What a wonderful, heartwarming book. This is the first book I have read by Emily Madden, being new to this genre this year. I am so happy that I decided to branch out this year otherwise I would never have discovered this gem. I love books set in my hometown of Sydney and this book was so descriptive I felt like I was there. Sydney in the 1950's certainly was a very different place and I loved being transported back there with every page. This would make a lovely movie or mini series.
The Heart of the Cross tells the story of 3 strong women whose lives are full of secrets, love and tragedy. 3 generations of the one family and they go through a lot of drama in their lives. Rosie moves to Australia in the 1950's to follow her husband, bringing their young son for a better life. But when she gets here her husband is not the man she married back in Ireland and her fight for survival begins. The people of Kings Cross rally around her and she makes friends with the least likely of people and her life changes for the better. Her own daughter Maggie doesn't have a much easier life, with Rosie being a very protective mother. In 2017 Rosie passes away and Brie returns to Australia for the funeral and to settle the estate. She learns that Rosie has left everything to her. Brie starts to realise that she knows very little about her grandmother and mothers upbringing. The family secrets start to be exposed and every discovery she becomes closer to her past.
Thank yo Harlequin Books Australia and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and in no way biased.
This was a family saga, set mostly in Australia, with its roots in Ireland. It was so gripping that I read it in one go, staying up until around 3am to finish it!
The story is told from the points of view of Rosie, a tough Irish woman, and her granddaughter, Brie. Despite Rosie bringing Brie up, there are aspects of Rosie's life that Brie has no idea about and as she finds out about her past, a whole other world opens up for Brie. Inbetween trying to absorb the new information she learns, she has to contend with a man from her past coming back into her life as well.
My parents were migrants to Australia (also Sydney) in 1960, so Rosie's coming to Australia on the boat brings the stories that my parents told me to mind as well. Sydney in the late 1950's was a different world to now, and I can imagine that Kings Cross was a bit of an eye-opener to a naive Irish girl. There are a lot of poignant moments in this book and I love the fact that Rosie made a life for herself in Sydney, surrounded by others who were either migrants or who just didn't quite fit into society, in one way or another. Fascinating and very real depictions of life at that time.
Fabulous story, well worth the read.
Thank you to Harlequin Australia for a copy of this book. My views are entirely my own and were not influenced by anyone else.
Tinehaly, Ireland, 1955. Rosie Hart meets Tom Fuller. She becomes pregnant, they quickly marry. Tom had always planned to leave for Australia: the plan was that he’d send money to Rosie so that she and their baby could join him. In 1959, Rosie and her son Jimmy travel to Australia to join Tom. Rosie quickly discovers that Tom’s life in Kings Cross has no space for her or for Jimmy. In the 1950s Kings Cross was a melting pot, a fascinating blend of the best and the worst of society. Rosie is a survivor: she’s learned some hard lessons, but she makes a life for herself.
In 1984, Rosie wants her daughter Maggie to avoid the pitfalls that Rosie fell into. But she’s not taken Maggie’s desire to live her own life into account.
In 2017, Rosie dies. Her granddaughter Brianna (Brie) returns to Australia to arrange her funeral and then stays to settle her estate. Brie quickly finds that Rosie’s estate is not straightforward. More mysteries, to add to the fact that Brie was raised by Rose, and Rose always avoided answering questions about Brie’s parents. As Brie works through her grandmother’s affairs, she discovers that Rosie owned an apartment and a coffee shop in Kings Cross. Brie, still grieving for her grandmother, is intrigued.
The story moves between Rosie and Brie, between past and present. Rosie’s secrets are uncovered, while Brie considers how the past might influence her future.
‘Every family has a little crazy. I say there are three things that every family has—secrets, scandals and loose screws.’
If you enjoy family sagas, with their mixture of sadness, secrets and triumphs across several generations, you may also enjoy this novel. I especially liked the setting, the transformation of Kings Cross over half a century, and I loved Rosie.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
What an amazing, complex and utterly wonderful book this has been. Heart of the Cross is multi-layered, telling the story of an amazing woman, Rosie Hart, who emigrated to Australia in the 1950’s to join her husband and raise their son in a new land only to discover that her dreams were merely illusions. I loved Rosie’s strength, her kindness, her dedication and her sense of purpose, but most of all I loved that Rosie picked herself up again and again when truly dreadful things happened to her and found ways to deal with the adversity and to grow stronger still. Her granddaughter Brianna is another strong woman and I loved learning about her as she slowly unravelled the truths about her grandmother’s and mother’s lives. This book has been a joy to read and is definitely one I’ll be returning to in the future.