by Helen Brown
Genre: Womens Literature
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Description from Publisher: From New York Times bestselling author Helen Brown comes a witty, uplifting novel about a woman who discovers that it's never too late to build the home--and the life--you've always longed for…
The windows rattle. The roof leaks. Every surface cries out to be stripped, painted, or polished. But for writer Lisa Trumperton, the dilapidated manor house that once belonged to her great-grandfather is far more than the sum of its battered parts. It's the chance for a new start on her own terms. The fact that it's in the Melbourne countryside of her Australian homeland, far from the deceitful ex-husband she just left behind in New York…well, that's a bonus.
Lisa sets to work refurbishing Trumperton Manor, assisted by her son, his friends, and a "Gray Army" of retired handymen. But it's not just her ancestral home that's being transformed. As she trades her chic Manhattan clothes for jeans and work boots, Lisa is changing and fortifying her relationships with her family and her sense of self. There are floods, fires, and catastrophes, but there are new allies too, including a one-eyed cat, a stubborn cockatoo, and a rugged landscaper with an irresistible grin. Piece by piece, the house is pushing Lisa beyond her old limits, daring her to embrace something bigger, braver, and more rewarding than she ever dreamed.
|I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.com for an honest, unbiased review. My opinion is my own.|
This was a nice and very pleasant story that I enjoyed from the first few pages. It was well-written and had some truly entertaining moments.
My favorite aspects were the animals and the interactions with them, and the setting itself. I'm an American who love basically all things "Australia", and the description here was fantastic and very immersive. I've been to Oz, but haven't yet made it to Melbourne or the surrounding areas, and it was easy to imagine what Castlemaine was like. I also have to say, I smiled at the earlier scene with roadkill kangaroo - having traveled from Perth to Ningaloo (Coastal Outback), it was very accurate and a nice reminder that Lisa had been affected by her 23 years in the U.S. (and that she was an animal lover).
The way that Lisa was about all of the animals was sweet and really made me like her character. The animals themselves were unique and added an extra flavor all their own. Who wouldn't fall in love with a mangy, feral, one-eyed cat who learns to trust? :)
Lisa was a fine character, as were the others, but something felt did feel a little flat about them. None-the-less, I liked each of the characters, except Jake, as is to be expected. I did wonder at first what the significance of her son being gay was, as it kept coming up, but I loved the slow-roll of the entire subplot.
The situations were all enjoyable and felt very genuine. The backstory about the Trumpertons was interesting, but I had hoped it would be slowly uncovered with little clues, adding more mystery to everything. Instead, basically everything is revealed at once not far from the end in a relatively unceremonious way.
Overall, I found this to be a wonderful story about a middle-age woman finding herself again.