She imagined most people in her situation would be smiling, reminiscing fondly, eager to start adding to their memories. She had fond recollections too, if she looked back far enough, but they’d all been railroaded by her most painful memory. the memory of making the biggest mistake of her life and, as a result, having to leave the only place she’d ever really called home.
Ten years ago Ellie left Hope Valley in a hurry, leaving not just the town she’d come to know and love, but her jilted fiancee, Flynn. Now she’s back, hoping she cna keep a low profile while she cares for her godmother, Matilda, recovering from a fall. But the town is small and Ellie is now a famous soap opera star, so keeping that low profile is going to be impossible. Add to that the fact that the whole town seems to hate her for what she did to Flynn. then, of course, thre’s Flynn himself, who she’d like to avoid, but who seems to be everywhere, still just as handsome. Ellie finds her feelings for Flynn haven’t changed – but surely it’s too late to undo the past.
Jilted is a rural romance set in country Western Australia. Hope Valley is a fictional town, but the surrounding towns – Katanning, Tambellup and others – are very real, and the author has worked to create a believably West Australian setting. But readers don’t need to be familiar with the region to be able to connect with the characters and become absorbed in their relationships. As well as watching Ellie and Flynn reconnect and try to figure out their past – and future – we see Ellie also deal with the ageing of her godmother, and struggle with her past. Otehr characters too have difficulties to face and triumphs to celebrate.
A heartwarming read.
Jilted, by Rachael Johns
This book is available in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.
In a fictionalised retelling of the events, Gillespie shares the story in accessible language and detail, capturing both the excitement and the terror of the day.
The kitchen door bursts open. A gust of wind lashes about the room and Sam enters, panting….
‘A ship’s hit the rocks down Calgardup, Mrs Bussell. The swell’s all strong there today, an’ people in the water – I can take the horse to help.’
‘Sam, saddle Smiler for me.’ Grace shakes the cake mixture from her hands. ‘I’ll ride with him,’ she says to her mother.
In 1876, sixteen year old Grace Bussell helped to rescue the passengers of the shipwrecked Georgette and was rightly labelled a hero. But her fellow rescuer, Sam Isaacs, an Aboriginal stockman, was all but forgotten in spite of his important role in saving the lives of passengers and crew. Now, in Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck, new author Michelle Gillespie hopes to right that wrong by celebrating the role both rescuers, and their horses, played in saving those aboard the Georgettefrom drowning.
In a fictionalised retelling of the events, Gillespie shares the story in accessible language and detail, capturing both the excitement and the terror of the day. The dark tone of the illustrations, by Sonia Martinez, provide an excellent complement to the dramatic nature, and seriousness, of the text. the endpapers are especially stunning – the opening one showing the ship steaming ahead of foreboding storm clouds, and the back of book showing the hip sinking beneath the waves. Back of book notes provide information about the sinking and rescue.
Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck, provides a wonderful glimpse at this little known piece of Western Australia’s maritime history.
Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck, by Michelle Gillespie, illustrated by Sonia Martinez
Fremantle Press, 2011
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.