Thursday, 22 August 2013

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway - The Old Rectory by Julia Ibbotson - Autobiography/Memoir

The Old Rectory ~ Autobiography/Memoir
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: New Generation Publishing (8 Mar 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909593753
ISBN-13: 978-1909593756
When author Julia Ibbotson and her husband first saw the old Victorian rectory in dire need of renovation, a mile out of the nearest village in the midst of the English moorlands, they fell in love with it and the lifestyle it represented, with its farmhouse kitchen range at its heart. This delightful memoir describes the trials and tribulations of their quest to make their vision come true.
 They hoped they could make the sad, neglected house glow again and that they could integrate themselves into the small traditional village, with its cottages, hall and outlying farms. The Old Rectory focuses on the centrality of the kitchen as the pulse of the family and home, and shows the importance of food and cooking throughout the changing seasons, history and moods of the countryside as the couple strive to live the dream.
The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, a true story of renovation – of a house and of lives, of finding what is important in life – and with the added delight of recipes to feed the soul.
Award winning memoir, with five stars on and Amazon UK
Praise for The Old Rectory
 "the book is a wonderful blend of personal story (one so many of us can identify with), enchantingly told, with recipes…It all spreads happiness. Lovely!” Bel Mooney, author and journalist
“destined to become a classic…I adored this book and think you will too…” Rebecca Johnson
“what a jewel this book is…truly a delight…a great writer…a delightful read, all the way to the end…loved it!”  Peggy Fellouris
“a most talented writer…a charming story written by a writer with a wonderful voice”   Nancy Mills
“a beautiful tale …delightful” Vicky DeCoster
“an inspirational tale that offers many surprises…” Carol Hoenig
About the Author
Julia Ibbotson is the award-winning author of The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, first published to acclaim in the USA and now re-launched with a brand-new cover by her new English publisher in the UK. Julia has been writing creatively all her life (unpublished!) but her day jobs to pay the mortgage have been as a school teacher and latterly a university academic, gaining her PhD at the age of 57. She delights in being a wife and mother to four, with four little grandchildren. She loves reading, gardening, growing food, cooking for family and friends and country life. Having published many academic texts and papers, she came late to actually publishing her creative writing, at the age of 60 plus, when she was persuaded to write the story of the renovation of her Victorian rectory in The Old Rectory. She has combined memoir, history, research, story and recipes in this first published book, which has won a number of international book festivals in the biography category, gained 5 star reviews on Amazon, and has been widely featured (along with her house) in the media. She has begun to delve into the world of blogging, Facebook and now has her own website at  at which she also posts blogs regularly, about writing, life and her passions. Her new project is a trilogy of novels following the life story of a new character, Jess, through from fleeing to West Africa as a volunteer teacher/nurse in the 1960's to the millennium. The first of the series, Drumbeats, is due to be published later this year. You can find out more on her website and on her author page on Amazon. Her global internet book tours start soon!

This is an unusual concept for a book. Tales of the Authors renovation of her new home, interspersed with recipes of good home cooking. 

I found the authors description of the rectory before, during and after the renovations, very well written and I would have just loved to have seen some photos of it. I also loved how she delved into the history of the rectory and uncovered it's previous residents and the things they did to the rectory too. I could just imagine ghosts of former residents watching over the changes being made to the rectory. 

I enjoyed the tales of village life and how the author immersed herself into life with the locals, hosting parties and joining in with local activities. I did however feel that at times the author came over as if she was in a completely different class to me, and that sometimes put me off as some things made her sound a bit boastful, although I'm sure she didn't mean it so come across that way and it was just the way it made me feel. She seems a friendly person who everyone in the village warmed to. 

I loved some of the recipes the author included in the book which often related to the events she had been talking about in the chapter, and at the beginning of each chapter she would mention which recipes would follow. However, I would have preferred them to be at the end of the book. I tended to just flip past them and read them when I finished the book. I found they got in the way of the story that was being told about the rectory. 

All in all an interesting read. Not sure I would have enjoyed it so much without the recipes, as I found that added substance to the book. The two together though made it a nice read. 


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