The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

If you have ever taken on a home restoration project, you will quickly learned it looks much easier on television with others doing all the work.  The characters in this month’s book reviews felt the same way.  Sit back and enjoy both a fictional version and a very real nonfiction account.

In a Year on Ladybug Farm (2009) by Donna Bell, you will get to know three lovely ladies of a certain age, They decide to take on living in a whole different manner than they are accustomed.  Just to let you know, this is NOT a romantic chick read.  You will get to know Lindsay, an artist, Cici, a real go getter, and Bridget who loves being in a kitchen.  The three have experienced all that life has given, or has thrown at them

It is a tale of why they decided to leave the suburbs and ended up at Blackwell Farm which is located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  They find out quickly this area is not the suburbs.  In fact, just walking in the front door was an eye opener.

They are greeted with the sound of crunching as they first walked in the door.  Turns out the front room floor is covered in dead ladybugs!  To say the house is rather rundown, may be an understatement.  But, the ladies three look more to what it will become once they add their touches.  Of course, things did not go as planned.  But you already knew that would happen.

Going over the checklist once they moved in, they learned a new circuit breaker system was needed.  Then there were the plumbing issues, carpentry, telephone, hot water.  Add to that the backyard seems more like a swamp…roots in the septic system. You get the idea. $$$$$

Enter Farley.  You will enjoy getting to know Farley who lives down the road and offers to help.  Plus, he has a tractor.  He is not the only person they meet and get to know.  They also learn there is a 106-year-old woman who shares the house.  Plus, a young man living on their property comes as another big surprise.

While it seems as if there is one disaster after another, do not be surprised if you laugh out loud while reading.  It is a fun, pleasant read.  P.S. This is the first in a series.  You may just get hooked!

If that is not enough fun for you, this next book, the laughter will continue. Downton Shabby (2022) by Hopwood DePree.  In this nonfiction telling of a house restoration…oops…make that a castle restoration.  A centuries old castle.  In England.

Hopwood (Yes, that is his real name.) decided to tackle a castle for his first restoration.  You must give him some credit to even think of taking such a monster project.  He lived and worked in California. Plus, he had zero building skills.  And did he have the millions it would take to take on this dream?  He did not.

Hopwood’s first name was given to him at birth.  His mother’s idea.  She had her reasons.  Hopwood ancestors on her side of the family.  He had heard many stories about those ancestors who lived-in small-town Hopwood, Pennsylvania.  The small town was named by those ancestors in 1791.

Those old stories eventually led to Hopwood searching ancestry sites.  Becoming more curious about those ancestors then led to finding even more and more information from decades gone by.  One link turned into another link…he was hooked.

It was not long before the tales his grandfather had told him as a youngster were not made up at all.  They had been true all along!  In his searching, Hopwood found an article about Lord Hopwood and Hopwood Hall. A short trip to England confirmed the existence of Hopwood Hall.  Let the fun begin!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email