Title: At Home on Ladybug Farm
Author: Donna Ball
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
After spending a year on Ladybug Farm and deciding they want to stay, Lindsay, Cici and Bridget have more challenges facing them. The farm still needs a lot of work and money is tight. Noah is still helping the women out, but they want to do more for him and help him find a better life. Cici’s daughter Lori has also moved into the house; she has decided that college isn’t the place for her, and she’d rather live on the farm. The women find they have many difficulties, yet the hardships are always made easier by the fact that they are together.
I really enjoyed A Year on Ladybug Farm so I was thrilled to see there were sequels to it. I picked up At Home on Ladybug Farm expecting more of the warmth and happiness that I got in the first novel, and was surprised and pleased to find that there was a lot more to this book.
At Home on Ladybug Farm really delves into the history of Blackwell Farms (the original name of Ladybug Farm). As the women explore the house, they find clues as to different purposes the house has served over the years. To flesh out the narrative, Ball includes historical flashbacks to these different time periods in order to show the reader what was happening and to bring the past to life. By doing this, she emphasizes how important the past is to the future of Ladybug Farm. The women must learn from the farm’s past and utilize it in their efforts to fix it and make it profitable.
Lindsay, Cici, and Bridget are fun to revisit in this novel, though Lori is a bit difficult. Deciding that college isn’t for her, she has moved into the house and determined that she will find a way to make it profitable, thus proving that she doesn’t need college. If anything, she proves the opposite – her schemes are so poorly thought out that it’s a wonder that the three women don’t prevent her from trying to help. On top of that, she uses the failure of her ideas as proof of why she doesn’t belong in college, because she is too stupid to be there. It’s really frustrating for the reader, because Lori is clearly suffering from self-esteem issues, and these problems are making life difficult for everyone at Ladybug Farm. At the same time, though, much of the story is carried by Lori’s antics and everyone’s efforts to recover from them, so it’s difficult to complain about her as a plot device.
At Home on Ladybug Farm was a fun, enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to picking up the next in the series, Love Letters from Ladybug Farm. I highly recommend reading these books in order, rather than trying to pick one up as a standalone, because the character development moves slowly. It’s important to get to know everyone in these books because they really do carry the novel, so if you’re interested in this series, definitely pick up A Year on Ladybug Farm first!