My favourite romance read for 2019 was Wildflower Ridge by debut author, Maya Linnell. I had waited patiently for the next instalment and was excited to receive a copy of Maya’s second novel – Bottlebrush Creek, the latest book in the McIntyre Sister series. Bottlebrush Creek was released around Australia on June 2 and although Maya had been scheduled to launch the book in person, change happens. She is now doing interviews and launching this latest book online, with a series of events including some of her great loves- baking, building and books.
Bottlebrush Creek tells the story of the youngest McIntyre sister – Angie McIntyre and is a sparkling rural romance set in the picturesque town of Port Fairview. It’s a story of changing relationships, family ties and an engaging snapshot of rural life. It combines the joys and pitfalls of renovating , with family tensions, funny moments and a young couple learning to live, love and parent together.
About Maya Linnell
Maya Linnell is a former journalist who had big dreams of becoming an author. That dream came true with her debut novel Wildflower Ridge which cemented her place as one of the brightest new voices in rural romance. Wildflower Ridge was recently named as one of the top 100 books of 2019 by Better Reading.
Maya is also a wife and mother of three who lives in a picturesque part of Victoria, with a beach on one side , farmland and bush on the other. She grew up riding motorbikes and climbing trees in the country and she lived overseas before coming home and writing stories about the locals in rural newspapers.
Maya’s Dad always told her to ‘write what she knows’ and her writing shines with authenticity, peppered with her own experiences. Maya and her family have just built their own home, even making their own bricks, and it is these experiences that she highlights throughout the pages of Bottlebrush Creek, as she shares the ups and downs of Angie and Rob’s romance and cottage renovation. There’s plenty of cooking and baking, which has now become a signature of Maya’s work, which will definitely entice you to don your frilliest apron and head to the kitchen. One of the biggest frustrations for the main character is her lack of an oven whilst renovating. Many of us can relate to that.
Rob Jones and Angie McIntyre have had a whirlwind romance. He’s a FIFO worker and she runs a busy beauty salon. They share a two year old daughter called Claudia and with Angie’s hectic volunteer commitments and having to do the lion’s share of raising Claudia, Angie has barely time to turn around. With each passing month she feels like her relationship with Rob is slipping away.
When Rob is made redundant and a fabulous fixer-upper comes on to the market, Angie hope that this little weatherboard cottage will be just the project to bring their little family together. There’s just one catch: the 200 acre property is right next to Rob’s parents farm in South West Victoria. What could possibly go wrong?
Throw in an over-helpful mother , a distant father and an estranged twin brother and it doesn’t take long for the stress of renovation and rising family tension to set a wedge between this hard- working couple. Will their grand design draw them together or be the very thing that tears them apart?
This story really resonated with me. When I was first married, as a twenty – two year old Year Two Teacher, my husband and I renovated a worker’s cottage and so many of the experiences shared in the story had me nodding in agreement. It also brought back many wonderful and funny memories. My husband rode a motorbike at the time, just like Rob in the story. Now my son and his partner are looking for a home and we’ve recently seen many fixer – uppers whilst on the property hunt with them. It is such a special time in your life and Maya tells Rob and Angie’s story with honesty, understanding and insight.
You will love this book and fall in love with Angie, who is such a well drawn character. She is in turn strong but vulnerable, headstrong yet lacking confidence at times. Her partner, Rob Jones’ character is a hard working builder, trying so hard to please both his mother, Rosa and his partner, Angie while seemingly making mistakes at every turn. He’s trying to grow his own building company and renovating while also hoping to win some hard won praise from his father, John. His relationship with his brother is another facet explored by this masterful writer.
I loved spending time in the setting of Port Fairview, the fictional town inspired by the real Port Fairy. The abundance of animals, the soothing calmness of the sea, the cooking and baking plus the ups and downs of friendship and family all kept me reading long into the night. It was great to catch up with Angie’s sister’s Penny, Lara and Diana, as well as their kindly father, Angus and their extended family once again. It was as cosy as meeting up with old friends.
This story is full of heart, romance and tension. You will find yourself relating to so much in the story and really caring about where this little family is going. Thank you to my insta, now real life, friend Maya Linnell and her publisher, Allen and Unwin for gifting me this beautiful book for review. Bottlebrush Creek is available now from all good book stores. If you are looking for a heart warming story full of the joys and foibles of renovating , a believable romance and a slice of country living then you are going to love this one.
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Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).