Right. I’m gonna be real with you all right now and straight up confess that I’ve been stalking Cathy Bramley’s stunning cover artwork for quite some time now. Her gorgeous brand aesthetic is so bright and bubbly and fun – it draws me in and makes me think of sweet-smelling summers in the English countryside, with lemonade and shortbread biscuits. Sadly, the shocking lack of actual bookstores in my area has been a stumbling block to me procuring her work (I’m terrible at remembering to order things online, come pay week!). But when Facebook showed me that I could trial Audible and get a free audiobook, I knew my Christmas had come early.
I’ve never thought I would be a fan of audiobooks, but I have to say that my 40min-twice-a-day commute was exponentially more entertaining listening to Wickham Hall, a story about a young woman by the name of Holly Swift who lands her dream job working in events at the nearby Elizabethan manor she’s had a lifelong obsession with. She’s an upbeat dreamer (I can relate) who finds it hard to deal with her mother’s hoarding and the secret of who her father is. Together with her kind-hearted mum, her bestie Esme, and the wonderful new friends she meets through her new job at Wickham Hall, Holly navigates life – and the love that blossoms between her and heir-in-waiting, Benedict Fortescue.
I really enjoyed the narration of this tale. It was well-pitched and emphatic in all the right places, and helped me to envision the scenes as they unfolded. Being my first experience with an audio book, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the adventure. Listening to a story in the beautiful English countryside while driving through winter fields in Western Australia on my way to and from work was a novelty I truly savoured, and I am pleased to report that I’m keen to choose my next talking book!
The story itself held me enthralled from the very beginning, and is a cleverly wrought narrative sprinkled liberally with details that will tingle your senses. From imagining the wood-fire smoke at Wickham Hall’s bonfire night, to thinking of the exquisite dishes created by Jenny Plum in the Hall’s kitchen, to fabulous descriptions of the estate’s stunning grounds and gardens – the book was certainly an escape from the otherwise boring drive to my day job (which is stunningly similar to Holly’s in nature!).
Read – or listen! – to this heartwarming tale in the garden with a cuppa, a slice of lemon tart, and a smile.
Wickham Hall is available from Amazon.
You can learn more about Cathy Bramley and her other work here.