Wildflower Ridge * Maya Linnell

Penny McIntyre loves her life as an ambitious city professional, with a marketing team at her fingertips and a promotion just within reach. So when she’s floored by a mystery illness, and ordered back to the family farm for three months’ rest and recuperation, she is horrified to find her perfect life imploding.

Within days, Penny has to leave her much-loved job, her live-in boyfriend, and her beloved city apartment… to return to the small country town in which she grew up. Back to her dad and three sisters, one of whom has never forgiven her for abandoning her family. And to her ex-boyfriend, Tim Patterson, who was the biggest reason she ran in the first place.

When Penny’s father is injured in a farming accident and Tim campaigns to buy the property, she must choose between the city life she loves and the farming dream she buried long ago.

Wildflower Ridge is rural fiction straight from the heart.

Imagine a woman writing a novel about life. The daily talks, the daily walks. The conversations with the parents and sisters, the relationship with her soon-to-be-proposing boyfriend. And all of a sudden – she is ill and nobody knows what it is.

The plot is slow to come in this book. Between chit-chat between friends and cousins begging for games to play with, I was skipping pages trying to find out where exactly do things start to happen?

‘So I’m on the train, right, sitting in our usual seat up the front, just swiping through Tinder when a match comes up. And you won’t believe who it was, Pen. Are you ready for this?’

‘Let me guess, it was the nudist guy from Richmond. No, no, it was the married guy who forgot to mention his wife.’

‘Which one? They all seem to forget about their wives on Tinder. No, it was the seventeen-year-old again, the one that keeps popping up. I think he’s stalking me.’ Jade laughed down the phone line, her breathing laboured as if she were taking the steps from the train station two at a time. Penny had a sneaking suspicion Jade was taking advantage of her absence. Their fitness would both be back to square one at this rate.

As much as I’m not into idle conversation that doesn’t seem to go anywhere, I despise books which are so filled with detail you don’t actually know whether it’s important to the plotline or not.

‘Cuppa’s up, darling. Now sit and tell me all about your day. I was so carried away telling you about mine that I didn’t even ask you yet. I’m turning into a self-absorbed thing in my old age, aren’t I?’ she said, carrying over two steaming cups of tea.

About 100 pages in, when again nothing of importance happens, Penny and her girlfriend are cyber-stalking her ex.

Diana tapped Vince’s name into the iPad’s search engine, navigated to his LinkedIn profile and started working her way through his list of contacts. I should have thought of that , Penny agonised, peering over her sister’s shoulder. Perhaps I haven’t been giving Diana enough credit. She recognised Vince’s photo from an industry awards night the previous year, and a nervous smile crossed her face as she studied his handsome profile. It wasn’t long before a familiar blond woman popped up in his contact list. Diana typed the name into Facebook and gasped as Charlotte’s profile loaded. One in every three pictures in Charlotte’s timeline featured Vince.

‘Un-fucking-believable! I cannot believe I’m seeing this.’ Penny’s heart raced as dozens of photos of the glamorous pair flashed onto the screen.

‘Un-fucking-lievable, un-fucking-lievable.’ Penny turned to see the cheeky twins chorusing from their car seats and Leo smiling at her with a tomato sauce–smeared face.

About 25 more pages in, her dad gets ill and Penny starts taking care of the farm and doing farm things. Like whistling for sheep dogs and having hot cups of coffee in the morning overlooking the farm. I swear I was getting bored and listless. I really don’t think her writing is too much to the point that I enjoy reading her works.

Vince was stereotypical douche, Penny is so bland I’m surprised Tim can see something in her (but hey, everyone have their own tastes!) and the dull-dull every-day life descriptions just sucked the joy of what could have otherwise been a good book to read about taking over a farm.

They sat around the dining table like actors in a play. Penny watched Lara murmuring to Angie, Angus talking with Tim at the far end of the table, and the children spread out between Pete and Diana. Diana rescued a loaf of garlic bread from Harry’s laden plate and doled out slices to the rest of the table. Elliot took advantage of her diverted attention to flick pieces of mushroom at Leo, while Cameron and Evie sat shoulder-to-shoulder beside Eddie

Urgh. Unnecessary and could have been edited. out.


1/5 burn pile

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