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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Year at Meadowbrook Manor by Faith Bleasdale - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

When Harriet's father dies unexpectedly, Harriet has to return to her childhood home. She hasn't been at Meadowbrook Manor for years. She regularly kept in touch with her father via Skype, but her busy life in New York prevented her from coming home. Now she regrets the decision. Harriet has three siblings. She's the eldest and has always been protective of her two brothers and sister. Gus is the serious brother and Freddie likes a good party. Pippa is the youngest and is the only one who's married. Harriet and her siblings used to be close, but they've lost contact. Harriet doesn't think she has much chance to do something about that though, because she plans to return to New York straight after the funeral, but her father had a different plan...

Harriet's father stated in his will that his four children have to live at Meadowbrook Manor for a full year before getting their inheritance. They have to run their father's Animal Sanctuary and raise enough funds to keep it afloat. If they succeed, they will each get a large sum of money. Harriet's decision to stay is being made for her and she has no choice but to stay at Meadowbrook for a year and come to terms with the past. Every emotion she felt before she left has returned and Harriet has no idea what to do with this. While looking after her siblings Harriet has to find herself again. Was their father right and will their year together make them all happier people?

A Year at Meadowbrook Manor is a fantastic heartwarming story. I loved every single page of this magnificent book. Harriet is a cool businesswoman. She dresses in expensive designer wear, she's fit and healthy and she's always in total control. That changes when she hears the terms of the inheritance. Now she has to muck out stables and walk dogs, so fancy clothes have no place in her life anymore. She also has to get to know her siblings again and as they're all struggling with something she's determined for them to become a stronger and reunited family. Harriet gives herself one hundred percent, but she has many obstacles to overcome. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if she'd find friendship, family and maybe even love during her year at Meadowbrook Manor.

Faith Bleasdale has a lovely feelgood writing style. A Year at Meadowbrook Manor is such a charming, entertaining and moving story. I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the house and its surroundings, especially the Animal Sanctuary. I loved reading about the animals and their fabulous personalities and I liked seeing the siblings grow. Faith Bleasdale has written a wonderful novel filled with humor, warmth and drama. Each chapter is interesting, I was captivated from beginning to end and there are many great surprising twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages. A Year at Meadowbrook Manor is a delightful story that put a big smile on my face.


If you love heartwarming stories about family, friendship and love combined with a beautiful setting, A Year at Meadowbrook Manor is an absolute must-read.

About Faith Bleasdale

Hi, I’m Faith. I live in North Devon with my son Xavier, a place I grew up in before leaving for city life and returning to when I had my son. We have the luxury of both beautiful beaches and beautiful countryside but honestly the shopping isn’t great, and neither is the weather most of the time.

I studied History at Bristol University and History remains one of my main interests and loves. I have a dream that one day I’ll have the time and patience to write an historical novel although in the meantime I am very happy to read lots of them.

When I started writing I lived in London, which will always have a special place in my heart, but I’ve also lived in Bristol, Brighton and Singapore. For Xavier and I, North Devon is definitely home now.

I’ve written for various publications, although one of my favourite jobs was being an agony Aunt for Cleo, Singapore. I am not sure the teenagers of Singapore have ever been the same since.

Xavier is five now and he’s obviously my greatest achievement, but I also see all my books as my babies although once they are finished they are far less demanding than my beautiful boy.


Website // Facebook // Twitter

Where I Write 
Guest post by Faith Bleasdale 

I often get asked questions about where and how I write. Do I make copious amounts of notes before I begin? Do I wing it? Do I have set hours, a set place? I speak about this with author friends too, and we all seem to have different ways of putting our books together. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, I guess. We all have to do what works for us - and sometimes what doesn’t! 

My writing process is something that is subject to change, and it’s more than a little chaotic. I wish I was the sort of person who could say I am going to be pinned to my desk for eight hours a day but once I’ve factored in organising my sock drawer, online shopping and snacking, it rarely works out that way. The other day I was writing at five-thirty am, in bed, and late nights are not uncommon. It really depends on where I am with the book and how looming my deadlines are. I also have a nine year old, so much of my writing has to work around him. Saying ‘shush, mummy’s writing,’ when he wants something, never works. I know, I’ve tried! 

Last year I changed my study in order to be more organised, more structured with my writing. I had visions of me with a planning process which I believed would involve lots of post-it notes, and a story structure so tight that the book would practically write itself. Have I mentioned I am an optimist? 

Anyway, I ordered a retro desk - the delivery driver asked, ‘where do you want your dressing table, love,’ when I told him it was actually a desk he laughed at me. It makes a mighty fine desk, actually. 

I hung a I noticeboard above it, filled it with pictures, quotes and postcards to inspire me. Many an hour is spent gazing at it when I’m supposed to be writing, actually. I also have bookcases crammed full which when I am struggling for words I re-organise - my books have been in alphabetical order, subject matter, even done so they look good sitting on the shelf together - I’m actually very good at procrastination. 

I sit at that desk/dressing table and feel like a ‘proper writer,’ because it is the only room in the house that belongs solely to me. My darling child means that toys, games and plastic figures sneak their way around the house, even into my bed, so having a room that is mine and mine alone is priceless. It is the only room in my house my child is banned from - of course that doesn’t stop him or the cat for that matter, but it is largely my own special place. 

I don’t always work there. The other day for example I wanted to take advantage of the rare British sun and I took my laptop to the local outdoor pool. It was mulit-tasking at its best, I swam, got lots of work done, and got a tan. In the winter, as I hate being cold, I often huddle in bed with my hot water bottle and my laptop to keep warm. I’m like a nana as I punch out my words. 

My writing routine is not much of a routine after all. 

However, I do manage to get my books written and I enjoy (nearly) every single minute of my writing process. I might not be the most organised, the most structured writer in the world but I am a very happy one.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of A Year at Meadowbrook Manor by Faith Bleasdale.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. A Year at Meadowbrook Manor sounds like a charming and heartwarming story of a family in need of healing.

  2. Anything placed in a manor I like. This sounds very felicitous!

  3. I'm always intrigued by stories about siblings (probably since I'm an only child) and it also sounds like such a wonderfully heartwarming story!

  4. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

  5. This sounds heart-warming, gripping and interesting! Would love to read xx

  6. This book gave me the warm fuzzies :)
    Cora |

  7. The book sounds great.

  8. It is interesting to hear how you go about writing. It has always intrigued me. I hate writing, I have the association of writing papers for school/college, and it makes me nauseated just the thought, all the anxiety and dislike of the process. I don't have much to say, anyway. So I do admire your ability!!

  9. I'm loving this cover. Very eye-catching.

  10. Sounds fantastic. What a great review.

  11. It does sound charming! I love the storyline.

  12. Sounds great, thanks for the review!

  13. I want to live there. Love the cover and it makes you want to open the door and see what lies behind. Sounds a great story of siblings having to live and work together to make things work. Dying to read about the animal sanctuary too.

  14. The cover is fun, sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance!

  15. This looks like a enjoyable novel

  16. Sounds good, I might have to read it sometime :)

  17. Oh, I already know that this one is such a great story. I feel it, lol.

  18. Loved reading about your writing routinee, and your desk sounds lovely!

  19. This sounds like a super feelgood novel.

  20. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  21. Oh, Lord, I'd love to work in an Animal Sanctuary. I volunteer a couple of Saturdays each month at the local Animal Rescue Centre and in their charity shop (where I buy a lot of books!) but to actually do that for a living ...

  22. An enjoyable guest post, I had a few laughs along the way. I'm not terribly organised these days either, though it was different when all of my 7 kids lived at home. Now that I'm on my own I find it harder but at least I do have the time to procrastinate. :-)