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Extended Audio Sample Wild Designs, by Katie Fforde Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,195 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Katie Fforde Narrator: Vanessa Benjamin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Althea Farraday, a thirty-eight-year-old divorced mother of three, has a teenage son who’s a Buddhist, a hypercritical sister who knows how to push all her buttons, a job on the endangered species list, and a love life to match. Just as she’s settling in to a comfortable level of chaos, a near-perfect man enters her life. Equipped to steal her heart and help turn her passion for designing gardens into a new career, Patrick Donahugh may be too good to be true.

Amid wild roses, California poppies, scarlet flax, sweet rocket, love-in-a-mist, and of course, plenty of dirt, Wild Designs is a refreshingly honest and funny read that celebrates the almost-ready-to-bloom aspect of all of our lives.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A delight…Althea copes with single-mom tribulations with such grace and wit that you wish she could move in next door.”

    Detroit Free Press

  • “Old-fashioned romance of the best sort…funny, comforting.”


  • “A modern Cinderella tale about a good-hearted, underappreciated supermom in her late thirties…This British bestselling author has delivered a pocketful of posy.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A delicious romantic romp...As pretty a piece of wish fulfillment as can be imagined; enchanting withal.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Vanessa Benjamin is a wonderful narrator; her Althea is a struggling working mom with a grand sense of humor. Benjamin’s interpretation of Patrick Donahugh cleverly portrays a witty gentleman desperately trying to win Althea’s heart. Overall, Benjamin presents a full cast of British characters with forethought and color.”


  • “This is a Cinderella story that says even if you’re forty with three messy kids, you can find happiness with a millionaire Prince Charming...Althea’s adventures in attaining her heart’s desires—Patrick, a new place to live, a greenhouse, and a career—make for a delightful romp through the English Cotswolds. Throw in a smarmy ex-husband, a controlling mother, a sister just like mom, and a new niece and the story becomes even more spicy. There are a few Briticisms to puzzle out, but that just adds to the fun. An essential purchase.”

    Library Journal

  • “Exhibits a spirited sense of humor, a light touch, and a real sense of how families work…Cleverly, endearingly, realistically rendered.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sharon | 2/15/2014

    " A new author for me (an advantage of not having time to compile a list prior to going to the library and having to peruse the shelves for interesting-looking spines). I experience the disconnect I always feel when reading about 39-year-olds with teenaged children and the mother's resulting "over-the-hill" feeling. However, this is a pleasant story of the difficulties of single parenthood and the conflict between being a parent and having a romantic life (and a SH** of an ex-husband!). Definitely the classier side of chick-lit! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Janel | 2/5/2014

    " This book was painfully s-l-o-w.....It dragged on and on, and was muddied up with so many useless characters that I would feel annoyed and confused. The main character was way too much of a pushover with such a prudish and self sacrificing outlook on love and life I don't know how Althea's main love interest Patrick could stand it. He was enormously patient. The way the character thought of herself and described herself I couldn't picture anyone remotely desirable. She sounded like such a matronly frumpty dumpty. I'm close in age to this character and never mentally think of myself in such elderly terms as this lady....she's 38 for god's sake!! She let everyone take advantage of her and talk rudely to her. She needed some serious assertiveness training classes! Glad to be done with this one and hope to move onto something more exciting..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelly | 2/4/2014

    " really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more by this author. Very similar style to Jill Mansell. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tali | 1/26/2014

    " This novel pretty much does what it says on the tin - it's a lighthearted read with no shocking twists or turns. The most annoying thing about it was the way that the protagonist Althea was so indecisive about everything, but luckily the cast of supporting characters are engaging enough to help you along in the story. A nice read, but sometimes I do wonder just how many more attractive women living in genteel poverty in the country there are left for Fforde to write about. Good summer reading, but perhaps not as enjoyable as Going Dutch or Flora's Lot. "

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