Wildflower Hill, by Kimberley Freeman
Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (August 23, 2011)
Amazon Book Description: Hailed by bestselling author Kate Morton as “a gorgeous story of family and secrets and the redemptive power of love,” Wildflower Hill is s compelling and romantic novel spanning three generations and half the world, from modern day London to Australia in the 1930s.
Emma is a prima ballerina in London and at a crossroads after an injured knee ruins her career. When she learns of her grandmother Beattie’s death, and her own strange inheritance—an isolated sheep station in rural Australia—Emma is certain she has been saddled with an irritating burden. But when she returns to Australia, forced to rest her body and confront her life, she realizes that she had been using fame as a substitute for love and fulfillment.
Beattie also found herself at a crossroads as a young woman, but she was pregnant and unwed. She eventually found success—but only after following an unconventional path that was often dangerous and heartbreaking. Beattie knew the lessons she learned in life would be important to Emma one day, and she wanted to make sure Emma’s heart remained open to love, no matter what life brought. She knew the magic of the Australian wilderness would show Emma the way.
Wildflower Hill is a compelling, atmospheric, and romantic novel about taking risks, starting again, and believing in yourself. It’s about finding out what you really want and discovering that the answer might be not at all what you’d expect.
Reading Sara Review: I’m a sucker for romance, so I thought this book was an absolute delight. I feel like I have been reading a lot of books lately that cross two time periods with characters that lives mirror each other in some way. This was one of those, and it was done very well. I became invested in both Emma and Beattie’s stories, and since reading, have found myself remembering them as characters that I wonder about.
Emma is a flawed heroine, but one that you watch grow and emerge as someone even more lovable. Beattie is a strong woman that goes through heartbreak, and amazingly has the foresight to know that her granddaughter would need to come to where she built a life and experience it to find her way (it’s a novel, not a real story, so I am good with believing this sort of thing!).
Beattie’s story is certainly much deeper than Emma’s story line – and brings up really interesting concepts of religion and morality when making decisions about what is best for children. The sub-characters that were a part of Beattie’s story were fascinating and I would have loved more from their point of view. There are too many spoilers, so I will not go into detail – but would love some offline conversations about this if you have read it. Beattie was a risk taker, but in a calculated and informed way which made her a real and memorable character.
Some of Emma’s story will be slightly predictable, but even so, I enjoyed it while it lasted. I liked her relationships with those around her, and appreciated how she was influenced by her grandmother in interesting ways.
The book is fast-paced and a quick read for your Labor Day weekend (or really, any weekend). So, sit back and enjoy!
Wine Recommendation: Well, because this book is set in Australia, I highly recommend drinking something local! Food & Wine Magazine has a great article on the best wines from Australia, so you can truly have your pick of any price range. I’ll tell you when I find my favorite! http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/best-reds-from-australia