Today I’m pleased to be able to be part of the blog tour, organised by Random House for Margareta Osborn’s new book, Hope’s Road. If you’ve been following along with the tour, you would have read the review at Book’d Out yesterday. To continue the fun, please visit This Charming Mum tomorrow. I received an eARC from Random House in exchange for this review, but my thoughts are my own. I deliberately haven’t read anyone else’s reviews yet either!
I am quite ‘into’ Aussie rural lit at the moment, having been introduced to it recently by both publishers and family who gave me books for Christmas! I always thought I knew it all about the country, being a former resident, but I’ve changed my mind. There’s so many different types/areas that make up rural Australia and in this book, Margareta Osborn has introduced me to a different kind of farming region in Victoria. This is a place where there’s a lot of rain, things are green and the type of farming is cattle. But don’t think that this book is all about farming. Oh no. The characters will stop you in a second.
Our protagonist is Tammy McCauley, stuck in a rapidly unravelling marriage and trying to make it on her farm with little help. On the hill, she’s watched over by her estranged great uncle, Old Joe. A rift in the family has now become a feud that’s lasted generations. New to the region is dog trapper Travis Hunter and his son Billy, who are haunted by their own past.
Although the story is told predominantly from Tammy’s point of view, we get to see inside Travis’ and Joe’s minds to learn their backstories and what they want – companionship and love – not too different from what Tammy’s looking for. As the story unfolds, both good and bad events bring these characters together. Tammy is very believable as a heroine I can relate to – she’s grounded, not supermodel gorgeous and has just enough flaws to be real. Old Joe is a crusty old character, grumpy but lovable. Billy is a sweet kid (portrayed very intelligently and becomes part of the group of the main characters – not always something you see with child characters) and Travis – well, he’s a nice guy and not just to look at…
These characters are supported by some incredibly funny friends – Lucy, a nurse with multi-coloured hair despairs at the thought of ever finding a man (or woman) while the way Jacinta (“call me Cin”) throws herself at Travis is hilarious, even risking her tiny car on a bush track! The villains are also heinous through their actions (one particular scene left me shocked), but they don’t always win.
As for plot, I found it believable and ultimately heart-warming, restoring my faith in the goodness of people (there’s not much goodness in peak hour rush, where most of my reading was conducted!). It reminded me of an Australia we don’t see much of anymore – mate helping mate and caring beyond what’s reasonably expected. The writing has a beautiful Aussie flavour to it too. It’s a little slow to start with, establishing the scene and each of the characters, but the ending is full speed ahead. I defy anyone to put down the book during the last 70 pages!
I look forward to reading Margareta’s other book, Bella’s Run, which I received for Christmas.
If my review has piqued your interest in this book, you can sample Hope’s Road
here on the Random House website.