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Feature book: Willow Tree Bend

16 January 2019

Willow Tree Bend by Kaye Dobbie

Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 1 Oct 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Format: ebook and print
Length: 344 pages
RRP: $8.99 (ebook); $29.99 (print)

The Taylor girls have a secret. Many secrets. The secrets have been kept for thirty years, and are about to unravel.

This story is more fitting in the women’s fiction area but there are some romantic elements.

The story of Hope in the present, Faith in the past and Samantha, Faith’s daughter, in the present are told. The book is mainly set in 1969 and 2000, but being pivotal to the events.

Hope Taylor has made it to the big time in America as an actress. She has come home to do a show in the hopes that it will boost her career after her movie flop, a show that involves the story of her life. It also means digging through her secrets or the things she would like to be kept a secret. She arrives in her home town and this causes friction especially as her sister has suddenly left to deal with a personal issue. Hope must try and pull things together all the while protecting her secret. She must deal with Faith’s disappearance, her mother Lily’s failing health and memory, and her own memories of the secrets she has held for thirty years.

Faith Cantani is setting up her new business in the town. She is nervous about this but when she receives a phone call, she then leaves for an unknown destination in Queensland. As the story unfolds the reader is treated to a young Faith’s life in the big city, Melbourne. Faith needed the space to live and experience life in Melbourne as she was seeking more in her life. She gets a job at a place called The Angel, and then her life really does change with what happens at The Angel. When it all falls apart for Faith, she returns home and marries local boy, Joe. Joe who has been in love with her since forever. Joe who has been checking on Faith while she was living in Melbourne and falling in love with another man. Joe who picks up the pieces.

Samantha Cantani is Faith’s daughter. She is a landscape gardener who loves her animals. She isn’t particularly interested in her mother’s past until it slowly unravels. She has to try and deal with the information that keeps coming out. She struggles between knowing and trying to ignore what it all means, until she becomes the centre of events. She does find her love interest, the man who bought the family home.

As mentioned previously, this is more a women’s fiction book but that has not lessened its interest as a twisting story. As a reader I do sometimes like to read the stories that have events across the years, sisters, mother and daughter. In many ways, as I was reading this book, I thought I knew where things were heading but when the ends were finally tied together there were some unexpected surprises in Faith, Hope and Samantha’s stories. This book was an enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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