Author: Tricia Stringer
A Chance of Stormy Weather is the latest release by South Australian author Tricia Stringer, except reading the acknowledgements tells me it wasn’t quite as new a release as I thought. The original version of the story was self-published in 2004 under a different name.
I have read the bulk of Stringer’s back catalogue, and the two I haven’t read are sitting patiently on my shelves awaiting the day I find the time to pick them up. I have enjoyed all of them and look forward to catching up.
A Chance of Stormy Weather is a city girl meets farm boy and falls in love story, nothing too original there, but Stringer writes the story with original twists, wit and sensitivity.
The main conflicts of the story come down to a lack of communication and though that frustrates me, especially because it’s so common in books these days and it could so easily be remedied with a decent conversation and some honesty, it is also very relevant to couples of today because communication is often one of the biggest hurdles relationships face.
Paula and Dan had a rapid courtship, a short engagement and a quick wedding; all of which lead to their families being a little concerned at the speed it all happened because they both have some pretty hefty past relationship baggage. One of the biggest worries of their families is the massive lifestyle change for Paula as she leaves her life in Sydney to move to a sheep farm in small town South Australia. A farm half an hour from the closest town with no mobile reception, no internet connectivity, a mouse problem and the two-way radio that intrudes on most aspects of life. Not to mention the fact that they moved into the old homestead on the property; that needs lots of renovations.
Paula’s parents are protective, and interfering, they worry that this decision was a mistake; and they aren’t afraid to say so. They organise a visit soon after the wedding and even arrive early, before Paula is close to prepared for them.
It really is a different world for Paula and there are times she’s not sure if she will be able to cut it. She keeps telling herself that as long as they love each other the rest doesn’t matter, they can make it work. The long days at home alone take their toll; she has no transport, she doesn’t know the area, she doesn’t know the people and the constant background static of the two-way channel and it’s open communication for the whole district to hear frustrate her. It isn’t helped by Dan’s brusque aunt who, whether intentionally or not, makes Paula feel like she’s never going to measure up.
Paula is a strong and independent woman who suffered a lot after her last breakup and her parents are worried, more-so that they rushed in and aren’t aware of what they’re in for. It turns out that they might not be that far wrong, Paula and Dan got to know each other well in the present and their chemistry is amazing… but is that enough? They didn’t spend time talking about the future, except in that it was a big change to leave the city for the farm, and they didn’t talk about their pasts because they were best left there and not relevant to their lives together. The problem with that is if there is unfinished business in the past that isn’t discussed, it often turns up to put a strain on the present and the lack of foreknowledge and discussion makes it all look a lot worse because you don’t have the full story.
A Chance of Stormy Weather gives an insightful view of life on the farm, with the importance of the weather, the sense of community and all of the things that go along with that. It’s also a look at family, secrets and the importance of communication. Love is enough, if you are open and honest and work with your partner.
I loved A Chance of Stormy Weather, I ended up staying up way too late and finishing it in just on 24hours around the demands on family life. Dan is a complex and conflicted character who is responsible, strong and dependable but not as openly communicative as he could be. Paula is resilient, independent and strong, she lives up to every challenge thrown at her, even when it all seems too hard and she’s feeling lonely but she suffers bouts of insecurity left over from her previous relationship.
A Chance of Stormy Weather is book #59 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.