Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels
|Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: Mandy returns home to help out at Animal Ark, but finds herself falling in love with the town and its residents. The move was only set to be a temporary one...wasn't it?|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: June 2017|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
Animal Ark was a popular series of children's books written between 1994 and 2008. The stories focus on a young girl called Mandy Hope, the daughter of two vets who run a practice, Animal Ark, in the Yorkshire town of Welford. Along with her best friend James, the children seek to help out creatures in need. The series consisted of 94 books in total and was written by a collection of authors writing under the pseudonym Lucy Daniels. Summer at Hope Meadows is the first in a new series for adult readers, continuing grown-up Mandy's story now that she is a fully qualified vet.
The story begins with Mandy returning home to Welford to help out at Animal Ark. Although her move is set to be a temporary one, Mandy soon slips comfortably into Welford life and enjoys catching up with her family and friends. Soon she finds her loyalties divided: she'd been planning to join boyfriend Simon in opening their own practice in Leeds, but falls in love with the idea of creating an animal rescue centre near her parents in Welford. How can she choose between her heart and her head?
The author creates a perfect balance between the human and animal stories in this book. It would have been very easy to create a run-of-the-mill romance with the new vet arriving in town and falling for one of the locals, but thankfully this is a tale where the animal characters take centre stage. Yes, we have romance, tragedy and drama, but these play alongside some deeply poignant animal stories, especially the tale of Sky the collie, who is just such an adorable character, and elderly horse Bill, who has been neglected by his owner. The animals also provide some humorous moments, with some very cheeky feathered friends creating comic relief.
I enjoyed the story but had a couple of issues with the book. There were a LOT of secondary characters. I understand that many of these were cameos, giving a nod to the original Animal Ark stories, but it did feel overwhelming at times. I think maybe the author herself struggled to keep up, as one particular character changed names from Saloni to Salomi and then Solani within a few pages!
I empathised with the character of Mandy, especially the way that she really cared about the welfare of the animals and went the extra mile to ensure that they were comfortable. It will be interesting to see how the series progresses and where her story takes her next. This is an absolute must read for animal lovers and grown-up fans of the original series. Thanks to the publishers for my review copy.
Bookbag also enjoyed Trust Me, I'm a Vet by Cathy Woodman, the tale of a city vet who moves to the country and discovers a whole new world.
You can read more book reviews or buy Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels at Amazon.com.
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