gardening while you're at it!

Ivy Lane is written in first person narrative from Tilly's point of view, but that didn't stop me from feeling as if I knew the other characters just as well. There were so many fabulous people to meet, and each time a new name or face popped up, I think my smile grew bigger and bigger. Gemma, who Tilly finds herself sharing half of a plot with at Ivy Lane allotments, turns out to be another main character with her own story going on alongside Tilly's. The two became friends quickly, and Gemma was a completely joy to be around. I looked forward to seeing her each and every time that Tilly toddled off to her plot, and adored the dialogue between them both. Despite Tilly not wanting to get too close to anyone after what had happened to her previously, Gemma slips into her heart very quickly, and it was a beautiful thing to watch happen. The same goes to most of the other Ivy Lane characters too, from Mia, Gemma's teenage daughter, to Alf, an elderly man who gives the best advice and who Tilly becomes very fond of. All walks of life could be found in Ivy Lane, and I constantly found myself looking forward to diving back into the story whenever the chance arose. 

Ivy Lane itself was like a little slice of paradise. At first, Tilly thinks this because it's going to offer peace and quiet to her, something which is much needed, but as the seasons continue to change, it becomes so much more than that. What was once seen as a place of alone time quickly turns into Tilly's escape. Surrounded by friends and chatter and business, it's almost as if life takes over and says, "Come on Tilly, it's time to let go now. Here are some friends, here are some vegetables. Work your magic and be happy." Quite simply, Ivy Lane felt like home. A place of comfort and happiness and positivity. 

Becca's Books is giving Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley five gorgeous cupcakes! I adored this story from page to page. I loved the characters, the atmosphere that immediately drew me in, the fresh veg and, of course, Tilly Parker. I feel as if I've made a new friend, learnt a new hobby, and watched someone go on a real adventure. This story will remain with me for a very long time, and I recommend it to EVERYBODY! Uplifting, emotional at times, but all in all, Ivy Lane is the perfect escape and I could escape there again and again and again. Cathy, thank you so much! I cannot wait to read more from you in the future. 









  


3 comments :

  1. Oh Becca, I think this has to be the most wonderful review I have ever read. I am so thrilled to hear your take on the story and overwhelmed with the impact it hsa made on you. Thank you so much for sharing your review.
    Cathy xx

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  2. I have not read any of the smaller novellas to this to keep it for the final proper book. I want to buy it as a book rather than a jo doe as raving reviews by all that I have read. Will purchase when book ban over. Well done on such a fantastic book.

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