In brief: Mattie has the job and life in London she thought she wanted until a freak accident destroys it all. Could coming home to Australia heal more than her physical wounds?
The good: A lovely story with plenty to interest the reader.
The not-so-good: I need to go back and read Rose’s Vintage now!
Why I chose it: Thanks to Black Inc Books for introducing me to Kayte Nunn’s books.
Publisher: Nero (Black Inc Books)
Setting: London, Switzerland and rural Australia
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Look at the cover for Angel’s Share by Kayte Nunn. It just radiates warmth, sunshine and relaxing times, right? What’s even better is that the novel inside these pages is just as warmth, heartfelt and relaxing. It’s like you can step inside into the world of the characters in Shingle Valley and just relax. The story is enjoyable and sprinkled with sunshine.
If you’ve read Rose’s Vintage, you will be familiar with some of the characters of this book. If not, it honestly doesn’t matter because this book stands alone perfectly well. (I can vouch for that, being one of the latter). The vineyards, businesses and characters are all explained well, as well as relationships formed (and possibly broken) in the last book. This book introduces Mattie (short for Matilda), Mark’s sister who left for London in her teens and never looked back. Now she has a great job in advertising, a lovely boyfriend and a great best friend. It looks like her life will continue on the same trajectory until a skiing holiday in Switzerland turns pear-shaped and Mattie is injured. If that’s not bad enough, she also learns some harsh life lessons about who to trust and who flees in a crisis. When Mark offers her the opportunity to recuperate back home in Australia, she’s initially reluctant but doesn’t really have anywhere to go.
It’s back home in Australia that things start to get more interesting for Mattie. There’s seeing friends of her youth, plus Charlie Drummond, former crush. But it’s more than just romance as Mattie learns her skills can be used in other fields and help out the small country community. Another thing that’s great about Angel’s Share is that it’s not just all about Mattie – we get to see Rose’s take on things as she tries to be a good stepmother, business owner and everything in between. Plus the arrival in the valley of friend Cara adds high fashion and loads of fun. It’s a great ensemble of characters that you really want to know more about. I can’t think of any characters that I wouldn’t have been happy to read more of (even the evil Isabella and Johnny were interesting in their reactions).
I really liked how the potential romance between Mattie and Charlie wasn’t a major focus. I know some people will say the opposite, but I found it refreshing to learn about the daily life of the characters. There were some big issues covered with fracking in the valley (and Mattie’s mistreatment by one of the guards) and it was lovely to show how a small community can come together (and work together!) to try and make things better for everyone, not just themselves. Mattie’s road not only to physical health but the next phase in her life was a joy to read.
Both the setting and the characters really come to life under Kayte Nunn’s guidance in Angel’s Share. I’d love to visit the area and partake in the great food and wine! Sadly, it’s fictional but that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the read. I’d love to see some more books in this series – Cara, city girl turned rural, would be perfect!