Recently I received some much anticipated book mail. It was a copy of the third novel in the McIntyre sister series from rural romance author, Maya Linnell. This latest novel is enchantingly titled – Magpie’s Bend. Maya is a Victorian romance author and former journalist who has found huge success in this much loved genre. Her writing is honest, heartwarming and relatable and reading her stories feels like catching up with an old friend.
In this book Maya tells the story of Lara, perhaps the prickliest of the four sisters. Reading this story we begin to understand why. Maya’s previous novels have detailed the lives of the corporate Penny, in debut Wildflower Ridge and owner builder Angie, in Bottlebrush Creek. I’m guessing Diana’s story will be next. Each of these terrific reads take us back to rural Australia and it’s comforting to catch up with all our favourite characters once again.
Lara is a bush nurse, keen runner and single Mum to Evie. Evie is Lara’s world. When Evie heads off to boarding school, Lara’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel and she is overwhelmed with a loneliness she is loathe to admit. Her most faithful companion is a snake chasing , escape artist kelpie called Basil. So when an accident puts the beating heart of her community in jeopardy Lara swings into action.
The small country town of Bridgefield can’t manage without their general store and post office, but Lara can’t stomach some trendy out-of- towners buying it and revamping it with no thought as to what the town really needs. Enter handsome rural journalist , Toby Paxton, who proves hard to resist. But where do his allegiances lie and is Lara strong enough to open her traumatised heart to love again?
Loyalties are put to the test as the locals band together to save the shop, with personal agendas, old grudges and misunderstandings threatening to hamper their best efforts. Readers become invested in saving the shop, as the locals add a black – tie ball , a fun run and a unique raffle into the mix.
Maya’s characters are so well drawn with Lara and Toby’s extended families all having roles to play. Community characters abound. Even the animal characters have unique personalities of their own. A little magpie called Vegemite is a wonderful and lovable character and I loved the inclusion of donkeys, one of my favourite animals.
The budding romance between Toby and Lara is the ‘ talk of the town’ and this grown up relationship develops beautifully with Maya’s masterful touch. This pitch perfect rural romance with a strong sense of community, family, laughter and love will have you clamouring for more. You’ll definitely be hungry. Maya includes lots baking and mouthwatering treats which is one of her own passions. She always writes what she knows from her own perspective on country life , whilst also not shying away from the more dramatic aspects of life and the tangle of human relationships.
My appetite has been whet for the final instalment of the McIntyre sister’s story. I’ll look forward to this next instalment of rural life, love, family, friendship and fun. Magpie’s Bend is a delightful read which gives we city slickers a glimpse into the country life that this author knows so well. After the cancellation of last year’s tour for Bottlebrush Creek lucky readers round Australia will be able to to attend real time talks to hear, see and speak with Maya. I’m sure the upcoming road trip with her family will only provide Maya with more material and tales to be told. Magpie’s Bend is a cosy and genuine novel , expertly crafted by one of Australia’s best loved romance authors.
In country Queensland you can meet Maya in Chinchilla on June 23 at 5:30 pm, Dalby Library at 10am on June 24, on June 25 Proston Library at 1pm then Kingaroy Library at 3pm and on Monday June 28 she’ll head up to Gympie Library for a 1 pm talk. She’ll also be appearing at the Moreton Bay Readers and Writers Festival before appearing at Bulimba Library on June 3. You can check Maya’s website : https//www.mayalinnell.com for more information about her upcoming author talks near you.
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!).