Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley
Random House, March 2013
Synopsis- From the author of the bestselling Bella’s Run comes another captivating rural romance set in the the rugged, beautiful high country of East Gippsland.
Hope’s Road connects three very different properties, and three very different lives …
Sixty years ago, heartbroken and betrayed, old Joe McCauley turned his back on his family and their fifth-generation farm, Montmorency Downs. He now spends his days as a recluse, spying upon the land – and the granddaughter – that should by rights have been his.
For Tammy McCauley, Montmorency Downs is the last remaining tie to her family. But land can make or break you – and, with her husband’s latest treachery, how long can she hold on to it?
Wild-dog trapper, Travis Hunter, is struggling as a single dad, unable to give his son, Billy, the thing he craves most. A complete family.
Then, out of the blue, a terrible event forces the three neighbours to confront each other – and the mistakes of their past …
Review- Hope’s Road is Margareta Osborn’s second full-length novel to be released with Random House. It’s packed with plenty of family drama, a strong, hard-working heroine and of course romance.
Set in a country town of East Gippsland, Tammy McCauley is fighting to keep Montmorency Downs- the property that characterises her family heritage and hard work ethic- up and running when her abusive husband leaves her for the town publican and wants a financial settlement super quick. Tammy is coming to terms with the fact that her decade-long marriage has come to an end and she could possibly lose the family farm.
The story is told from the viewpoints of Tammy, her estranged uncle Joe and single-dad, Travis Hunter. Travis’ young son Billy works as a farmhand for Tammy who can see how eager Billy is to get his father’s attention. However, Travis still hasn’t come to terms with his family situation, his wife walked out on him and then his mother had a stroke leaving him to raise a young boy on his own. He doesn’t know how to be the father Billy needs, but Tammy doesn’t hold back in giving him some suggestions.
The three adults are brought together when an accident up on Joe’s property involving the old bloke and young Billy requires a hospitalisation. For the first time in her life she comes face to face with her uncle Joe, a verbally abusive, bitter old man. Surprisingly she and Travis both volunteer to help care for Joe as he recovers from his injury. The attraction between Tammy and Travis is palpable but there’s a lot of issues that seem to get in the way of them doing anything about it for awhile. In this regard, the pacing of the first half of the story was quite slow, but I think it did provide a good foundation for character building of Joe, Tammy and Travis and allowed for the relationship between the couple to unfold naturally. I think Joe’s perspective provided some insight into Tammy’s family life and he also reminded me of my cranky old Pop. My mum and I travelled up to Newcastle to visit him in Hospital after he had a mild heart attack and though he wasn’t verbally abusive like Joe, he certainly was a pain in the butt when it came to accepting help!
Osborn writing allows the reader to sink into the story and feel as though you’re part of the community. I feel as though I could picture Tammy’s daily routine and predict her reactions and yet there’s still enough room for plenty of surprises. Early in the story Tammy’s experience of domestic violence was portrayed credibly, though I do wish she’d had the opportunity to kick him out instead of him leaving! My only criticism would be that for a woman who’d experienced such an abusive marriage I’d have expected her to struggle with trusting Travis or experience a bit more anxiety about running the farm on her own- but that’s a minor issue with the story in my opinion.
Hope’s Road is a family saga that explores generational issues, domestic violence, grief and loss, but also hope and passion and characters that feel so real. It’ll be well received by fans of rural lit and contemporary romance.
“I loved this book!”
Hope’s Road can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge: