Man Drought by Rachael Johns

mandroughtIT was part of this book, Man Drought, that first introduced me to Rachael Johns. She was doing a reading at a romance readers’ convention in Brisbane and the scene was one that I fell for instantly (a devastatingly embarrassing scene with a vibrator).

I bought her book that day (and only now getting round to reviewing! Apologies!).

Man Drought is the story of Imogen who buys a country pub to kick-start a new life after the unfortunate death of her husband.

Enter the hard-to-know Gibson Black, a farmer who rues the new woman and her annoying habit of inflicting change on the small community.

While it’s been some time since I read Man Drought, scenes return to me like vivid dreams, such is the charm of Johns’ storytelling.

Having also been well acquainted with the country pub scene in my youth (mum was a barmaid), I really enjoyed not only the setting and quintessential manliness, but how Imogen goes about making the local watering hole inviting to all.

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The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

midwivesI’M sad this book is over. Sally Hepworth’s The Secret of Midwives introduces us to  three generations of midwives and by the time I’d finished reading, they felt like part of my own family.

It tracks the course of Neva, newly pregnant, her hippie-mother Grace and dutiful grandmother Floss, all of whom have worked as midwives.

While untold family history parallels Neva’s own anonymous “sperm donor” and keeps the intrigue ticking along, it’s the insight into the women’s relationship that was most enveloping.

It’s the complicated to-ing and fro-ing that most mother-daughter relationships are subject to, that was deftly explored by Hepworth.

Neva’s practical nature contrasts well against her well-intentioned but melodramatic mother and the child-birth scenes are – to my basic knowledge – real to life.

It’s also interesting to see how childbirth – and the role of women in this profession – has developed over the years.

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Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd

madHAVING devoured Last Summer (also by Kylie Ladd), I was very excited to hear she had turned her pen towards a female-centric storyline in Mothers and Daughters.

Mothers and Daughters takes four mothers onto a journey to a remote Aboriginal community north of Broome, they take their four daughters (former schoolmates) to get reacquainted and show them some of Australia.

But as is the case with most family holidays, it doesn’t all go according to plan.

Ladd writes with gentle Australian flavour that I admire and her characters – from the altruistic Amira to the casually racist Fiona – are believable, even if their friendship doesn’t always seem organic.

While Mothers and Daughters had me daydreaming of a Aussie holiday, the pace of the storyline did not increase until towards the very end and I began to wonder on occasion where this story was headed.

Still, it was a satisfying read and a fair warning to young girls about the perils of trying to grow up too fast.

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