Ruby Cardel has the semblance of a normal life – a loving boyfriend, a career she loves – but in one terrible moment, her life begins to unravel. The discovery that the death of her beloved sister, so many years ago, was not the accident she’d always been told makes her question all she’s known about herself.
Travelling back home to Lyrebird Hill, the beautiful bushland property where she grew up with her mother and sister, Ruby begins to remember the year that has been blocked in her memory. Snatches of her childhood with her beautiful sister, and Ruby’s only friendship – with the boy from the next property, a foster kid she’d play games with in the bush at midnight. Then Ruby uncovers a cache of ancient letters from a long-lost relative, Brenna Magavin, written from her cell in a Tasmanian gaol. Brenna is about to be hanged for murder, and Ruby discovers that her family line is littered with tragedy and violence. As she reads, the gaps in Ruby’s memory come to her. And as she pieces together the shards of truth, what she finally discovers will shock her to the core – about what happened to Jamie that fateful day, and how she died.
©2014 Anna Romer (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
If you love Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra or other Australian "family drama" authors, this will be right up your alley! I enjoyed it thoroughly, and loved the plot twists and turns. I knocked off a star because it was a little slow in parts, but it didn't distract from the story. It's a little tough to get the flip-flopping from past to present just right, and there were a few times where I wanted the story line to stay on Ruby vs. Brenna, but it was still good. Highly recommend!
Grandmother's example inspired my love of books. Guilty pleasure = weekend naps w. 1 or more cats, & being read to sleep by Audible app.
From the publisher's synopsis and the reviews I read, I was expecting history, romance, and a mystery. I would not have purchased this book if I had known that the story would be more like an "original movie" from a certain cable TV network known for "women's programming" that features stories of stalking, rape, abuse and murder. By the end of the book, it was a real bloodbath. The narration was only "okay," as well. The breathless vocal quality used throughout the book was mildly annoying. It wasn't the worst book I've ever heard. But the death, destruction and violence really wore on me.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
The title for this review comes from one of those unforeseen interruptions that happen to all of us. For over a week my little iPod just sat, without any attention from me. I wondered if I could pick Lyrebird Hill up again without having to start over or at least skip back a few hours. No problem! Romer's characters are so wonderfully constructed and revealed and Oxer's narration is so flawlessly done that I dropped right back into the midst of the story immediately. Although it's not a test of excellence that I would deliberately repeat, it sure did convince me of the overall quality of this audiobook.
I enjoyed Romer's first novel (Thornwood House) so much that I immediately downloaded Lyrebird Hill ...her second novel. A logical thing to do? Sure ... but, not the best idea. The themes and ambience of these two books are so similar that this listener would have benefitted from a palette refresh between the two books.
The themes are: 1. Old, remote, lovely home on large acreage in rural Australia. 2. Multiple generations of family with a connecting unsolved murder over the decades. 3. Revelations from young girls' diaries and letters written long ago. And several more that I won't repeat here. These similarities were so striking and unique that I googled Anna Romer wondering if she was writing about her own life experiences. Here is a Facebook bio extract: "Anna Romer is an Australian writer. Her novels Thornwood House and Lyrebird Hill reflect her fascination with forgotten diaries and letters, dark family secrets, rambling old houses, and love in its many guises—as well as her passion for the uniquely beautiful Australian landscape."
In many ways my review of Thornwood House is accurate for Lyrebird Hill as well. Notably the excellence and lilt of Oxer's narrations, Romer's elegant capture of nature and wildlife, and her uncanny ability to weave stories across generations without leaving the listener in confusion. I recommend both books without reservation and I will listen to both of these books again at some point in the future. Just not back to back.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Lyrebird Hill gripped my heart from the start . . . Ruby, the surviving sister, eighteen years after losing her sister, Jamie to what she thought was a horrible accident, cannot remember the day her sister died. And her mother won't speak of it. Ruby thinks she has moved on . . . thinks she's found some happiness . . . until she learns that her sister's death was no accident. With memories beginning to become more clear and the invitation of an old friend to visit her childhood home, Ruby decides to go in search of the truth . . . There is a depth and beauty to Anna Romer's writing that is breathtaking . . . you can almost see, feel, smell the Australian woods, streams and countryside . . . it's untamed, untouched wildness. And see the children playing, free and happy, without a care in the world in the bush and scrub along the streams. The dual story line of Brenna Magavin, Ruby's ancestor, a century before, and the natives who lived on the land, is equally as good. The mystery wrapped up in both Ruby and Brenna's stories kept me listening until the wee hours of the morning. And I must say, the conclusion was well worth the wait . . . This was my first Anna Romer book, but now I'm going back and buying her first book!
Simply exquisite. I think I have fallen in love with this author. This piece, I would go so far as to say was better than Thornwood House, but I enjoyed that one immensely. I am eager to get my hand on her next one. I honestly hope she doesn't take too long. The storyline is superb in that her technique leaves just enough linger at the end of each chapter to keep you wondering and craving more. This, in and of itself is a technique that not every author can master. I have also been weary of stories that jump back and forth between time periods, but Romer pulls it off beautifully. I really do like her style.
This book reminds me of a Kate Morton book. I love the stories of the past woven with the present day story. Very good ok and loved the narrator.
This was a really enjoyable book, romance, family secrets, intrigue, murder - it had it all. On top of all that there's Romer's wonderfully descrptive writing, creating images so real you could almost feel the dusty air.
The story takes you on a path, unravelling just enough to keep you interested without revealing the plot. Sometimes books that hop between past and present can be a bit tiresome, but Romer has managed to do it very well, the links between the various time frames blend easily and each makes sense to the overall story. Her characters were all strong and engaging, thus drawing you in further.
This was my first Anna Romer book, but I will definitely be looking out for another.
Eloise Oxer's narration was very good, and she brought the book to life.
This is an interesting story and nicely written, but more a romance ... not a mystery, which I prefer. The intertwining stories of generations involved in relationships can be a little confusing at first, but eventually they all come together. To balance the brutality described, there are some lovely descriptive passages about the natural setting at Lyrebird Hill. The narration Is good.
I can't get enough of her....the way she spins the ancestors, the culture and the intrigue of secrets...mesmerizing
Yes definitely as I really enjoyed thornwood house.
The story was slow burning but as I got to know the characters things got muddled and the end was not very thrilling at all.
The narration was fine considering the material.
No characters could be cut from the story. It just lacked something.
After listening to thornwood I desperately wanted to hear more from this author but lyrebird hill was dreadful in comparison.
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