Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn – Jessica Redland

Published By: Boldwood
Pages: 409
Released On: 24/01/2023

Welcome to Bumblebee Barn, home to wonderful animals, stunning views and spectacular sunsets – and resident young farmer, Barney.

While Barney loves his life at Bumblebee Barn – a farm that has been in his family for generations – he’s struggling to find someone to share it with. The early mornings quad biking through muddy fields and the long hours looking after the crops and animals are proving to be a deterrent to finding love.

So when his sister, Fizz – desperate for Barney to find his soulmate – sees an advert for Love on the Farm, a new reality TV show to help farmers find love, he has nothing to lose by applying. After all, he isn’t meeting anyone suitable down the traditional route and surely he won’t be picked anyway…?

Thrown into the chaos of reality TV, Barney could never have expected that his whole life would be turned upside down, with buried secrets to be uncovered and his heart on the line. With his family and friends rooting for him, could the magic of Bumblebee Barn heal his broken heart and help him find love on the farm?

*****

Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I’m not sure I’ve hidden my love for Jessica Redland very well. She has very quickly become one of my all time favourite authors, a go-to for uplifting stories full of heart, which is impressive seeing as I only found her books in 2021. Her books are like sunshine in paper form.

The first thing I want to know, is where do I get a Barney in my life? Handsome man, loves dogs, is a farmer = perfecto! Please send him my way.

I really loved how Barney was explored. Men in fiction are often depicted as these strong, alpha heroes who don’t have feelings. But he’s been described very sensitively. He’s very human. He has emotions, he feels lonely, he wants love. And that’s not often explored in fictional men.

I loved that Jessica dropped in some characters from her Hedgehog Hollow series – Fizz, Draco’s and Phoebe. You don’t have to have read the Hedgehog series to keep up with them in this book, but it was a nice touch for those who have.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, her writing, storytelling and character building is second to none. The only thing I didn’t like was the reality TV plot, which I know is the majority of the book. And that’s not a negative comment on her writing at all, she writes it very well. I personally cannot stand reality dating shows. I love a bit of Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off, but the dating shows give me the heebie-jeebies. And so it was more a personal opinion on the choice of topic, I hope that makes sense. It’s not a negative on her writing. If anything, it’s a positive, as she’s perfectly encapsulates all I dislike about the shows. I’m not sure even the promise of a hunky farmer at the end of it would convince me to appear on one.

It is very much a happily ever after type book – exactly what I’ve come to expect from her work – but it does pull an emotional punch getting there. You’ll find yourself mixing genuine smiles with rolling tears.

What I love about her books, and this one, is you know you’re going to get that warm, fluffy, cosy, beautiful ending, but it doesn’t hold back getting there. In this we have death and grief, mental and physical illness, affairs…all the things most readers will recognise and empathise with.

When a much loved authors brings out a new book – especially one that isn’t part of a tried and tested series – you start wondering if it’ll be as good. And whilst the whole reality TV premise wasn’t for me (see reasons above), I became fully invested in the characters’ stories and it definitely lived up to what I expect from her. I know this was a standalone novel, but I would be thrilled if she decided to expand it further.

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