Post Script: The Other Side of the Season – Jenn J McLeod

Other Side of the Season

The Other Side of the Season

Jenn J McLeod

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781925030310

 

Description:

Everything has a reflection…And there’s another side to every story

 

When offering to drive her brother to Byron Bay to escape the bitter Blue Mountain’s winter, Sidney neglects to mention her planned detour to the small seaside town of Watercolour Cove.

 

Thirty-five years earlier, Watercolour Cove is a very different place. Two brothers are working the steep, snake-infested slopes of a Coffs Coast banana plantation. Seventeen-year-old David does his share, but the budding artist spends too much time daydreaming about becoming the next Pro Hart and skiving off with the teasing and tantalisingly pretty Tilly from the neighbouring property. His older brother, Matthew, has no time for such infatuations. His future is on the land and he plans to take over the Greenhill plantation from his father.

 

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill plantation. One stays – trapped on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is, until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and …

there’s another side to every story.

 

My View:

Jenn J McLeod’s writing is just going from strength to strength.  Her latest book is complex with sensitively written contemporary issues regarding identity, family, truth and abuse of children in care gently woven into the multi layered narrative. Jenn’s gentle approach lets readers enjoy the narrative and mysteries absorbing the issues without schoolmarmish lessons being given.

 

The settings are exquisitely Australian, I love the area around Coffs Harbour/Sapphire beach with its majestic coastline, sub-tropical climate, banana plantations and forest.

 

Jenn’s characters are interesting and individual- some you will love, some you will need time to warm to.

 

The ending…at first I was a little disappointed with one aspect of the ending but upon reflection realised it was because I was invested in this particular characters life and wanted a “happy every after” (which I was denied). At some point I realised the ending needed to be this way – or risk putting a saccharine spin on the overall narrative – which would have just spoilt this engaging contemporary story.

 

This is another great read from Jenn J Mcleod!

 

View to Coffs Harbour

View to Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Forest Sky Pier

Coffs Harbour – Forest Sky Pier

 

 

 

Post Script: Lyrebird Hill – Anna Romer

Forbidden love, family secrets, murder, mystery… these themes and more  are present and repeated in the dual time frames – brilliant.

Lyrebird Hill

Anna Romer

Simon & Schuster (Australia)

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781922052421

 

Description:

From the bestselling author of Thornwood House

When all that you know comes crashing down, do you run? Or face the truth?

Ruby Cardel has the semblance of a normal life – a loving boyfriend, a fulfilling career – but in one terrible moment, her life unravels. The discovery that the death of her sister, Jamie, was not an accident makes her question all she’s known about herself and her past.

Travelling back home to Lyrebird Hill, Ruby begins to remember the year that has been forever blocked in her memory . . . Snatches of her childhood with beautiful Jamie, and Ruby’s only friendship with the boy from the next property, a troubled foster kid.

Then Ruby uncovers a cache of ancient letters from a long-lost relative, Brenna Magavin, written from her cell in a Tasmanian gaol where she is imprisoned for murder. As she reads, Ruby discovers that her family line is littered with tragedy and violence.

Slowly, 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.

A thrilling tale about family secrets and trusting yourself.

 

My View:

Ms Romer writes with a beautiful, sweet and seductive voice. This narrative is a multi-faceted story of love, revenge, family secrets and murder that offers the reader two parallel stories that are slowly revealed in alternating chapters. The writing is lush and the settings leap out from the page in three dimensional glory. You can hear the bush come alive, you can see the vibrant colours of the flora and fauna, you will smell the smoke of the camp fires and you too will wonder if you are catching glimpses of movement, shadows moving in the corner of your mind’s eye…this is mesmerising, evocative reading.

Along with ability of being able to create wonderful settings, Ms Romer has gifted the reader two powerful female protagonists, Brenna, who lived in the late 1800’s and Ruby who lives in today’s modern world. You will grow to love these characters and many others including The Wolf (did I mention Ms Romer weaves a thread of fairy tales into her stories – in this one we catch glimpses of Beauty and the Beast or rather a Wolf in this reincarnation of the tale). There is so much to enjoy in this book it begs reading a second time to absorb more of the atmosphere and subtle details.

This is a wonderful mesmerising read on par with her earlier debut novel Thornwood House – another stunning mystery that will engage all your senses with its rich and sumptuous prose.

 

PS

I loved that we just happened to be staying in the area that this book is sited – what a remarkable coincidence.