Book Review | The Grazier's Wife | Barbara Hannay
A legacy is at risk in this appealing new novel from Barbara Hannay featuring a lost letter and family secrets.
When Alice Miller arrives in the small town of Burralea in the Atherton Tablelands to make a new start after her grandmother’s death, she’s looking forward to opening her antique restoration business and the last thing she’s expecting is to be swept up into another family’s upheaval, when Jackie Drummond asks her to refurbish an old family heirloom in time for her husband, Hugh’s, 65th birthday party.
There’s nothing better than stories with secrets (well, in my opinion that is!) and Barbara Hannay’s novels have that in spades. I’ve read a number of her books now but none of them have quite captured me as much as The Grazier’s Wife did.
The blurb alludes to a “sweeping, emotional saga” and you can believe me when I say that it’s exactly what the reader is going to get! I was so emotionally involved in these characters lives (yes - every. single.one. of. them.) that I didn’t want this story to end and I especially related to Alice and Seth’s story – her valid angst at the reasons she has for not getting involved with him and his heartbreaking, almost acceptance, of the fact that there’s nothing he can do for her unless she wants to help herself.
When you read a Barbara Hannay novel, you just know that you’re going to get the best of two worlds – one set in the present day with a rural Australian background and the other set historically on a different continent and this one is no different.
Journeying from 1946 Singapore to present day Australia, the novel is written in two timelines interspersed with a third in the form of Stella’s journal entries. All three narratives are interesting and very well-developed but, for me, the real strength of this novel lies in Barbara’s incredible ability to make the past come alive through Stella’s journal and I found myself trapped in a time-slip that took me to the heartbreaking story of Stella, Tom and Magnus.
As always, Barbara does a great job of making her readers feel connected to her characters. Her descriptions of time and place also excel and she smoothly shifts between each timeline never losing her reader in the maze.
So, if you’re anything like me and enjoy a great story filled with flowing writing, warmth, endearing characters and secrets that echo through the generations, then this one is for you.
A story about family, forgiveness, healing the past and hoping for the future, this one comes highly recommended.
I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with an eGalley proof of this novel for review.
Many of her forty-plus books are set in rural and outback Australia and have been enjoyed by readers around the world.
She has won the RITA, awarded by Romance Writers of America, and has twice won the Romantic Book of the Year award in Australia.
In her own version of life imitating art, Barbara and her husband currently live on a misty hillside in beautiful Far North Queensland where they keep heritage pigs and chickens and an untidy but productive garden.
About the Book
For three generations of Australian women, becoming a grazier's wife has meant very different things.
For Stella in 1946, it was a compromise in the aftermath of a terrible war.
For Jackie in the 1970s, it was a Cinderella fairytale with an outback prince.
While for Alice in 2015, it is the promise of a bright new future.
Decades earlier, Stella was desperate to right a huge injustice, but now a long-held family secret threatens to tear the Drummond family of Ruthven Downs apart. On the eve of a special birthday reunion, with half the district invited, the past and the present collide, passions are unleashed and the shocking truth comes spilling out.
From glamorous pre-war Singapore to a vast cattle property in Queensland's Far North, this sweeping, emotional saga tests the beliefs and hopes of three strong women as they learn how to hold on to loved ones and when to let go.
Published: August 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia