Book Review: The Old Rectory – Escape to a Country Kitchen by Julia Ibbotson

The Old Rectory - Escape to a Country Kitchen

What’s it about?

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.

My thoughts

I was a little dubious about offering to read and review this as cooking and baking really isn’t my thing – I like to avoid the kitchen if I can! However, we all need to step out of our comfort zones once in a while and experience new things or genres.

Julia takes us through the ups and downs of the renovation of her ‘dream home to be’ which is intermingled with her recipes. These recipes being linked to times of the year and to what ingredients are in season or she had available. Good old fashioned English cooking is what she seems to love!

This is a short book and easy to read but from very early on Julia’s obvious love of cooking shows through her writing – you’ll be salivating at all the lovely recipes!

I actually had a go at making one of Julia’s recipes – the Zingy Zest Lemon Pud (which was more of a sponge cake). Now, I’m not a baker or cook of any nature, but it was a very easy recipe to follow and actually, it turned out quite well – tasted delicious!

Lemon Sponge

Tasted better than it looks

Minor point but I did notice a couple of errors but this is still an enjoyable memoir and would be a perfect read for those who like Escape to the Country, Grand Designs or The Great British Bake Off.

Available from Amazon The Old Rectory

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There is a giveaway linked to this tour of signed bookmarks/postcards, pens, keyrings and 1 x ecopy of The Old Rectory – enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author Julia Ibbotson

Julia Ibbotson is the award-winning author of The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, first published to acclaim in the USA and Julia Ibbotsonnow 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 1960s 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!

Connect with Julia via her WebsiteTwitterFacebook Author PageAmazon UK Author PageAmazon US Author PageYouTube book trailer

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Old Rectory – Escape to a Country Kitchen by Julia Ibbotson

  1. Julia Ibbotson says:

    Lindsay, sorry that my comment was curtailed earlier! Life got in the way…! For that, read “husband requesting lunch” ! Anyway, many thanks for hosting me today and I’m so glad that you took the plunge and made a recipe and actually photographed it! I made the lemon pud/cake (whatever!) at the weekend and my marauding grandchildren ate the lot – husband and I got one piece!


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