In 1920s Glasgow, Beattie Blaxland falls pregnant to her married lover Henry just before her nineteenth birthday. Abandoned by her family, Beattie and Henry set sail for a new life in Australia. But life is not about to follow the plan that Beattie had hoped for and fate will play her a cruel hand...
In 2009, London, prima ballerina Lydia Blaxland-Hunter is also discovering that life can also have its ups and downs. Unable to dance again after a fall, Lydia returns home to Australia to recuperate. But on arrival she is presented with some surprising news – her recently deceased and much-loved grandmother Beattie Blaxland has left her Tasmanian property to Lydia. Told through the eyes of a young Beattie Blaxland and a contemporary Lydia Blaxland-Hunter, this is an emotionally charged, seductive tale of self-discovery, secrets and surprises.
©2010 Kimberley Freeman (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
The writing of this book was almost spare but at the same time so lushly full it boggled the mind. Words are carefully chosen to precisely get the image across so that the reader understands the places and characters deeply without being told everything in endless detail. At times I would have loved to have a picture of Wildflower Hill Farm written out in wordy excess and exactness. Then I found that I could imagine the place for myself based on the bits and pieces the author revealed. In the end that was better. The story's main focus was about people -- their interactions, flaws, treatment of others. It amazed me how Freeman, using just the right word when describing a person cut right to the heart of the matter.
Part mystery, part love story, part historical fiction spanning four generations but focused on the choices of one woman, the book was totally engaging. The sense of place was strong. The narration was excellent. Caroline Lee's voice pulled me along through the ups and downs of the book and held me hanging on every word. By the end I was sure that there had been a mistake. It couldn't be over yet! I didn't want the story to end--a sure sign that it was an excellent listen. Definitely a book I loved and can recommend whole heartedly.
This is easily one of the top 3 audiobooks I've listed to this year!
I was utterly absorbed in this story from start to finish. The writing is lovely, the characterization is rich, the pacing is perfect, the narrative switches between Beattie in the past and Emma in the present in all the right places. I think when Beattie gets what she desearves (and more) after the card game is one of the most memorable moments in the story. It was one of the most satisfying, fitting, and perfect endings I've listened to in a long time. I loved this story!
The switching from present to past and back again made it impossible to choose just one favorite scene!
Honestly I don't think I could make one up that can match what a great film this book would make!
I bought this on a 4.95 sale, and it was a very good choice. I was getting bogged down in "Bleak House" by Dickens, and this really kept me in the story. I was concerned about the reviewer who likened this to a romance novel, and it did have that element in the final third or fourth of the story. Another reviewer commented on the abrupt ending, and I have to agree. It had something of a feel of the author feeling she had done a great multigenerational story, and that was enough - let the readers make up the conclusion.
This was indeed a great multigenerational story, lots of compelling history about discriminiation against women and aboriginals and the displacements of the second world war. The card game was a great part of it - the most that can be said without a spoiler.
In addition to the conclusion, there were other abrupt points in the narrative, to me, so I would give the story 3.5 stars on those merits except, no question, it was an interesting story and i wanted to listen to it, so it comes up to four. In my magic scoring scheme, a 5 shows up once for every ten 4's, fwiw.
The narrator was excellent. I cannot make judgments on Scottish versus Aussie versus Tasmanian accents, and understand one reviewer felt the Scottish was overdone. But to this midwest US guy, it was all good.
I have recommended this book to my book club because of the writing. The story involved strong resourceful women at different times in history. The connection between women and families across generations was compelling.
I just loved Bettie and Charlie. They were both such strong characters and I loved their conviction to what was right so ahead of their time.
Oh Yes!! I wanted to drive around and around in my car and travel back to 1935.
retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so
Bought this on a sale witho9ut knowing anything about it. The high quality I expect from Bolinda audiobooks did not disappoint. Interesting, clear, and authentic story.This author is new to me but I will buy her other book based on the enjoyment I had with this story. The narrator was excellent. I highly recommend
I loved the way the story wove from present to future and back and forth each building on each other
Beattie was my favorite character, she was a normal person, love rules with her no matter who others were, they were not judged by thier skin color but by the inside beauty of those she met. I also the courage of Beattie in the early 20th century in the way she "won"the wildflower hill among other parts of her character.
Caroline brought accents to life for the book. Each character had a different voice that I was able to imagine them in my head.
Patrick is who I would take out, he seems like the kind of man that I could fall in love with myself.
Nice tale, well told. At first I thought it was going to be consistently depressing, but was glad to see the main character find happiness where she could along the way.
I enjoyed the multi-generational aspects and relationships between the women.
Good job by the narrator on both male and female voices and injecting personality into the characters.
I loved the plot and the narrator is terrific. The author weaved believable characters into a beautiful story. I have long commutes to work and looked forward to the drive each day because that meant I could spend more time on Wildflower Hill. Well done.
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
It's one of my top 20. Story is enchanting, writing is excellent, and the characters are strong and really well described. If you are a fan of the "Potato Factory", which is indeed richly woven and more realistic, then this is the book for you. The only thing I did not like was the somewhat rushed ending and the ongoing details about the modern ballroom dance lessons for special needs children, this made the story somewhat unbalanced. Would however recommend the book -- worth a credit.
Beatty - of course - complex, mysterious woman, yet simple to understand and you want to love her.
She is a great reader. Occasionally Ms. Lee had a very very dry mouth and was audibly swallowing, but other than that, her performance was great.
Definitely a great read - it's a great book for audio as well as in print. Get it!
The story was excellent, and grabbed me right away. It is a story of loss, hope, and family, all my favorite themes. The narrator is very good, her voice and accent pleasant. You can't go wrong with this book. I hated to see it end.
"Awful Scottish accents"
This may be a good story, but the narrator is hopeless at regional British accents and this really ruins the book.
i highly recommend this book. its an excellen listen all the way through. i have also read 'Duet' by Kimerbley Freeman which is just as good so i'm eagerly awaiting more of her books, hopefully soon!
would recommend this book as its a gripping story
british accent was a bit dodgy but once you got used to it it was believable
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