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Feature book: Wildflower Ridge

27 May 2020

Wildflower Ridge by Maya Linnell

Subgenre: rural romance
Release date: 3 Jun 2019
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Format: ebook, print
Length: 380 pages
RRP: $12.35 (ebook); $29.99 (print)

This is a strong debut from author Maya Linnell. It will appeal to rural fiction/romance readers tremendously, with its very authentic rural flavour and kinship with the land. According to her website Maya grew up in a small country town. Her love for the rural community and the complexity of the land and farming in its joys and trials shines through in her book.

Penny McIntyre left her sheep property roots to become a hot-shot professional marketer in the city. She enjoys her high income in her high-intensity job, international travel, a lovely city apartment, and a sleek city boyfriend with an equally high-intensity job. Penny’s goal is to become a partner in her firm, and she’s worked incredible hours for years to make this happen.

Then … an unexpected and serious illness sets in. Her boyfriend bails on her, citing work pressure and a complete distaste for playing nurse. (Hmm.) Penny’s packed off back to her childhood home, the prosperous sheep property Wildflower Ridge, to recuperate.

It’s been a while since she set foot on the place. Her three sisters have obvious mixed emotions about her return, needing care and taking time away from the farm work. Not so her Dad, who seems accepting and loving and able to juggle everything.

To her shock her old boyfriend Tim Patterson is now employed on the farm. Penny and Tim have ‘history’, big-time, which slowly unfolds over the story and is worth waiting for. The tension between them is pretty tight; there’s a lot of past history they dance around all the time—so things get interesting!

Then something happens that tilts Penny’s world completely off its axis and throws all four sisters—and Tim—into a huge conflict. Particularly Penny, who has to choose what’s really in her heart. Is it city? Is it country? Can she have them both? At what cost? How can her family resolve their issues and move forward? It all seems impossible.

One of the things I love about this story is that it shows country life in all its foibles. The good and the not-so-good moments. The triumphs and the tenser times. But mostly it shows that you can’t deny what’s in your heart.

The ending was rather a surprise, high tension, fast paced and very shocking. Not everything within the family was resolved; I suspect all the McIntyre girls are going to star in their own book in due time. We can only hope.

reviewed by Malvina

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

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