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Wildflower Hill Paperback – 31 July 2012
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From the Publisher
- Publisher : Hachette Australia; 1st edition (31 July 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0733628206
- ISBN-13 : 978-0733628207
- Dimensions : 13 x 3.1 x 19.9 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 383,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- 17,462 in Contemporary Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The only part of this book I did not like was the ending and one more chapter to finalise would have made this book perfect but In saying that one more chapter probably would have made me want one or two more chapters. I guess a book does have to end, otherwise I would still be up reading.
A glimpse into life in early AU.
Thank you for this wonderful book.
Top reviews from other countries
Emma has it all, a nice apartment in London, a long-term relationship with Josh and her career as a famous ballerina when she is forced to take stock following an accident. She returns to her mother in Australia and is given the news that she has inherited Wildflower Hill from her Grandmother. As she starts to clear out the house still packed with Beattie’s belongings she finds a photo that leads her to discover more about her Grandmother’s life.
When the story opens in 1929, Beattie is living in Glasgow with her idealistic father and her downtrodden mother when she is introduced to a man who will alter her life forever.
Not only is this story set between different time-periods but their stories criss-cross between Scotland, England and Australia as we follow their trials and tribulations. For me Beattie’s story was the more compelling of the two as she battles many of life’s injustices, heeding her friend Cora’s words:
“There are two types of women in this world, those who do things and those who have things done to them.”
As the story switches from sleazy clubs to sheep-farming in Australia; from domestic servitude to success and we see Beattie ostracised for being a woman who didn’t follow the social dictates of the time.
Beattie’s story is far more interesting as she battles against the odds as the reader is constantly reminded that Emma’s life as a ballerina was a cossetted existence, because of this she was selfish until she goes to Wildflower Hill and learns more about her Grandmother’s life and appreciates those around her and takes the time to reassess her life and her values.
There were a couple of places in the book where the timing of events were muddled which should have been captured prior to going to print but these were minor and didn’t spoil the flow of this tale that touches on a number of issues that a woman such of Beattie would have encountered. There were some lovely touches where the narrative linked the two women’s lives however, I didn’t feel Wildflower Hill compared directly to Kate Morton’s books, as the publicity suggests. because although this is a dual time zone tale it didn’t have the same element of mystery. As book with two linked stories this made for an enjoyable foray into not only a different time period but also cross continents.
Right from the beginning Wildflower Hill was full of warmth and emotion. Starting with a prologue in which a grandmother tells her granddaughter that if she becomes a famous ballerina she will one day leave her a gift for the time when she can no longer dance anymore. Her granddaughter consumed only by her passion for dance tells her grandmother she won’t need a gift but her grandmother promises it anyway.
The story then moves to a dual time story following ballerina Emma as a sudden accident ends her ballet career and she moves back home to Australia where her grandmother has left her an inheritance of a sheep station in Tasmania full of boxes filled with memories of her life as a wealthy businesswoman and also with secrets of a life she never shared with anyone. Running alongside this is Beattie’s story, from growing up in poverty in Glasgow to finding herself on board a cargo boat to Australia pregnant with a married man’s child.
The story was so well written, it sounds a little trite and predictable but that was the most refreshing part of this book, it had some truly wonderful twists in the story that made it stand out for me. Spanning the period between the two world wars and in a small town in Australia it raises great questions about how morally people could be misjudged and cast out for things today we wouldn’t consider to be unacceptable.
It has such a lovely blend of tales of motherhood and love and the things we will do to try and keep our families provided for and safe. It was nice to find myself immersed so much in well constructed, strong and interesting characters.
I’m desperately awaiting the newest novel by Kate Morton this summer and had hoped to find a book as engaging as she writes to tide me over a bit till then. Kimberly Freeman was endorsed by Morton on this book and having read it I can fully understand why. It’s one of the few books I’ve read lately I would whole heartedly recommend without hesitation. It was superb and I’m now excited to read more by this author which have been hiding on my kindle for a while.
I liked this book and found it to be a really easy read, although I didn't like it quite as much as Kimberley Freeman's second book, Lighthouse Bay. Beattie's parts of the story were much more engaging than Emma's but that may have been because those bits formed the majority of the book. Beattie herself was a strong heroine and I liked her a lot and rooted for her all the way through. A very enjoyable tale.
The story is an epic, which I love but it perhaps went on too long with little development in the second half. It is well written. I did not relate to either of the two female protagonists and was, therefore, alienated from the story. Certainly they were flawed characters which made it authentic.
I liked the setting and the elements from the past showing the narrowmindedness of that time.
I think this book was well written and I enjoyed it but I certainly didn't love it. If the characters were more engaging, it would have been a winner for me.