It’s a real pleasure today to share my review of The Life She Finds by Maggie Christensen, the fourth book in the Granite Springs series set in the small Australian country town: published on 9th June, it’s now available for kindle (also available free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to the author for providing my e-copy for review.
I really enjoy this time of the month – all blog tour books for this month read, no need to pick up one of next month’s for a week or two – when I can indulge myself and pick up any book that takes my fancy. I know it was less than a month ago when I reviewed the last book in Maggie’s Granite Springs series – the third, The Life She Wants (review here) – but knowing this one was waiting on my kindle, I really couldn’t resist…
When Lyn Hudson takes early retirement, her plan is to fulfil a lifelong dream to travel the world. But news of her father’s death forces her back to Granite Springs; the town she fled when she was eighteen. While she has fond memories of roaming the paddocks with her childhood friend, Ken, life on the land was definitely not for her.
Ken Thompson, cheated out of his inheritance in the family property after an argument with his father, has built up a successful business in Granite Springs as a realter and stock and station agent. When the son he intended to inherit his business returns to work on the family property, his plans for the future are shattered and family relations further strained.
Thrown together by circumstances, the pair discover the spark which they denied forty-five years earlier is still smouldering. But time has passed. They are different people.
Is it possible they’ll find common ground and start afresh, or will Lyn once again follow her dreams and abandon Granite Springs and their chance at happiness?
I always enjoy the time I spend among friends at Granite Springs, but this lovely story was one that particularly resonated with me. Lyn’s retirement travel plans have had to be put on hold – first the death of her father, then her mother’s ailing health and planned move into a care home. She fled Granite Springs in her youth, running away from a life she didn’t want to lead – and it’s the last place she wants to be. If you know me, you’ll understand why the storyline was so close to home – and the way the author captures Lyn’s response to the situation really couldn’t have been better.
Ken was her childhood friend, and fondly remembered – but also partly her reason for running away, when the simple friendship became burdened with the expectation of becoming something rather more. Both main characters are now in their sixties, and Ken’s a successful realtor (isn’t that so much better than being an “estate agent”?!), and their paths cross again with the planned sale of her mother’s home. His business was rather a forced change of direction – family issues drove him away from his farming home, and he’s now encountering more issues over the direction his own son will follow.
I really liked the way the central relationship was handled in this book – the professional contact with its undercurrents, well-meaning friends trying to bring them together, the rekindled friendship moving forward into the possibility of something more. The author always gets under the skins and into the inner thoughts of her characters so very well, and I found so much to identify with in this story.
And surrounding the central storyline is the community I’ve begun to feel very much part of – time spent in Granite Springs is time spent among friends. Every book in this series is entirely readable as a standalone, but having read the whole series I particularly enjoy coming across characters I’ve enjoyed spending time with before.
Lyn’s granddaughter arrives to attend university, drawn by her new relationship, but also by Owen and the new school of music and drama: and look, there’s Owen again, finding his feet as leader of the local choir, dealing with the still disgruntled opposition. And then there’s Jo – she becomes Lyn’s confidante (as she has to many others who join her at the table in the Coffee Bean), and she and Col bring everyone together for an Australia Day birthday party on their property that I’ve got to know so well. They’re all here – yes, even Jo and Gordon’s son Danny, who tried so hard to force his mother into one of his tiny apartments so he could take over her home, but this time he’s in a situation where he’s a little out of his depth.
I totally adore this series – wonderful stories, the best of writing, characters who have become friends, a vividly drawn setting, a touch of tension and intrigue, a few moments of drama, real lives I always feel privileged to share. And I think this book might have been my favourite so far – if you haven’t tried this lovely series yet, I really do recommend you give it a try.
About the author
After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her frequent visits to family in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them.
From her native Glasgow, Scotland, Maggie was lured by the call ‘Come and teach in the sun’ to Australia, where she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!
She continues her love of books as a volunteer with her local library where she selects and delivers books to the housebound. A member of Queensland Writer’s Centre, RWA, ALLi, and a local critique group, Maggie enjoys meeting her readers at book signings and library talks.