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Extended Audio Sample Wild Designs Audiobook, 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: February 2015 ISBN: 9781470821128
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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.”

    Elle

  • “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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracey | 1/20/2014

    " This has been my favourite of her novels so far. A very funny take on village life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Candace | 1/18/2014

    " Wanted to read a novel about gardening, ready for spring myself. It was ok, middle aged woman enters garden contest, finds love among the dirt and foxglove. Cute but predictable. Got a bit annoyed with how obtuse main character was though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 1/17/2014

    " Really love all Katie Fforde books. Particularly love this one. Althea is such a strong woman who sticks to her decisions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theletter12 | 1/4/2014

    " First Fforde book I read...it was in a boring book cover...and I'm surprised I picked it up...but boy was I happy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa Mills | 12/28/2013

    " Fluff, purely fluff :-) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danette | 12/9/2013

    " I can't believe this is the fifth book by this author I have read this summer. Either she is growing on me or I am choosing better books. I liked this almost as much as the last one of hers I read. Good light reads perfect for summer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katherine Pocock | 12/8/2013

    " More Katie Fforde. If you've read one of her books before you know what to expect. Perfect for someone looking for an romance book without being over the top with mushiness, Katie always makes her books seem plausible which gives them their own magic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 11/21/2013

    " Readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brett | 11/18/2013

    " I really liked this book. I've only read 2 books by Katie Fforde, but I want to read more! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 11/10/2013

    " my all time Katie Fforde. Witty writing, great characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 10/23/2013

    " Well-written, but not as enjoyable as some of her others given it was harder for me to relate to the heroine--a 40-ish (divorced? can't recall) woman with kids--than the younger 20-something single gals of her other novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 10/12/2013

    " A middle-aged woman finds her calling and her fella, negotiates a second marriage with her feelings about her children. Her very nice family (two teen boys and a girl) and a gardening focus make this better than Fforde's other fluff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 10/10/2013

    " This is definitely frivolous chick lit, but I love the overwhelming British-ness of the characters and the setting. It's a fun read if you're an Anglophile and don't want to think too much about what you're reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beccy | 8/29/2013

    " My friend lent me this book, think she thought the subject manner would inspire/ be useful to me, it wasn't really my taste in books, though I did read to the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne | 7/19/2013

    " Easy read, (3 days)with a bit of a twist. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charlotte Dickie | 7/15/2013

    " Not to bad if unlikley but a good read none the less "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 5/15/2013

    " Lots of fun and the first Katie Fford book I read. Have continued to read her work since then. Some are a little weak, but this one stood out for me and very enjoyable. Love her use of "normal" people with foibles and issues! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 4/26/2013

    " I probably would have liked this a bit more (and been happier for the heroine when all came out right in the end) had the main character and many of the supporting ones not been such twits. Still, a nice escapist read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 1/27/2013

    " Katie Fforde continues to be my favorite literary candy. This one was about gardening again, and reminded me how much I still really would love to have a greenhouse. And a fountain. And the heated indoor swimming pool isn't a bad idea either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adilee | 12/7/2012

    " Cute, fun, girly book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LindyLouMac | 11/24/2012

    " Read in 1996 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Haley | 11/17/2012

    " I thought the idea of the book was cute, but didn't really like how everything played out. The first half of the book went too fast for me, and the second half of the book dragged on. I still really like her as an author though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mulva? | 9/4/2012

    " Well... there's a house, a garden, a woman who wants to "make it on her own" and a man who want's to "make love" with her. All new for Fforde, I know.. but that's what we like right? "

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About the Author
Author Katie Fforde

Katie Fforde is the author of eighteen acclaimed novels, including Going Dutch, a Sunday Times (London) top ten bestseller. Born in Wimbledon, she now lives in Gloucestershire, England, with her family.

About the Narrator

Vanessa Benjamin (a.k.a. Roe Kendall) is a native of the British Isles. Some twenty-five years ago she moved to the United States with her family and set down roots in Maryland. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, receiving their silver medal as well as the Sir Emile Littler and Caryl Brahms awards. Benjamin has performed on stage in the Washington, DC, area for several years and at many venues and has performed at the Kennedy Center as Mrs. Schubert in the long-running show Shear Madness. An accomplished actress and narrator, she has recorded over two hundred books. Her work as a freelance voice-over artist and narrator has led her in many interesting directions, from technical government materials to eighteenth-century romance novels to hotel advertising, but narrating books is what she really enjoys. “I really love playing all the parts when I narrate a book. It’s an adventure, a challenge, and above all I feel that I learn something new with each book I read. I do a lot of reading for the Library of Congress’ Blind and Physically Handicapped program, and it is so rewarding for me especially when I get a letter from a patron; it’s a great service for the listener.”