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Posted December 9, 2008
A terrific amusing inspirational character study
Reticent Kate Howard arrives in the rural Yorkshire hills to work as a receptionist at the Barleybridge Veterinary Hospital that has a vast menagerie of clients ranging from pets to farm animals. The workforce and most of the customers are friendly to the newcomer. Especially nice and encouraging is another outsider Australian veterinarian Scott Spencer, who pushes her to become a vet too though her one attempt at the test was disastrous.------------ Kate is attracted to her handsome mentor, but is wise enough to know she is out of his league. While Scott encourages her to try again, Kate¿s boyfriend Adam ridicules her dreams and aspirations saying she proven she can¿t make it. Kate has decisions personal and professional to make turning to her kindhearted boss Joy, who can commiserate as she too furtively love one of the vets.---------- A COUNTRY AFFAIR, the first of the Barleybridge trilogy (COUNTRY WIVES AND COUNTRY LOVERS are to be released in America later), is a terrific amusing inspirational character study. Kate and Joy are the stars as they make decisions on what they want out of life. The support cast is solid and somewhat eccentric whether they are pet owners, other vet employees or the lead duo¿s family. Fans will appreciate this upbeat insightful look at two women making the best of a good life in a small English village.---------- Harriet Klausner
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Posted June 14, 2012
I’m an addict when it comes to the heartwarming sort of s
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I’m an addict when it comes to the heartwarming sort of small town story, the kind that involves a large cast of characters living unremarkable lives but you can’t help wanting to know what’s going to happen next. You know the kind of books I mean, Jan Karon’s Mitford, Ann B. Ross’s Miss Julia, Thomas Kinkade’s Cape Light, Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilts. The geographical setting doesn’t matter too much, although I prefer North America or the UK and, if animals are involved, I like it even more. James Herriot is one of my favorite writers and I never tire of his Yorkshire Dales veterinarian stories so, when I came across this book, I settled down for what I was sure would be a comfortable read. It didn’t quite make it but it came close.
Kate Howard has just taken a job as a receptionist in a large veterinary practice in Barleybridge, a picture-postcard English village where life is generally charming. Most of the novel revolves around the doings of the people, not so much about the animals, and I missed that. I didn’t like all the characters but that’s okay as it would be a bit too sappy if everybody was likable. Still, one of the vets commits a fairly cowardly act and Kate herself is a tad too naive. I reminded myself, though, that she’s just nineteen so she’s allowed to be a bit immature.
I didn’t dislike this book but I didn’t wholeheartedly like it either. Rebecca Shaw is a bestselling author in England so I’ll be reading the next in the trilogy to see if Kate and everybody else in the village will grow on me.
Recommended with reservations.