It’s such a pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore, published on 20th March, available for kindle and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US (and via Kindle Unlimited), or in paperback (dedicated and signed) via the author’s website. My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invitation, and to Celia for my advance reading e-copy.
I often start my posts by telling everyone what a pleasure it is to share a review or join a tour, but this time it’s rather more personal. You might just remember my review of Celia’s first book, Fox Halt Farm (you can read it again here). It was an unusual review for me – I’d followed her journey to publication, and although filled with admiration at the way she’d tackled such an ambitious and complex story on her first outing, it was really difficult to admit that I didn’t find it entirely perfect. She – very bravely – asked me for more detailed feedback, and I (perhaps equally bravely!) did just that.
Using all the feedback she’d received from readers, Celia then revised the book, and the new edition is now available – and I’m really very proud that she placed a quote from my review on the front cover and singled me out for a special mention in the acknowledgements of her latest book. Celia, thank you – I’m immensely touched. This book is the sequel to Fox Halt Farm, and if you’d like to catch up on that first book – the revised and improved edition – it’s free on Amazon for kindle until Saturday 6th April (11.59pm PDT).
So, on to the new book – and a considerably easier review…
When Billy reaches out to help, her kindness brings many changes which threaten hopes, homes, and even the people she loves the most.
Who is the Culmfield Cuckoo?
Will they help Billy get her life back? Or is the Cuckoo the cause of everything that is going wrong?
Who is telling the truth?
Although this book is perfectly readable as a stand-alone, its story complete within the covers, I do think you might just enjoy it most if you have read the first book and have some knowledge of the former trials and tribulations of the characters. But, should it be your first experience of the author’s writing, she does do an excellent job of introducing her large cast, with clear introductions and just enough detail about what went before.
I really liked the way this story combined the continuing love story of Billy and Richard with a strong and convincing story of family mystery and intrigue, really well-wrought and full of unexpected twists and turns. I very much liked the story’s construction, with its enticing prologue set in a police interview room, the knowledge that Michael is dead, and the question mark over Billy’s part in it – and then the story backtracks a little, following the events that led up to that point, then moving beyond it to a really gripping conclusion. The whole story is very well-paced too – lingering when it needs to, but picking up speed when the unfolding drama demands it.
I particularly enjoyed the strong sense of place – Fox Hall Farm itself with its potholed track, ramshackle buildings and newer dairy, the small details about the cheese-making and the farm shop, and the descriptions of its surroundings infused with a real sense of history. I remember being impressed by the author’s descriptive powers when I read her first book, and I was equally so this time – I also really liked the vividly drawn chapel at Culmfield, with its sumptuous decoration, contrasted with the poignancy and simplicity of Saffi’s grave with its sunflowers blooming on his birthday.
The characters are excellent. The voices of Billy and Richard are clear and distinctive through their first person accounts, allowing for the sharing of thoughts and feelings that give them real depth: but I was also fascinated by Mary and her secrets, the trauma that Jessica had endured to make her a shell of her former self, and I very much liked the family relationships and the way the younger characters were drawn.
So, is it primarily a romance or a mystery? It really does successfully combine the key elements of both – the uncertain outcome for its central relationship engaged my heart, but it was the unfolding drama and mystery that had me reading into the early hours to the book’s conclusion. And it’s quite a conclusion – a very clever epilogue, and a quite perfect postscript to a really engaging story.
I very much enjoyed this one – and I do rather hope that we’ll be getting the opportunity will see what the future brings for Billy, Richard and the wider cast of characters in whose lives I’ve become so involved.
With thanks to Celia and Rachel, I’m delighted to be able to offer the chance to win an Amazon gift card for £15/ $15, open internationally. Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Terms and Conditions Worldwide entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author
Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.