Aussie Book Review: Fairway to Heaven by Lily Malone
My Rating: 4 / 5
Format: eBook courtesy of Lily Malone
Publication Date: 6 January 2014
Category: Contemporary Romance
RRP: Kindle Edition - AU$3.99
From the Cover
“I just want sex to feel normal again. I don’t have to see stars. I don’t want multiple orgasms. Normal. Do you think that’s possible?”
The story of one woman’s personal struggle to regain her mojo in a small seaside town.
When Jennifer Gates drives to Sea Breeze Golf Club to kick off date-night with her boyfriend, the last thing she expects is to find Golf-Pro Jack giving one of his lady students a private—and very personal—lesson in bunker-play.
Lucky for Jenn, her best friend gives her the keys to the Culhane family’s beach shack on the white-pepper shores of Western Australia’s Geographe Bay. Jenn hopes a weekend on the coast with her young son will give her the space she needs to rebuild her confidence after Jack’s betrayal.
But she’s not the only person seeking sanctuary by the sea. Brayden Culhane is there too, and Jenn can’t look at Brayden without remembering the tequila-flavoured kiss they shared on the shack steps years ago.
As long-buried feelings are rekindled, and a friendship is renewed, Jenn knows it is more than lazy summer days bringing her mojo back. Romantic sunsets, ice-cold beers and the odd round of golf can only go so far, because this time, trusting Brayden with her heart won’t be enough. Jenn has to learn to trust her body, too.
Summary and Thoughts
In Fairway to Heaven, Lily Malone brings us a romance, and heroine, with a difference.
The book opens with Jennifer (Jenn) Gates heading to the golf course intent on surprising her boyfriend, Jack Bannerman with a romantic night in. Unfortunately, Jenn is the one who is surprised when she discovers him and one of his students in a compromising situation.
Hot on the heels of this distressing discovery, the disillusioned Jenn heads home to pack some things for herself and Seb, their toddler son, then seeks solace with Emmy, her best friend, who offers her unconditional use of the Culhane family beach shack at Busselton in Geographe Bay.
When Jenn finally arrives at the shack though, she comes face-to-face with Brayden, Emmy’s brother and, while her and Brayden are no strangers to each other (after all, they grew up together and she spent many happy beach holidays with their family), she doesn’t want to intrude.
Brayden soon puts both her and Seb at ease though, explaining that his family don’t know that he’s at the shack. As the story progresses, we come to learn that he is a FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) mine worker, currently taking some time out from work after an accident which could see him being charged. Eight years before though, Brayden had walked away from Jenn and the possibility of a relationship to pursue that career.
With him and Jenn sharing the small shack, they resume the close friendship they had all those years before and, while Jenn tries to come to terms with the fact that her and Jack’s relationship is over, she sets out to make a life for herself and Seb, whilst also trying to get to the bottom of the sexual issue that she has suffered from since his birth.
Lily Malone has done it again – ok, so it’s no secret that I adore the girl in the pink beanie. Seriously though, Lily has brought us a story about real people with contemporary issues and, unlike the majority of romance novelists today, who prefer the safety of drawing perfect female protagonists, Lily swings her way into territory unknown as she challenges the notion of conventional romance by tackling an issue which could quite possibly affect more women out there than we know about.
Her writing is thoughtful and insightful and, with her use of first person POV, she pulls the reader into Jenn’s angst and hopes as she tries desperately to have her problem diagnosed. She first convinces herself that it is all hormonal and then wonders whether her lack of desire to go through the pain of sexual intercourse could be the result of Jack having an affair. As the romance between her and Brayden deepens with his drama unfolding as well as a hint of things to come, she finally gets to see a gynaecologist who has the answers she’s been seeking.
I found Jenn to be an extremely relatable protagonist (she could be your best friend) and, having given birth to two children myself, I was hooked and drawn into her mindset and dilemma as I learnt about an issue I had never heard of.
In a recent blog post, Lily had this to say about why she decided to write about a heroine with a vaginal problem: “While I am all for reading for escapism, I have reached the stage where I’m tired of the heroine seeing stars at the touch of her hero’s hand. I like my romance to be real.” Lily goes on to say that if she “can raise some awareness about this as an area of our medicine that needs research and attention, then I think as a writer, that’s a very positive thing.”
Lily also doesn’t suffer fools gladly as she expertly advances the story with succinct and purposeful dialogue from Jenn, Brayden and the secondary characters, allowing the reader to get a great sense of personality and a real sense of place.
Whilst on the subject of place, I have never been to WA (besides a quick stopover at the airport on our journey to Australia from South Africa), but Lily has portrayed the town in such a manner that I really want to visit. This time, instead of stopovers at the airport, rather it would be for time spent in Busselton with some wonderful WA friends that I have made through my blogging and Facebook and, perhaps quite a few bottles of red wine!
Quite clearly, a large amount of research has gone into the issue contained in this novel but Lily keeps it light in tone, once again lending her sassy wit and humour to Jenn’s journey to her very own fairway to Heaven.
I would like to thank Lily Malone for providing me with a copy of this ebook (even though it took quite a while for us to figure out how I could get the attachment to open correctly in my Kindle reader) and I also wish to thank her for the acknowledgement of my review for The Goodbye Ride!
For more information on the blogpost by Lily that I mentioned earlier, please follow the link here.
About the Author
Lily Malone is a journalist and editor who decided after years of writing facts for a living, writing Australian contemporary romance was much more fun.
Her debut novel His Brand Of Beautiful, was published by Escape Publishing in March 2013.
In May 2013, Lily self-published her second novella, The Goodbye Ride.
Fairway to Heaven is her third contribution to the writing world.
Lily loves to hear from her fans and you can find her at the following links:
Twitter - @lily_lilymalone
Facebook - lily.lilymalone
Or visit her blog at lilymalone.wordpress.com.