Wednesday 11 March 2015


Book review: Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley

My edition: Paperback, published on 12 February 2015 by Corgi, 464 pages.

Description: 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, organizing 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?


I love Cathy Bramley. I had the privilege to read her first novel, Conditional Love, when she self-published it and I have been a fan of her wonderful writing ever since. So when I first heard that she was going to be published by Transworld I was very excited at the prospect of getting the chance to read more novels by her hand. And her first paperback release, Ivy Lane, does not disappoint.

The story centres on Tilly Parker who is making a fresh start in a quiet market town in Derbyshire. All she wants is some peace and quiet and she thinks the local Ivy Lane allotments will provide the perfect opportunity, as she can focus on the growth of the food on her little patch of earth, rather than on the terrible things that made her flea from her former life.

What Tilly hasn't taken into consideration was the daily hustle and bustle of the community at the allotments. Instead of getting to work quietly and with her head down, her fellow gardeners soon befriend Tilly and rope her in for an array of activities organised by the allotment committee. Against all odds she enjoys herself, and while it wasn't the peace she went out to seek, in a different way it also provides a perfect distraction from her former life. But ignoring her past, will Tilly ever be able to truly move on and find happiness?

Initially released in four individual digital parts, the whole novel has now been published and I whizzed through it at rapid speed as I fell in love with main character Tilly and her new friends at the Ivy Lane allotments. I have never been a big fan of gardening myself, but Cathy has sold it to me with her beautiful descriptions of Tilly's rewarding work on her own little space – not to mention the fact that you can meet gorgeous men while gardening, who knew?

And Tilly wasn't the only one I fell in love with. The aforementioned gorgeous men aside, I absolutely adored Alf, an elderly gentlemen who'd been taking care of his plot by himself after his wife of many years passed away; and beautician Gemma, who was not only a very funny character to read about but also became a genuine and close friend to Tilly.

Ivy Lane tells a heart-warming, sweet and uplifting tale of friendship, romance and getting your hands dirty. Filled to the brim with loveable characters, a compelling story and a tearjerker, or two, Cathy Bramley has one again shown what a fantastic writer she is. This is one of my favourite snuggle-up, cosy read of the year and I am already looking forward to Cathy's next book, which is the enticingly titled Appleby Farm!

You can purchase the novel from Waterstones, or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:



Twitter: @cathybramley

This review first appeared on Novelicious in an abbreviated version for the book club discussion.

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