Saturday, 22 June 2013

Country Living - Cathy Woodman

It's very rare that I read anything related to Chick-Lit or Romance but I read an interview article in a magazine (I think Australia's Good  Reading Magazine) and it sounded a lot like light entertainment which I was very much in the mood for.  Also this book is about a veterinarian and being trained as a Vet Nurse and having cut my teeth years ago on every James Herriot book known to man I couldn't resist.

So these are my thoughts but first the fine print:

Title and Author:  Country Living by Cathy Woodman
Publisher: Century Books 2013 (doesn't fit into any kind of challenge)
Source: Tasmanian State Library (They appear to have all of her books)

Cathy Woodman is a vet herself but now seems to do more writing than practising however according to the blurb on the book she does still practise. What an interesting life and no doubt being a vet opens up the door for all kinds of story ideas.

Main characters:
Stevie an accountant working in London with a good firm.
Her Fiance: Nick
Leo: the country veterinarian who lives near her father in the country
Stevie's cranky old father

Now look at those four characters and see if you can figure out the plot?  Bet you did but that is what Chick Lit Romances are about. Formulas that bring in the big money whilst entertaining the general population across the world.

Stevie is a very successful accountant living in London, living the modern lifestyle, great clothes, fashionable apartment, all of those things young women may or may not kill for. Good income, handsome boyfriend.
But it is all to change once the phone call comes through that her father who is a long time dairy farmer and not long widowed has a stroke.  She gets a phone call from the neighbour who is concerned about the state of her father's dairy herd and the farm is about to have all of its animals taken for the poor condition they are in.
Stevie talks Nick into going to the farm to visit for a weekend to assess the situation.  Nick is a brat. It's all I can say.  You get the picture.  Whiney whiney whiney, no thought of anyone else but himself.

The farm is in a wretched condition, her father has been ill and neglecting the farm now for 6 months and there is no way Stevie can go back to London. She always wanted to take over the farm because she was the one who loved it so much. However it was designated for her brother because he was the son. He of course has no interest in it.

The whole situation causes a complete change in Stevie's lifestyle as she decides to give up everything in London except her flat (That will be a nice little investment and besides her best friend India is living in it). She moves in with her father who isn't very pleasant to her and the two hit heads constantly. They are trying to develop their relationship into something much more positive throughout.

She breaks up with Nick when he continues his life's goal of being an even bigger brat and although she is heartbroken she knows she has done the right thing.  Enter Leo the handsome veterinarian who desperately needs a place to stay because he is currently living with a family that has teenagers and they are driving him mad with their non stop playing of computer games.  It just so happens there is a long trailer (caravan) on the property at the farm and with a lick of paint and some cleaning agents this mouldy old tin box turns into a lovely place for Leo to live.

Now I know I'm being a bit facetious about the plot but I must say I have enjoyed this book quite a bit. It isn't literary fiction but I don't really want to read literary fiction all of the time. I can do that for my book club and when the mood strikes me.  It is cold here, it's dark, it's winter. My other half T is overseas for a month visiting his very ill 90 year old mother and that is a sad event as she really is at the top end of her life.

I don't want to think or analyse or really discuss much of importance as I care for our 3 muddy dogs and 2 crazy cats, one of which is quite head injured and needs constant lessons on finding his litter box as he does forget.  I am busy. So at night I crawl into bed with all the furballs I live with , who love me to pieces, they sleep and read about this lovely farm outside of London. It has beautiful cows in it which I love.  The dog is good fun. The visiting vet is intelligent and handsome and Stevie is no fool. She represents a more strongly minded woman who can do anything once she puts her mind to it.

The things she does around the farm remind me of my youth growing up in the mid west of the USA which was nothing but farming.  It is familiar, it is a pretty happy read, I know that most things will work out and the veterinary information is accurate.

I found quite a few things in this book believable in the descriptions of activities and location. There is quite an interesting future for Stevie. Will it be with Leo? After all he is only there for the summer working in a 3 month locum position.  You will have to read the book.

I find for this category of book it is one of the better ones in the genre as it is pretty intelligently written, believeable and I care about the characters.  I want Stevie and Leo to marry and raise their kids on this farm. I can't say anymore.  I want to read about the neglected animals becoming fat and sassy again with glistening coats.  I want her young heifer to win at the local country show.

So if you like a pleasant, unchallenged read I would highly recommend this book, especially if you love animals like I do. This isn't a book I'd reread but I might read one of her other veterinarian driven books next time I need something light hearted to occupy my time.  And no matter how one might possibly scorn at this genre of book it is certainly anything that's better on commercial TV 95% of the time.


  1. I enjoyed this too for the same reasons you did. It was nice to read a romance with a different angle & the veterinary details were fascinating (I grew up watching All Creatures Great & Small).

    1. I loved, I love and I will always love All Creatures Great and Small. In fact in the 1970's we actually went to Yorkshire and met the real James Herriot (White). Loved the old films of it from before WWII. Beautiful series. Glad you enjoyed this book also.

  2. I love the Herriot books as well, though I get a bit squeamish on some of the details. How exciting to actually meet him! This book does sound like fun - I love books about setting up a job, or in this case getting one straightened out. I'll have to see if it's available here.

    1. I imagine you'll be able to find it. She has written quite a few books all pretty much in this genre. Thanks for stopping by.


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