Category Archives: Uncategorized

REVIEW: The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green

Excellent review of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club.

Sam Still Reading

In brief: In the late 1970s, the Northern Territory is a rugged place, where the people are at the whim of the weather. Despite this, Sybil starts a book club to build friendships for her and her daughter-in-law.

The good: The friendships between the women and the look at life not that long ago in the Aussie outback.

The not-so-good: Some of the things that happen to the characters are very, very sad.

Why I chose it: Thanks to Hachette, who know I enjoy a good Aussie story.

Year: 2017

Pages: 425

Publisher: Hachette

Setting: Northern Territory, Australia

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Books set in Australia’s Northern Territory are few and far between, so I was really entranced by the premise of Sophie Green’s The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club. Not only is it set in the NT, but it’s set in the late…

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Book Review: The Crossroads by Pamela Cook

Insightful review of The Crossroads by Pamela Cook, rural romance with a difference

Lauren Keegan Writer

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The Crossroads by Pamela Cook

Hachette Australia, November 2016

(Review copy provided by publisher)

Pamela Cook writes rural women’s fiction with romantic sub-plots. The Crossroads is her fourth published novel, and the third book that I’ve read. I’m an avid reader of the rural romance genre and every time I pick up a Pamela Cook novel I expect her stories to fall into that genre- but they don’t. I actually really like that the romance elements of the story aren’t at the forefront of the story. What Cook does so well is create strong, engaging women protagonists that face emotional challenges when their ordinary lives are uplifted by a catalyst that sets the premise for the story.

In The Crossroads, the narrative is told from the POV (point of view) of three women who are connected by their shared history. Rosie O’Shea struggles to maintain the rundown outback pub she inherited from her…

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Tell us Your Backstory with Pamela Cook

This is a lovely introduction to Pamela Cook, the ‘dark queen’ of rural romance whose new book The Crossroads is out tomorrow.

AusRomToday

pamela-cook

Tell us Your Backstory with Pamela Cook

Well, as my bio says, I’m a city girl with a country lifestyle, but back when I was just a city girl, I grew up in the southern suburbs of Sydney and had a pretty ordinary Australian childhood. My father passed away when I was three years old, so I have no memory of him, and for a long time I thought his death had no impact on me, being so young. Since I’ve been writing though, I’ve come to realise that growing up in a house where everyone was dealing with grief had a huge influence on me – and on the themes of my writing. My first three novels dealt with the impact of losing someone close and my new release, The Crossroads also deals with issues of loss. So my own backstory definitely influences my plots!

In my early…

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Results from the Historical Romance Poll

Interesting blog from author Clare Delacroix on the results of her reader poll on covers.

Deborah Cooke & Her Books

About a week and a half ago, I posted a poll, to solicit your opinions about historical romance covers. It felt to me as if there was change in the wind, and your answers seem to support my suspicion.

About 500 people took the time to answer the questions, which is pretty awesome. Thank you, all!

I deliberately set this up so you’d have to choose a single best answer. I see from the comments that this bothered some respondents, but it makes it easier to draw % conclusions. Let’s have a look at those now.

The first question was:
Do you like to see people on historical romance covers?

The alternative, of course, is the “candy box” cover, which has tartan, flowers, ribbons, rings – pretty much anything except people. Only 6% of respondents preferred covers with no people on them.

Results from Claire Delacroix's reader poll on historical romance covers, question #1

Almost 94% prefer people on the covers. An…

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New book review: The Most Scandalous Ravensdale by Melanie Milburne

The Most Scandalous Ravensdale by Melanie Milburne (Harlequin Sexy) is book four in Milburne RavensdaleAWWC.jpgMelanie’ Ravensdale series. The Ravensdales in question are the sons and daughters of famous theatre actors Richard and Elisabetta Ravensdale – except for Kat, the heroine of book four, who is Richard’s illegitimate daughter.

Kat’s mother tells her on her deathbed that Richard is her father and that he paid her many years ago to have an abortion to preserve his reputation and his marriage. Now the press has found out about her existence, and Richard is trying to make amends. Kat wants nothing to do with him. She knows he is only interested in ‘damage control’ not in her. In fact, she’s furious the press has found out because her dream is a career in theatre, but she wants to make it on her own not on the back of the family name. Is that even possible in a world where image is everything and the gossip of the gutter press knows no bounds? When Kat is labelled the most ‘scandalous’ Ravensdale, it is not a synonym for outrageous but acceptable behaviour from yet another famous-for-being-famous celebrity but a hurtful tag reflecting the damage done to both Kat and Richard’s acknowledged family.

However, Richard is a man who believes all problems can be smoothed over, and he is not about to take no for an answer. He sets his hotshot lawyer Flynn Carlyon the task of changing her mind. Flynn is both charming and cynical and he relishes a challenge. He understands the nature of his client but he is also arrogant enough to think he knows what is best for Kat and that she will benefit from meeting the brothers and sisters she never knew.

The chemistry between Kat and Flynn is instant; it smoulders between them waiting for one small spark to trigger combustion. Flynn sets the scene. After all, he is willing and able to use all his charms to change Kat’s mind. He knows and she knows it. Kat’s mind may be strong but her body is tempted, so very tempted. Meanwhile Kat gets the audition of a lifetime only to find out it will pair her with Elisabetta, the one person in theatre with a good reason for wishing she doesn’t exist. Could her life get any more complicated?

Flynn is also finding his life unexpectedly complicated by his latest assignment. As he gets to know Kat, he realises he couldn’t (and doesn’t want to) force her into the decision to acknowledge Richard, no matter how much he thinks she deserves a place in the Ravensdale family.

As a reader, I was conflicted as Kat closed in on an inevitable meeting with her father. Part of me wanted to encourage her to turn her back and walk away in the hope it might teach him a long overdue lesson. However, another part of me knew that there is little point in cutting of your nose to spite your face. Pride alone cannot change facts and, as a rule, the earlier those facts are faced, the better. Sometimes there are even unexpected bonuses to meeting challenges head on. Would that prove true for Kate. Could her fledgling relationship  with Flynn withstand the assault of everyday complications and conflicting loyalties, especially with the whole world watching? You’ll have to read The Most Scandalous Ravensdale to find out.

Within both the confines of Kat and Flynn’s relationship and the series as a whole Melanie Milburne has examined the concept of family and what it means. Her view is prosaic and not at all rose-coloured. An adopted child who is always the ugly duckling of his family. A single parent family where the daughter is the caregiver. A tight-knit but dysfunctional family where the façade displays one truth and the occupants know another. The varied reasons why people remain tied by by blood and need. The happy family which offers hope that others can build their own. Can love conquer all? How?

It’s difficult to develop a passionate happy ending for two characters and include thoughtful observations on the nature of family, the ties that bind and the way those ties influence and affect us in a short novel; somehow Melanie gets it right.

I enjoyed Kat and Flynn’s story very much; I just wish I could have spent a little more time with
them.

I won a copy of The Most Scandalous Ravensdale via Harlequin Junkie and was delighted to read the final instalment in this series.

4 hearts

 

 

About the author

Melanie MilburneAustralian Melanie Milburne is a USA Today bestselling author. She started reading Mills & Boon romances when she was seventeen. Luckily, reading is the best form of research for a writer so she is able to combine work and pleasure. Melanie has won several awards including the Australian Romance Readers Association’s (ARRA) most popular category series romance in 2008 and the prestigious Romance Writers of Australia RUBY award in 2011. You can find out more about Melanie, her books and how to connect with her on her website.