Jul 18, 2015

Double Book Review: Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

Maple sugar kisses

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

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Review by Tanya

Lucy’s mum, Crystal, is suffering from an undisclosed, till the end, illness and Lucy is constantly working to pay bills or at the hospital with her mother. Her mum is a traveller at heart and spent her time constantly travelling taking Lucy with her until her illness caused her to stop. With Lucy’s future in mind Crystal tells her she wants Lucy to take a year to herself which she hopes will result in Lucy applying to the Van Gogh Institute in Paris for a chance to learn some more about art. Lucy reluctantly goes along with her mum’s wishes and finds herself in Ashford where she meets the much loved characters from Rebecca’s other books. She also finds herself working for the moody Clay at the Maple Syrup Farm. There is a mystery about the old owner Jessup which Lucy wants to unravel at the same time as trying to make Clay more sociable.

I could not wait to read this book and have been eagerly awaiting the return of my favourite characters along with meeting new characters. I was not disappointed and I was captured from the beginning the characters were as lovely as always and the story was magical, although it had its serious tone. The only problem was I am sure these books should come with a warning for weight gain or cravings as the food described was amazing and I was salivating through it all.
There are lots of little stories that combine to make a big one and it makes you realise how special the relationships are for the friends in Ashford. CeeCee is so special in how she knows exactly what is happening everywhere but does not share others secrets. I really enjoyed how Lucy actually progressed in the book and how she embraced her mother’s wish to not go back for the year even though challenges are thrown in the way.

This is a great read and I recommend you read it when you are feeling low or on your holidays this year.

Review by Suze
Lucy is taking care of her sick mother. She's working as many hours as she can, so she can pay the bills. When she comes home she has her mother to look after. Because Lucy's mother thinks it's been enough she tells Lucy that she should go away for a year. They used to travel around together and were used to a nomadic existence. Now it's time for Lucy to have her own adventure. She loves drawing and painting and her mother wants her to have a chance at a career, she wants Lucy to follow her passion. That's why she asks the sister she's fallen out with to take care of her, so Lucy can go away.

Lucy is reluctant to leave, but she does what her mother asks of her. She ends up in Ashford. She meets someone from Ashford, CeeCee, on the bus and immediately becomes friends with her. When CeeCee invites her for a meal at the Gingerbread Café Lucy becomes friends with the owner Lily as well. She learns that a newcomer in Ashford named Clay needs help at his maple syrup farm. Lucy asks him if she can have the job and he hires her on the spot. At first Clay doesn't speak to her at all, but slowly they're connecting. Lucy is working on her art and has applied for a scholarship in Paris. It's her plan to travel the world after she's worked on the farm for a few months. Will she be able to leave the wonderful Ashford behind?

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm is a wonderful book about a girl who needs to start living. Lucy wants to look after her sick mother, but her mother wants her to go, to spend a year on her own, just thinking about what she wants and not what her mother needs for a change. I think that was a lovely and selfless gesture. The nature of the illness remains a secret for quite a long time, but I could more or less guess what was the matter. I felt bad for Lucy as it's hard to see a loved one suffer so badly. Clay is a broken man, but together they start healing a little. I liked watching that process.
Everyone in Ashford is so warm and loving. It was great to meet a few old friends from Rebecca Raisin's previous books again. I like that Rebecca Raisin has built a wonderful community with caring and welcoming people. Lucy needs some support. She's done the supporting for way too long. It's time to work on her art and to work on her self confidence. I liked the way she talks to Clay, they have such a great connection and a lot of great chemistry. He has some secrets of his own, again I could guess what they were, but that didn't matter as the story is so wonderful. I like the way Rebecca Raisin has told this story. It's more mature than her previous books and it's a little bit deeper. Two amazing people need to learn how to trust and how to share, which is a great theme for a story. Rebecca Raisin's books are like hot chocolate, they're warm, comforting, and deliciously sweet. 


  1. I love your description as hot chocolate x

    1. Thanks, it was so much fun to do a double review and I loved reading yours :). xx

  2. How fun to see two different perspectives. :)

  3. The book sounds really good, and I love both of your descriptions of it. To make you salivate and like hot chocolate, sounds like a pefect book for me. Great reviews Tanya and Suze.


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