Finding Dad by Jo Bartlett

A chance discovery in a box of old Christmas decorations changes everything.

Freya Halliwell has always wanted to get married in Kelsea Bay, the place where she spent so many idyllic summers as a child. So when the chance arrives to have a Christmas wedding at Channel View Farm, perched high up on the cliffs above the Bay, everything in her life seems to be falling into place at last—almost two years after losing her beloved mum.

Ellie Hastings is finally making a success of the wedding business she set up after inheriting her great aunt’s farm and, even better than that, she’s about to become a mum for the first time. Christmas is just around the corner, but with runaway sheep causing havoc, a festive fundraiser to host, and the worst snow storm Kelsea Bay has seen in decades, life is anything but quiet.

When Freya uncovers an entry in an old journal, hidden amongst some boxes of Christmas decorations, her life changes forever, and soon everything she thought she knew about herself begins to unravel. Taking refuge at Channel View Farm and leaning on new friend, Ellie, for support, the best she can hope for is to make it through to New Year with some idea of what she wants to do next. But Ellie has problems of her own and, when it’s her turn to ask Freya for help, another big secret starts to unfold, which threatens to change everything for the people they love most.

Can Freya and Ellie find what they’re looking for in time to celebrate Christmas at Channel View Farm, or will it be too late to ever put things right?

Fabrian Books’ feel-good novels leave you with a smile on your face and the belief that good things really can happen. Perfect for the festive season!

Every time I read one of Jo Bartlett’s books I think it’s my new favourite, and Finding Dad is no exception. I love the Channel View Farm books anyway, and this was a welcome and thoroughly enjoyable addition to the series.
It was wonderful to catch up with old friends Karen, Ellie, Alan, Ben, and Liv, and the animals at the farm. It’s always a pleasure to return there and discover what the latest news is. The latest news, in this book, is that poor Karen’s in a wheelchair and Ellie is about to give birth, so there’s a lot to deal with.
We are introduced to a new character, Freya, and her story is the driving narrative for this novel. Poor Freya is bombarded with one shock after another in the opening scenes and, for various reasons, she ends up seeking refuge at Channel View Farm, where she is immediately taken under Ellie’s and Karen’s wings and soon feels almost like part of the family.
But, as welcoming as the Channel View Farm bunch are, Freya still has problems to deal with and a mission to pursue. Her purpose for coming to the farm is all-consuming, and helps to take her mind off the terrible mess her personal life has become, but by the end of her stay, will she be any closer to resolving her issues, or is she going to have a lonely and miserable Christmas?
I don’t want to give away any plot details so I can’t say too much more, but the title, Finding Dad is probably a big enough clue to one of Freya’s dilemmas!
This is a truly gorgeous, festive treat and reinforces what is so important about Christmas – love, the sense of belonging, family, home. I enjoyed every moment of this lovely story, and hope there’ll be another visit to Channel View Farm before too long.