Book Club: A Chance of Stormy Weather

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Author: Tricia Stringer
ISBN: 9781489210562
RRP: $29.99

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.

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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.

Available now from Harlequin, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Tricia can be found at Tricia Stringer.com and Facebook.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading A Chance of Stormy Weather so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

21 thoughts on “Book Club: A Chance of Stormy Weather

  1. Thank you for letting me read A chance of stormy weather. Firstly I did enjoy the book. The characters were real enough to imagine, the story line was close to the truth and could obviously have happened but I also feel that the author didnt get into the grittiness of the lifestyle change from city to country.

    I felt that the harshness of the outback and farm life was glossed over, it was almost a bit rose coloured glasses along with the fact that the character Paula could have been expanded a bit more, to find out her true grit, her stubbornness, I wanted more from her, more insight. She was a bit naive and I get that was what we expected from a city girl in this story and that may be the writers way of telling it.

    I was also left dangling on how Dan and Paula actually met. Is there more to that part of it, is that crucial to this particular story , im not sure but I would like to know, especially as they seemed to have gotten married very quickly.

    All in all the story as a whole was enjoyable and I loved Rowena, she brought it all together for me. Excellent weekend reading.

  2. What a lovely and delightful read ‘A Chance of Stormy Weather’ was, which was originally self-published under a different title, but Harlequin picked up Tricia Stringer’s story to publish. The book kept me coming back for more, and was just such a nice easy read that it was good to go back to pick up and immerse myself in country life.

    The story follows Paula, a city girl who is getting over a bad relationship, who meets country boy Dan. They soon were married, and Paula moves to his farm to start their life together. Here she learns there is much more to living in the country than she thought – mice problems, weather and isolation. Paula’s parents and Dan’s aunt think the marriage happened all too quickly, and are a little doubtful about whether it will last.

    I really enjoyed seeing Paula grow and develop, and I too felt like I was learning with her along the way of what happened on a farm and how tough it can be at times. Although sometimes I was frustrated with her attitude. Dan is such a strong character and he himself comes with past baggage too, and at times it didn’t seem like his character was changing or progressing, but in the end I think it all came together.

    Of course newly married life and dealing with the demands of a farm isn’t all lovey dovey, and it at times shows lies and miscommunication. There are also some twists and turns and emotional occurrences which bring Paula and Dan either together or further apart at times.

    I really liked the characters of the town too, Tricia has written them beautifully, and whenever I read about each character I felt like I knew them (Rowena was such a card!). All with different personalities but all quite relatable, and they grew with the story as well. I think for me it covered the happenings of farm life just right – I didn’t want too much in depth descriptions, as the information about the lambs was too much for me to take already!!

    Overall I really enjoyed A Chance of Stormy Weather, it felt like a familiar book each time I picked it up. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review 🙂

  3. Sensational read and the quickest I`ve read a book yet! Tricia Stringer is definately one to look out for and I would not hesitate to read another book written by her.
    A Chance of Stormy Weather was a book that you dont want to put down as it always entices you to turn the page to see whats going to happen next. I loved Paulas character and her journey of finding the right man and could relate well with her feelings. Dan was just a pure, good- hearted man who did need to communicate more so Paula wasnt so suspicious or jumping to conclusion because of town gossipers.
    I loved everything about this book and especially that it was just pure heart and soul and not all over the top lovey dovey that sounds too good to be real life. This was really down to the earth storytelling that it made it real life for me.
    I did like Rowena even though she was tough but I knew she had a heart that was always in the right place and Dara was wonderful, I could nearly smell the aromas of her food haha. Was great to find out the happy endings for Rowena and Dara and Chris with their new venture.
    Katherine? well……….thought she was rather smart didnt she? not so it seems.
    Dont want to give too much away but trust me this was a book I won`t forget in a hurry.
    The only thing I imagine Paula to look different to the cover picture, I imagine her really thin with light brown hair for some reason, I guess we all get a picture of each character in our heads dont we? 🙂
    Thanks for this wonderful read as it was the most realistic novel I have read for a long time.
    Highly recommended to go read anything written by Tricia Stringer, she`s darn good thats for sure. 🙂
    Over and Out 😉

  4. “A Chance of Stormy Weather” is a well written Australian romance. It sticks closely to the conventions of the romantic genre, so you’re not going to find any big surprises in the plot. However, the strong characters and distinct Australian flavour make this a novel that is fun to read.

    Sydney girl Paula has up and married farmer Dan Woodcroft in a very short space of time. She’s seen his farm, in rural South Australia, but hasn’t spent any real time there. They don’t seem to have done a lot of talking, either; they haven’t had the conversations you should before marriage, like how each of them feels about having children. But they love each other, and Paula’s sure that’s enough.

    But then she finds herself on the farm, and there’s more than a few disconcerting moments. She hadn’t expected to be so isolated. Dan is so used to managing by himself that he forgets to tell her vital things – like the fact that on Thursday she’s going to have to start feeding a horde of shearers. She hadn’t expected the house to be so run down. And she definitely hadn’t expected the mice plague! Paula could survive all this, but Dan is keeping secrets, and Paula begins to suspect that it might end her marriage.

    I was totally on Paula’s side from the first page. I’m a city girl, and the idea of moving to a farm, with animals, and no internet access, genuinely appals me. At the same time, I sympathised with her love for Dan and her willingness to get in there and give a new life a go. Most readers will empathise with Paula strongly; the culture shock is understandable and the grit with which she approaches her new life is a really appealing characteristic.

    Stringer has a good feel for rural Australian life; farming in Australia has some unique challenges – like the isolation – and she illustrates them well. She’s not pitying the farmers, but she doesn’t gloss over the hard bits either. She also clearly admires the community spirit and cooperation which are integral to the survival of many small communities, and this is subtly but cleverly drawn as well.
    The conflict between Paula and Dan is realistic, and a lot of readers will empathise with that as well. A total lifestyle change, a new marriage, and the ongoing demands of family and friends make the cracks totally believable even while you want the best for Paula and Dan.

    This was a really enjoyable read, which kept me involved and interested despite the lack of surprises in the plot. The characters are strong enough, and their situation realistic enough, that it didn’t matter.

  5. I was looking forward to reading “A chance of stormy weather” because I have often dreamt of moving to a farm and trying to live off it. I imagine I would be a lot like Paula, developing skills and resilience along the way, using a quiet determination to make a life in the country.

    Tricia Stringer wrote well, I certainly pictured the town and its people, her words bringing them to life. The story itself was fairly predictable with no surprises. I would have liked a book with a little more depth to it, concentrating on Paula establishing herself in the community, how she and her husband fell in love. I felt that a lot of what was written was all “on the surface”.

    It was a really easy book to read and finished it in a day. It gave me an understanding of the isolation and hard work that farmers do and an appreciation for the sacrifices they make.

  6. Thank you for the chance to read A Chance of Stormy Weather by Tricia Stringer.

    This is the story of Paula, a city girl from Sydney, and Dan, a country boy from South Australia. They met and married in a relatively short space of time and they both had issues from past relationships that had not been tied off properly.

    The first part of the book dealt with Paula trying to get used to country life and a house needing a fair but of work. There were country creatures to deal with, people nearby who all lived in each others pockets, no set schedules and a tally different way of life to get used to. I got the idea of some of the problems, but some were glossed over a little or downplayed after an initial detailing. I would have liked more detail.

    I loved the people Paula met around town, it showed a friendly all-in approach to country life. I wanted an epilogue to know a little more of what happened with Paula and Dan and those close to them.

    The other theme was secrets in a marriage and how these can affect people. Paula and Dan both had issues which could have probably been sorted a bit easier with better communication. This was also the case with Dan’s aunt Rowena. I loved her as a different character, but her secrets could have been solved easier also.

    It was an easy read which I loved getting back to, and would even enjoy a follow-up.

  7. This was an easy to read novel which I devoured in two nights. As a city girl thrown into country life with my first teaching experience I could totally relate to the mouse plague experience. In later years I became a farmer,s wife and although I had experienced some of the farming life and at least understood the difference between “mutton and lamb”, my naivety closely resembled Paulas. Being a farmer,s wife and a ‘newby’ in the community is certainly a huge adjustment but there is something special about the warmth and co operative nature of country people. Tricia Springer has portrayed this extremely well and I think it is worthwhile that the story has been offered as a “manual to new farm wives “. I learnt from experience but would have greatly appreciated reading this book when I first approached country life as a city girl. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this valuable story.

  8. As other people have commented I found ‘A chance of stormy weather’ an easy read, but it was a good read. I can’t imagine the changes that were happening in Paula’s life that were to make her decide to commit to a man and a lifestyle that she barely knew. That takes guts.

    I know that Paula and Dan met at a friend’s wedding, but there were few more details than that and I would have liked to know more. Why did they decide to get married so quickly? Why couldn’t they have just been engaged or living together to test out Paula’s country living skills? Why wasn’t there more support for Paula from day one on the farm? It would have been a scary move, being so isolated, being stuck (without transport) and not knowing anything about the ‘way of life’.

    Then we get down to the lack of communication between Paula and Dan. I guess that’s where I got confused about Paula having more experience on the farm before making a commitment. I felt that if she’d had more experience then she would have felt more confident to ask the ‘silly’ questions and then the communication lines may not have closed down so easily. Also, if she’d spent more time getting to know Dan before marrying him she likely would have realised that he wasn’t a talker.

    All in all, it was an enjoyable book to read and I will be looking for more of Tricia Stringers books to read in the future. Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great review >:o)

  9. wow I am very surprised at how much I really enjoyed this book . Once I started I could put it down, so that’s a good book in my option.
    I could relate to this to the book as I to relocated to the country . Although Paula’s struggles far out wayed mine .
    Will be passing this onto my mum now for her to enjoy.
    Thank you for allowing me to read this .

  10. Thanks Beauty & Lace for another great book club. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I was in need of a not so heavy book and this was perfect.
    The story of Dan and Paula is the typical city girl marries country boy book with the challenges that country life can bring. God I love farm boy Dan he sounds so big and sweet. Paula is lovely too and despite being quite cluesless to farm life she gradually gets used to it.
    The twists were predictable but still had good little Ohhhh now I see bits for the readers who might not of caught on.
    The other characters brought this book together and we got to see little bits into their lives too.
    Over all good read.
    🙂

  11. What a lovely good read. Easy to follow and again found it a hard book to put down. Read the whole thing over 4 nights..
    Unfortunately i did find the book a bit stereotype in the sense of a city chick in the country and what she can and can’t handle. Never the less it does show how different life is on a working farm.
    Paula sacrified a lot when she moved to the country and it shows through many tales within the book how country people do differ from the city.. how communities band together and how hard life can be isolated away from most ccommodities.
    Tricia did a fantastic job portraying the life on a working farm in an small town realy well and i found the book to be intriguing aswell as funny in some places. A book i would definitely recommend to anyone into outback australian novels.
    Thanks again for letting me read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  12. A Chance of Stormy Weather was originally self-published in 2004 by Australian, rural romance writer, Tricia Stringer. It was also one of her most requested books, as some readers thought it was good at distilling what life in the country is really about. This fictional story is not Stringer’s best work but it is still a well-written and pleasant-enough novel.

    This book is about the marriage between a Sydney girl named Paula and a farmer from South Australia named Dan. The two had a whirlwind romance and got married not long after they initially met (and why this was the case is not properly explored.) This then sets things up for a fish-out-of-water tale as the book takes in the events that surround their first few months of marriage.

    Paula is a naïve city girl when it comes to her new life. She doesn’t know much about the country (even basics like what kind of meat mutton is allude her) and she’s not used to driving along dirt roads. Paula is sometimes a difficult character to warm to. She is pretty idle when she initially arrives at her new home (granted some of this could be chalked up to the culture shock that she experiences) and she is sometimes quite silly (it’s hard to believe that she was burned in a previous relationship only to rush into the arms of another man.)

    Dan on the other hand is an easier person to like. He’s a hard-working guy who’s trying to forge out a living and be self-reliant. But he is also hiding some secrets from the past, most importantly the present status/nature of his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Katherine. There is also Dan’s meddlesome aunt, Rowena who is always on hand to offer her two cents worth and Paula’s parents are occasionally present to interfere with their daughter’s relationship under the guise of “meaning well.”

    A Chance of Stormy Weather glosses over some important elements in the main characters’ romance (as well as their lives before they met one other) and it is ultimately a rather predictable story of a fish out of water. It’s also a book where the characters are not the most endearing or easy to warm to. Stringer has a fine reputation for telling engaging stories about the lives of individuals living in rural Australia and while this book seems to tick some boxes well, there was also room in this vast country expanse for some additional improvements.

  13. A lovely story about life on a farm for a city girl, Paula, who falls in love with country boy, Dan. Realistically, I’m not sure that Paula would have the immediate problems of feeding shearers, encountering a mice plague without prior warning from Dan, however, being the strong woman she is, she met the challenge and many others she has to deal with. A friendly, likeable lady who quickly becomes friends with Dan’s friends, however, meeting a past lover of his does challenge her. Does she stay or go? As a reader i found myself wishing Dan & Paula would communicate more. A book I recommend for all to read and enjoy.

  14. I loved this book. It was an easy read and a very enjoyable love story between a city girl , Paula and Dan, a country, farming boy. The story begins with Paula and Dan already married and on the farm. We learn that they met at a friend’s wedding and married not long after.
    Although the story deals with Paula’s transition into a farmer’s wife, Perhaps more information or another chapter at the beginning could have been about their whirlwind romance.
    Paula is a likeable character who faces many challenges as a farmer’s wife but overcomes them to eventually settle into farm life.
    I would have liked to have seen the character of Rowena developed more but I assume that her story may be told in another book.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this a novel.

  15. Not really a love story, this tale of two people really brought some memories back. Set in rural South Australia, this tale tells of city girl (Paula) married to farm boy (Dan) and the life that she never new existed. You meet them shortly after the wedding, during a period of heavy labour for mixed resource faming, seeding season! See how Paula goes through the highs and lows of life in the country and isolation bring. She learns the benefits and down sides of the small community lifestyle and you can learn with her while she finds out about how farmers are so at the hands of the weather. Learn about the controversies of the past that may change the future, and not for the best, for Paula and Dan. Smile at the thoughts of the issues of over-involved parents and in-laws that we all know so well.

    I don’t want to reveal great details but I can say this was a great read for me, a city girl who would prefer to be a country girl. It swept me away from the daily grind to the house in the country, the animals, the food, the fences and gates. Some I found predictable, which made me smile and laugh to myself as it brought memories of my own past to mind. You go girl! An easy read and a great story!

  16. A Chance of Stormy Weather is a novel that I whipped through in under a day. To me, this always signals a sensational novel. Tricia Stringer’s latest novel definitely comes highly commended by this reader.

    What I found enlightening about A Chance of Stormy Weather was the acknowledgements page. Here I learnt that Tricia Stringer, an author I have admired since my introduction to her writing in 2013, originally self published this book in 2004. Furthermore, another interesting fact about this novel was that it worked to provide an essential guide of sorts, offering city come country women some valuable words of advice on their new way of life. I found this absolutely fascinating, what a great idea to support newly ordained farmer’s wives!

    Onto the story, in a nutshell, A Chance of Stormy Weather does initially appear as a predictable city girl becomes country girl rural romance story. However, I urge any reader that opens this book to look deeper into the story at hand. Tricia Stringer vividly brings to life the story of Paula, a young city and career based woman, who has just come out of a bad relationship. She attends a wedding and falls head over heels in love with country boy Dan. The romance is frenetically paced, with the end result being a quick walk up the aisle for Paula and Dan. Paula soon packs up her apartment in the city, quits her job and wholeheartedly immerses herself in her new life based at Dan’s farm. It isn’t long before the harshness of farm life leads Paula to learn a few tough life lessons hard and fast. These include numerous cringeworthy mouse plague scenes, kitchen disasters through the demands of farm based cooking, the long working hours, distance to basic amenities and sheer isolation of these districts. Added to the story is an intriguing secret that Dan withholds from Paula, until near the close of the novel. This part of the narrative kept the pages turning for me, along with Paula’s emotional transformation into a true blue farmer’s wife. Populating the pages of A Chance of Stormy Weather are some cracking secondary characters. These include; staunch Aunt Rowena, villain Katherine, kindly Jane, welcoming Dara and the loveable rogue pet pup Tarzan. Each and every one the characters in the novel, as well as the many locals who offer the new couple a hand or simply gossip about them, are well formed by Stringer. On the whole, as a non rural dweller, I found Stringer’s depiction of life in a rural community in this particular novel, a highly enriching experience.

    Established readers to Stringer’s work, such as myself, will be sure to lap up another addictive rural fiction read from this engaging storyteller. For new readers, A Chance of Stormy Weather is the perfect novel to lose yourself in for a weekend. I’m pretty sure if you are not a fan of rural romance prior to reading A Chance of stormy Weather, this one will convince you to try more of this genre, as well as Stringer’s impressive backlist.

  17. I really enjoyed this book. It was quick and easy to read in a weekend – a great holiday read or for me just a great way to relax.

    A subject matter that most of us at some time or another have considered. A plot line that was convincing and addictive ensures we keep reading. Communication like in so many other romance novels is the main cause of conflict and i just wanted to scream at them a few times… TALK TO EACH OTHER lol.

    Overall, I found the characters likeable and relatable & would happily recommend this book.

  18. I have always wondered what happened after the cameras stop rolling on those Farmer Wants a Wife reality TV shows. And this delightful read could well be just that.

    I really loved the country setting of Tricia Stringer’s A Chance of Stormy Weather, and getting to know the quirky and colourful characters on the farms and in town. Having moved to a small town myself, I could recognise some qualities (both good and bad!) of my own local village in this book.

    The ingenuity, resourcefulness and preplanning required in such an isolated location is so far removed from modern suburban convenience, and really served to underline how fortunate we are. And the way in which life on the land is so completely dictated by forces beyond control such as wind and rain is often forgotten in the concrete jungle.

    I liked Paula as a character although there were times, particularly later on in the book, that I got quite frustrated with her lack of communication and tendency to jump to conclusions. However, her situation was quite extreme and so she was probably in a bit of ‘culture shock’ so to speak. And no doubt she was putting plenty of pressure on herself to ensure a different outcome to her previous relationship.

    Overall a lovely easy read which I very much enjoyed. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review A Chance of Stormy Weather.

  19. I loved this book following the story of a city girl who married a farmer after a not very long relationship, following her trials of trying to fit in out in the sticks with a husband who is never home and a vengeful ex. Living in a rundown house it wasn’t sugarcoated and made out to be a glamour love story it was about real life, I will read it again

  20. I really enjoyed this book and read it in two days.
    Paula’s struggles trying to settle into country life, in a home that was run down and mouse infested, as a newly wed made me feel sorry for her, though her lack of communication was one of obvious triggers to her troubles. Though I did enjoy Paula’s transformation and admired her perserverence throughout the book.
    A lovely book to read which is now being ejoyed by my neighbour!

    Reply

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