Book Club: Driftwood

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Author: Mandy Magro
ISBN: 9781743564639
RRP: $29.99

Driftwood is the latest release by Australian author Mandy Magro, it is her fourth novel and the second I have read. Magro is an author passionate about the Australian bush and that shows through her writing, she was born and bred in Far North Queensland where Driftwood is set.

This story is heart-warming as well as heartbreaking and just a little big intriguing. I was hooked from the very beginning and couldn’t wait to see how it all turned out. I think I’m going to find it a little difficult to write a spoilerless review but I am certainly going to try.

There were a few main plotlines running through Driftwood and two timelines. It took a little while for me to get my head around the fact that we were jumping from the 1860s to 2012 in almost alternating chapters and seemingly unrelated characters. It wasn’t long before I worked out how the characters related which made the time jumps a little easier to handle, and I just wanted to keep going so I could see it all come together.Another of the major plotlines was quite predictable and I saw it coming very early on so there was a part of me that just wanted the reveal to come quicker. I put it together so early that I felt it shouldn’t have taken so long for the reveal.

My biggest issue with the story concerns that plotline in that there was such a big lead up to the reveal and then there was nothing following it. We didn’t learn anything about how it was resolved, how it was dealt with or what fallout there may have been. It was almost as if we were left at a cliffhanger moment and then jumped six months into the future for all loose ends to be tied up. I think there would have been a lot of conflict resolution and personal discovery moments in those missing six months that left me a little disappointed for having missed out on. I think the story would have been stronger had we journeyed through those six months with the characters.


Taylor Whitworth is our present-day heroine, she has just had a major blowup with her parents and taken off to find the life she feels she was destined for. Her mother and stepfather want her to follow in his footsteps and go to uni to gain qualifications and build a career. Taylor wants nothing of the sort, she feels destined for a life on the land – following in the footsteps of the biological father she will never meet. With no real destination in mind Taylor sets off, believing that she’ll know where she’s looking for when she finds it. Late one night on a deserted highway she runs out of fuel and has to hike into the nearest town, until a farmer happens by and drives her into nearby Driftwood where she quickly feels at home and decides to stay.

The wayward farmer is Jay Donnellson, a born and bred cowboy who has had a rough couple of years and is feeling the strain. He is a gorgeous guy, inside and out, though he has built quite the protective wall around his heart. He is struggling to hold onto the farm that’s been in the family for generations, is worried about his grieving mother as they both mourn the loss of his father and he is still recovering from a broken relationship. Jay has a heart of gold and just wants a break, which he may just have found in the appearance of Taylor – if he ever lets down his shields.

Taylor is offered work in the local pub and then also on the Donnellson farm when mustering starts. She just happened into the town that was destined to be her new home, everything seemed to be coming together except the sadness of never getting to know her biological father.

Driftwood is a beautiful tale of small town Australia where everyone knows everyone else, and it doesn’t take long to find out about people when you’re new to town, and the sense of community is palpable. Often you read of the small towns where you may be welcomed but you can’t truly belong until you are generations down the track but Driftwood doesn’t seem to be like this. They are quite happy to embrace you right from the beginning which was lovely to read of.

The story of the past is one of enduring love, of hard work and toiling for your dreams to ensure the legacy you leave your descendants is strong. The love of William and Anne is tangible and beautiful. There is something glorious in a love that is completely unconditional and encompassing. The love where you live and breathe for someone, are willing to die or kill for someone and a love that really does last a lifetime because that isn’t something that happens very often anymore. Much of William and Anne’s legacy is the love of a lifetime.

Driftwood is quite short at only 256 pages but it packs a lot of punch. A story of following your dreams, no matter how unlikely they may seem, and working hard to fulfill them. A story of love and loss, heartbreak and rebirth. A story with a guest appearance by a very down-to-earth and loveable Adam Brand. An appearance that shows him to be a regular, community minded country boy still working on the land. This is a story that I really enjoyed but I did find fell a little short for me because there was a lot of information that was skipped over that I think would have added a lot of depth to the story.

19 thoughts on “Book Club: Driftwood

  1. Driftwood was a fun, twisting romantic tale with an interesting NQ backdrop. I particularly enjoyed the modern and historic stories slowly unravelling leading to the inevitable-a good read!

  2. I enjoyed this wonderfully heartwarming book from beginning to end. I absolutely loved how the writer gave us an insight into the deep history of the Driftwood township and of the Donnellson farm, by doing alternative chapters from the 1800’s and then to today.
    So the story is about farmers and the trials and tribulations that they go through by making their living from the land.
    William Donnellson is seen as the bad boy cowboy in the late 1800’s, but he has been framed by a local police officer for killing a family, the Ballingers, which the police officer actually did do himself.
    Williams lady love owns the local pub and the police officer rules the town with an iron fist, which he thinks entitles him to have whoever he pleases, including Anne (williams lady love).
    William is left living a life of stealing from the rich (who have stolen from the poor) and giving back to the poor, but also on the run from the law.
    William finally gets a big heist from a ruthless rich man and the rich man gets what is given to him by his carriage driver, in the way of a bullet because he was going to shoot his own wife.
    William gives everyone a cut of the heist, including the farmers that it was stolen from. He then wants to go into town and get Anne so they can go up north and start their own cattle farm, where they can start a new life together.
    In the meantime the disgusting police officer has raped Anne and left her bruised and beaten. When William finds this out, he goes looking for the police officer to give him what for.
    A scuffle breaks out and William accidentally kills him, but not before Anne has managed to get the jewels that were stolen from the killed Ballinger family as proof that it was the police officer that killed them.
    William and Anne manage to escape to the far north of Queensland and make a wonderful life together where they get married and have children and grand children. Anne buries the jewels from the Ballinger family.
    They live long lives and stay happy and in love to the end.
    Back in the present day Taylor (an unhappy city chic), is told that her father died when she was a baby, and is living with her mother and her mean step-father. She always says that when she is old enough she will leave and find a farm where she can be a jillaroo, as this is what her heart desires.
    Taylor finally leaves and heads far north in Queensland, looking for work as a jillaroo. All she has is her faithful dog Boomerang and her trusty 4wd. Unfortunately she runs out of petrol and is left stranded in the middle of nowhere. Luckily for her Jay Donnellson, who has just come from the police station, for beating up a guy who was beating up a girl, happens to drive past and stops to offer her a lift.
    Jay drops her to the local pub where she finds work and later is asked to work on Jays farm.
    Jay is very attracted to Taylor but he has had his heart broken, he lost his dad, and his mum is drinking heavily, and it looks like he might lose his family farm.
    Taylor breathes fresh air into the farm and helps get Jays mum off the grog, and everything is going fine until a Cyclone (Iva) is forecast to hit Driftwood and is set to be the worst of its kind in history.
    With a few near deaths, and Jay being thrown into a hole from the ferocity of the cyclone, everyone seems to pull through.
    Jay finds the buried jewels, Taylor finds out her father is Tom the head helper on Jays farm, and that her mother had lied to her all these years.
    After everything settles down, Jay and Taylor fall in love and get married and have a baby on the way.
    Taylor forgives her mother, and after searching for any relatives of the Ballinger family jewels and coming up empty, Jay and Taylor donate $50,000 to the local pub and keep their farm from being taken.
    This was a very easy read and I didnt want to put it down, it kept me intrigued to the end.

  3. Thank you for the chance to review “Driftwood”.
    I found it an easy book to get straight into and found the story compelling and intriguing,I loved that the story was based in Queensland and was a typical Aussie story but had its ups and downs .
    Found it hard to put down once started to read it .I would recommend this and have passed it on to my family and friends to enjoy:)

  4. A romantic adventure of an Australian kind. A restless unhappy girl who is poised to study medicine, but wants a different life. One day she packs her bags and her beloved guitar, and accompanied by her dog Floyd takes off for the bush to follow her dream. She yearns to be a jillaroo; work with horses and on the land like her late father.
    The story unfolds as she meets a young farmer who gives her a lift into town. Her future has begun.

    A lovely story. Thank you a Beauty and Lace for your kind opportunity to review this book.
    Can recommend.

  5. I have enjoyed reading “Driftwood”. Although having a busy time of late we have had some lovely storm days where its been just perfect to sit down with this book and get lost in the story.
    I found the main character of Taylor to be very likeable.
    I enjoyed the jumps between the two different time frames although at the start i was a little confused as how this was all going to work in and the two time frames would meet.
    I found this to be an easy book to read.
    If you are taking a flight and want an easy book to read, one that doesnt require that you need total concentration to be able to follow the storyline then this is the book for you.

  6. Thank you got allowing me to read and review this book. I found myself absolutely immersed in it. It’s both historic and modern, which I found a bit confusing, in how it changed often from the 1800s to the 1900s and then modern time. But the relationships in the book are interesting. And each character has their own story to tell. Lots of love, sensuality, death, friendship, hope, and dreams. Definitely worth reading once you get over the time warp. A fantastic Australian novel and Mandy Margo, although I had never heard of her prior to this book, is clearly an amazing author.

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to read such an awe inspiring book such as Driftwood. I loved how it incorporated both past and modern eras to make compelling reading. Each and every character had a story to tell about their lives and how if effected them. I loved the romance and unrelenting love between William and Anne, a love that profoundly touched me and I’m sure all the other readers. It was a story of love and loss, something all of us has experienced some time in our lives. Mandy Magro is an author who really know how to bring her characters to life and I can’t wait to read her next novel.

  8. Thank you for the chance to review “Driftwood”.
    I found it an easy book to get straight into and found the story intriguing,I loved that the story was based in Queenslandnear where I reside and was a typical Aussie story but had its ups and downs . I loved the fact Taylor got to meet here Dad even though I guessed before it was revealed that Tom was her Dad it was great they came together, iteresting how the past touched the present and all was well in the end..
    I would recommend this and have passed it on to my family and friends to enjoy.

    Thank you agian Michelle

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