March 31, 2011

Home to Woefield by Susan Juby: Review

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Dear Prudence, she has some pretty big ideas, especially when it comes environmentalism. Recycling? Done. Hydroponic grow box? Yep. Worm composting? You betcha. All in her small New York apartment. Her concern for the environment puts a strain on her relationship. When her boyfriend decides he's had enough and leaves, she feels it's time for big changes. As fate would have it, her Uncle Harold bequeaths her his farm in Canada: Woefield. What an opportunity to live the life she's dreamed of!

But whoa, Woefield has its share of woe. A field full of rocks, a half-sheared sheep and Earl, a disgruntled farmhand, is the tip of the iceberg. Prudence isn't discouraged. She imagines organic vegetables and free range chickens when she sees the run down farm. The chickens come, along with their owner neglected eleven year old Sara, and an alcoholic metal band blogger named Seth. Even though Prudence doesn't have two pennies to rub together and her workforce is less than stellar, she pushes on facing adversity and tackling the unexpected.

Home to Woefield by Susan Juby was a book I didn't want to end. When the story wrapped up, I wondered how was that first season, what happened to all of the characters, did the romance heat up? If Susan Juby wants to write a sequel, I will be reading it! I wasn't ready to leave these characters. The reason I loved the characters so much was because of how distinctive their voices were. Each character alternates telling the adventures of Woefield and each has their own take on the situation. I wouldn't have to look to see who was speaking, their personalities were part of the narrative.

The plot revolves around Prudence, the new owner of Woefield, a woman in her early twenties with big dreams and a bottomless bucket of optimism. Woefield has its own personality; it's as stubborn and unyielding as some of the other characters: Earl and Seth. Earl was happy with Harold's laissez faire attitude toward farming. With Prudence's arrival, there is change in the air. As soon as she steps out of the taxi, she wants to change things. Seth watches the farm from his mother's house next door. When she pushes him out on his own, Seth heads to Woefield and gets swooped up in Prudence's grand plans. The last person to arrive at the farm is a serious little girl with some fancy chickens and a terrible home life. Her chickens need a new home and the girl herself needs some peace. Woefield seems like an unlikely place to find it!

Sometimes Prudence's optimism was hard to take but reality is a great equalizer. When she starts lying, I knew things would get sticky. Maybe a bit too conveniently, most of the problems are solved by the end. But hey, this is a happy story. Suspend your disbelief a bit! It's a quick, fun read with great characters and dialogue.

Highly recommended.

Here's a weird annoyance: Home to Woefield is the American title but in Canada it's The Woefield Poultry Collective (not a fan of that title). I don't like when that is done. It always confuses me when I go looking for a book and I get excited thinking it must be a series. Then I find out it's not. Boo!

Susan Juby has a website and a blog. Check it out! Susan will also be on Blog Talk Radio's Book Club Girl April 4th.

This review is part of the TLC Blog Tour for Home to Woefield. Please see the site for other blogs on the tour.

7 comments :

  1. I didn't want the book to end either - I sure hope the author has a sequel planned.

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  2. Oh, I didn't even think about the concept of a sequel, but I would definitely read it. I just finished Home to Woefield a couple days ago and everything else pales in comparison. I miss Earl, Seth, Prudence and Sarah!

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  3. Kathy- I really hope so!

    Nancy- That felt like real people, didn't they?

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  4. I love it when I find a book that I want to never end! I've already got a copy of this on reserve and I can't wait to pick it up - it sounds like such a fun read.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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  5. I've been hearing good things about this book everywhere. I hope to pick it up soon!

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  6. This book sounds fantastic! To me the highest recommendation is when you don't want to leave the characters. I feel that way about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which I recently finished & reviewed). I'll put this on my to-read list! Thanks!

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  7. I just finished reviewing this and only afterwards realised it had a different title in the US! Hate it when they do that. Though, I like the Canadian name better, just captures the satiric tone better. "Home to Woefield" sounds too, ah, sappy to me. Wrong tone.

    I felt like I could have easily read on to find out what happened the rest of the year - maybe it's daggy but I love stories set on farms!

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