About the book:
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.
An engaging book that evokes similar feelings to Under the Tuscan Sun. Like Frances Mayes in Italy, Julia Ibbotson and her husband purchase an English property that needs serious restoration. As they begin that restoration, they discover the rectory's rich history, as well as a delightful village and neighbors. In researching the home's history, Julia also researches and discovers new Victorian era recipes that become part of her cooking repertoire as she imagines they could have been prepared years past in the old rectory's kitchen.
As the author and her husband became part of the community, the tales of the villagers, both past and present were charming. The book follows the natural progression of the renovation and the author has divided it into seasons, with the recipes corresponding.
I loved the Englishness of the book; the language, the descriptions, the recipes. I appreciate that the recipes contain U.S. measurement conversions. While the book contains some lovely sketches, I found myself longing to see what the house itself looks like. There are no photos in the book or on the author's website and I would love to see a before and after.
A lovely memoir and quick enjoyable read. Perfect for curling up in front of your fireplace with a cup of cocoa or tea!
Thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to read this book. You can learn more about Julia Ibbotson here. You can purchase your own copy here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here.
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