The fourth and final tale in the lives of the effervescent McIntyre family draws to a close with Paperbark Hill from much loved author Maya Linnell.
Diana McIntyre is slowly accepting that her beloved husband Pete has passed and she now has to build a life for herself and her four boys, based around and in her commercial flower acreage. Darling Dahlia’s had given her a purpose in the dark days after Pete’s death, as she slowly began to expand her gardens of mixed cutting flowers and roses, to encompass the glorious riot of colourful dahlia’s.
Ned Gardiner is a single father of two children, a locum pharmacist and man on the move, traveling around Australia in his beloved van Stan the van. He is about to move on to his new contract, when he gets a phone call from his brother asking him to get to Victoria as quickly as possible, as their father has had an accident and the prognosis is not good.
When Diana can’t raise her neighbour, friend and mentor, Colin she goes over to his property armed with a basket of fresh scones, only to find Colin’s son Ned and children Willow and Doug there. Ned breaks the news to her Colin has passed after falling from the roof trying to re-sheet it during gale force winds.
Ned’s return to the farm is one not filled with joy as the memories held there are anything but pleasant, but as his brother ‘Jonno’ has to leave immediately for a contract in the Antarctic, he realises he is to be the one to sort out Colin’s affairs; he needs to stay.
As the days’ pass, Diana hears back from gardening guru Sadie Woodford’s PR agency who are excited to use her Darling Dahlia’s as a venue to launch her new book, something Diana can hardly believe is real. But the work that has to be done is somewhat overwhelming and without her friend Colin to help and encourage, she is beginning to doubt she can get the gardens ready in time.
In this carefully crafted rural romance Maya Linnell deals with the many complexities that make up family life with real life characters who grace the pages and situations to which we can all relate.
There is Diana’s father-in- law Reg, a ‘mansplainer’ from way back, Maeve a woman who is cautious with the world, Ned, not looking to put down roots, but slowly discovering he is doing so, Cameron, a teen growing up with all the hormonal emotions that go with teen years and a gently developing romance that leaves both Ned and Diana wondering if it is the right thing to be doing.
As the McIntyre family once again come to the rescue when things go horribly wrong and the community rallies to support Diana, the pages draw to a close a delightful sojourn with a family who have touched the hearts and minds of readers though laughter, tragedy and fun as each of the sisters have faced their challenges and rebuilt their lives.
Paperbark Hill is an absolute gem and the perfect finale, although the McIntyre family will definitely be missed from the pages of Australian country romance fiction.
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|