BOOK CLUB: House for All Seasons

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by Jenn J McLeod

RRP $24.99

Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their home town, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay for a season at The Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.

But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.

House for all Seasons

Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love; Poppy, a tough, ambitious journo still craving her father’s approval; Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures Caitlin, a doctor frustrated by her controlling.

At The Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.

43 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: House for All Seasons

  1. Sara, Amber, Poppy and Caitlin, estranged childhood friends have been bequeathed a house in their home town. Gypsy, their benefactor, however has set conditions on this bequest. Before deciding what to do with the property they must each spend a season in the house.
    None of them are keen to return to the town they left twenty years ago and which evokes some shameful memories. But they also hold fond memories of Gypsy and Dandelion House. The house provided an oasis and an escape from their various dysfunctional families and Gypsy injected some warmth, freedom and magic into their troubled lives.
    In returning to Calingarry Crossing and Dandelion House each of the four women confront their pasts and gain the insight into their lives that allows them to move forward to a more promising and rewarding future. In each of their journeys the women meet people who assist or guide their growth.
    And then there is Cailtin’s discovery of a long kept secret that forever changes their lives and solidifies the changes already wrought by the individual stays in Dandelion House.
    What kept me intrigued long after finishing the book was Gypsy’s role. How much was she controlling events from beyond the grave? So much planning went into the women’s stays. The letters for each of the women, the name plates on the bedroom doors and the unique decors of the bedrooms that relate to each of the character’s specific issues. Did she organise for Elliot to be there during Sara’s stay and Eli for Poppy’s? Or for there to be no-one there for Amber – just a note to feed the animals so that she needs to enlist Christopher’s help? Did she somehow ensure that Caitlin would find her father’s notebook? And what about the mysterious firm administering the bequest?
    Madgick and Associates – Trust Managers
    In Madgick we trust
    Is the name telling us something?
    Gypsy is certainly a fascinating character who I would have liked to get to know better.
    The writing could have been tighter and I found over use of colloquialisms annoying. It’s fine in dialogue as it helps to establish character but in the body of the text I found it really irritating. Many of the minor characters don’t seem very real or believable – too one dimensional or stereotypical. Cheryl was the most interesting and well drawn of the minor characters.
    I found the book was a little unbalanced. Sara’s section was too long and drawn out. Caitin’s, on the other hand, was too short and she is the major character I got to know the least well. Some of scenes with Cailtin and Alex I also found the most unconvincing and contrived. Amber and Poppy’s sections worked best for me. The ending, although satisfying, seemed a little bit forced and rushed.
    Overall House for All Seasons was an interesting and involving book. It was certainly one that I wanted to keep reading as I cared for what happened to all of the four of the major characters. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable light read.

  2. What a breath of fresh air this book was! 4 friends are left a letter of instruction by Gypsy (their deceased friends mother) to each spend 3 months (a season) each in Dandelion House in Calingarry Crossing. All 4 women go back to their home town each facing past uncertainties and what continues to haunt them all these years later. Did their friend commit suicide or was it just an accident. Each woman contemplates their roles in relation to their pasts which they now must face head on. Will they come together at the end of the 12 months as Gypsy requested in her instructions when she bequeathed the house to them? So many issues arise for each woman in their present day lives and it is only by going back in time they can examine their lives for what they really are now. Each finds herself questioning whether its their present life they really want or can be fixed by going back to Daffodil House and seek out the life they truly want for themselves. The secret that is revealed could shatter their worlds and split them up forever or is it something that reunites them bringing the realisation to the foreground the Gypsy hinted at in the letter each woman recieved during their stays.
    A book I’d definately recommend – it’s a ligt read that keeps you guessing and suprises you at the end.

  3. I thought that this book was ok, but in parts, it tended to drag on.
    I liked the four female characters, and the stories they each had to tell.
    I enjoyed the setting of the story, but found it a bit difficult to say the storyline was believable.
    Sara and Amber were my two favorite characters; I really enjoyed their parts in the book.
    But overall, I wasn’t thrilled with this story. It was pleasant enough, but to say that I’d recommend it would be a stretch.
    The ending seemed forced and rushed along, it would’ve been nicer to have a bit more insight at the end.

  4. The book tells the story of 4 women, who came from the same town and went to the same school together. An incident happened on muck up day, which torn all of them apart. They went on their own ways until the death of someone closed to them caused their lives to intersect with each other. Each of them had their own secrets and fear that they needed to resolve.

    The author is really good in introducing the characters, revealing just enough to make you wonder and keep you going page by page. I felt connected to all four characters. I sympathized with Sara whose both personal and work life were crumbling down, thanks to breast cancer. I could relate to Poppy but at the same time, expected her to have got over her needs to please her father. Amber was the opposite of Poppy, she was her father’s golden girl. Caitlin was in some ways, similar to Poppy, always wanted to please her family.

    I think the book would be better off if it was split into 4 mini novels for each season as by the end of the book – winter – it felt a bit rushed. I’m looking at the copy of the book on my desk with the beginning of the season marked, it’s obvious that pages were getting shorter and shorter; Sara’s story is about double of the pages covering Caitlin.

    I like how the book ends despite it being very brief to my liking. The story got more complicated as I read towards the end. There were so many questions and a few were left unanswered. What happened to Sara afterwards besides the stated obvious? Was Poppy dreaming about both men or were they real? What did Amber do when she found out the truth? I can’t think of anything about Caitlin since her story was very short.

    My favourite character would be Amber. She had a very complicated personality due to her circumstances and I find her to be the most interesting compared to the rest.

    Overall I really enjoy reading this book. This is one of my favourite so far for this year. People who have moved from places to places will enjoy this book as the highlight of the book is about reconnecting to your roots.

  5. I first have to start this review by admiring the cover of the book which left me with a calming effect before reading.

    This book revolves around friendship in a country home town with a tragic end to school muck up day. The book also brings people together. From the first chapter I was learning about the 4 main friends Sara, Poppy, Amber & Caitlin and other characters. I fell in love with Willow who is different from the other girls in that she is disabled and her beautiful kind-hearted mother named Gypsy. It wasn’t hard to shed a tear for Willow. Four friends who would not keep in touch due to their lives going in different directions and each carried the same secret that they could never discuss with anyone else.

    Twenty years later the friends are brought together again due to the death of Willow’s mother. The four friends are bequeathed Gypsy’s home which they all find unusual. They learn that they must all stay at the house called The Dandelion House but during different seasons for each character.

    Each season sees the story of the four girls and how their lives were when younger and what they were doing as they got older. Amongst the 4 friends there is sadness so tissues need to be on hand. There were moments that I would be in tears especially reading about Sara and Poppy. A box of tissues are definitely needed when reading a letter written to one’s parents by a soldier.

    I felt a strong connection to Sara and just as I was getting into her relationship we are then taken to the next visitor to The Dandelion House. Further on with the pages I then began to like Ambers character.

    I found this book to be a beautiful, brilliant read about friendship. I was addicted to reading from the first page and could not put it down. I was intrigued to know more. With a lot of the characters I was so deeply moved by their own lives that I just wished I could give them hugs. All of the characters became so real to me and I could also visualise The Dandelion House and surroundings.

    I personally loved the ending as they will forever hold their friendship forever.

    I will also look forward to reading more novels from Jenn J McLeod because she captured my attention with her writing.

  6. I enjoyed this book but like others it did drag on at times. The relationship that Sara had in her chapter I felt was a bit boring and dragged on too much. Make up your mind Sara!

    I liked how each of the characters had their own chapter and you could become more involved in their own individual qualities.

    The character of Gypsy was an interesting one. It made me think of questions why and how (in regards to the letters, bedrooms, house etc). I wanted to learn more about her character.

    Then there was Willow. Similar to he who shouldn’t be named in Harry Potter haha. It felt like this character was skirted around quite a bit. I would have preferred if they had tackled this character head-on in Sara’s chapter.

    Overall a good read.

  7. i aboslutley loved this book, I read in over two days as I just coudnt put it down. I loved each character of the four girls especially Sara and Amber, and how totally different there lives where to each other. I wish the author Jenn McLeod had dediacted a chapter from Gypsy’s point of view at either the beginning or the end of the book as I think Gypsie could have had a lot to offer. There was a quite a few unaswered questions that I found, such as why did gypsie keep the banner, why use Madgick and associates, and what gypsie thought happened to her daughter.
    I wonder what all girls lives would have been like 10 years after the reunion and if they drifted apart again, or remain close. What happens with amber – does she find friendship with her daugher, does she work thinks out with here husband Phil?’
    As stated earlier, i really thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and want to read more from Jenn MeLeod.

  8. Jenn J McLeod’s debut novel, House for all Seasons, is a rich tapestry of small town life. It interweaves the lives of Sara, Poppy, Amber and Caitlin as they deal with painful memories and confronting secrets.

    The themes are wide-ranging, moving from the issues of illness and disability, to teenager pregnancy, domestic violence, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress disorder. That may sound like a truckload to pack into one book, but Ms McLeod doesn’t dwell on the issues or preach. Rather she allows the characters to tell their stories and then leaves the reader to make their own judgments. It makes for an emotional but powerful story.

    The cast of supporting characters in House for all Seasons is large and yet they are all vividly drawn. I was reminded of Monica McInerney’s beautifully crafted stories. The benign spirit of Gypsy adds a mystical layer, the animals add extra depth.

    The setting of Calingarry Crossing will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever lived in a small community and I loved the mud-map on the opening pages so I could instantly see where the characters were at any time. There are minute details scattered throughout that flesh out the town and its people.

    It’s a story that deserves to be savoured and will linger long after you finish reading. I look forward to many more stories from this talented new author.

  9. I found A House for all Seasons to be a jolly good read. The plot is interesting – four childhood friends are left a house in the country town they grew up in. Each woman must spend a season at this house, which means going back to their childhood town and facing the past.

    Each character is unique and it was thoroughly enjoyable to explore their younger and current selves. I liked how each character was assigned their own chapter and really brought to life by the author. All the women are on a journey of self discovery and have to contend with the discovery of a long kept secret.

    I found the book easy to read and really entertaining. There are many layers to this novel which keep you hooked until the end.

  10. I found the book enjoyable although at times just a little bit slow..
    In saying that I would recommend it though.
    Being set in Australia just made it for me… I could relate even more cause it sort of hits home with the problems that arise as they are problems that do happen to alot of families.
    The characters were all very different and that seemed to make it a rather interesting read.
    The author did a great job in explaining what was happening…although I did feel that some questions were left unanswered.
    I am hoping that there with be a sequel….so, I’m looking forward to more books from her in the future..

  11. Jenn J McLeod’s debut novel, House for all Seasons, is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Light hearted, yet thought provoking. The author does an excellent job of bringing all her characters together, highlighting the differences not only between the women, but the differences in themselves, from their younger selves to today. Her supporting characters add real flavour to the country feel, complementing her descriptions of country life in Australia, so much so I could envision readers packing up their city lives and heading for the country permanently. If you have ever felt that there are things in your life that have gone unsaid or you would like to turn back the clock then this is the book for you. Enjoy!

  12. I love it when an Australian author, especially one with their first novel, writes something I’m happy to recommend. This is the case in “House for all Seasons” by Jenn J McLeod. Even the cover is appealing.
    I enjoy well written literature that revolves around relationships. I have to admit to needing to re read the first section to make sure I knew who each person was – not sure whether it was a case of “information overload” which was actually necessary or whether I wasn’t concentrating enough. Once I got the four main characters sorted in my own mind I became engrosed with each one of them.
    The four girls, once the best of friends from a small country town, haven’t seen each other or had contact for twenty years. Then they’re thrown together through a bequest of Dandelion House, a century old house where each is to spend a season to fulfil the wishes of Gypsy, their benefactor. Gypsy is also the mother of Willow, whose untimely death on the school muck up day sends the other girls away from the town and from each other.

    Sara takes the first season. Sara is a really lovely young woman who is overcome and weighed down with grief having nursed both her mother and father in difficult health situations. She needs to come to terms with her own breast cancer treatment which resulted in the removal of one breast.
    Sara knows that by returning to Calingarry Crossing she will have to face Will, someone she has probably always loved, who hasn’t loved her in return.

    Poppy wins a Walkley Awar for a story in war torn Afghanistan but her father doesn’t come to the awards ceremony. Poppy has a love/hate relationship with her father and at first has no idea of how her father’s time in Vietnam has affected him.
    Poppy eventually comes to the realisation that she needs to be true to herself and make her writing reflect her values which she hasn’t always done.

    Amber has been manipulated all her life. She finally realises that she needs to work out who she really is. She has had a fractured relationship with her alcoholic mother. The mending of that relationship is beautifully handled. Amber grows so much and from spoilt little rich girl she emerges as a caring, thoughtful, lovely young woman.

    Caitlin is delightful but she has always “met everyone’s expectations” even to becoming a doctor so that she could carry on her father’s work. Cait is left in a quandry after being handed a box left by her father with the word “Destroy” across the lid. Caitlin’s father, as the town doctor, has held secrets which horrify Caitlin.

    I found the characters believable but the situations and causes of those situations not always believable. However this didn’t spoil the reading for me.

    The way the girls find themselves and each other and grow and develop was really well done. I was impressed with the way the ending was handled, with the girls discovering themselves and becoming so much more than friends. All in all an excellent read.

    I am very appreciative to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this book. It is so good to have a debut novel by an Australian author with such promise.

  13. I love what I call school reunion stories: the character returns to their childhood, riddled with childish fears but also with a more mature outlook to conquer them. These books rely heavily on characterisation, again something I love. So ‘House For All Season’ had all the right ingredients for me. Alas, it failed to deliver.

    Four friends are bequeathed a house they all had some connection to. They have to spend a season each in the house before they can inherit. The house is in their childhood town, a place none have visited for 20 years or so, each leaving in distressing circumstances.

    I wanted to like this book but it was just too hard. Not the read: the words were fine, if plodding. The dialogue, particularly for the male characters, was grating. I had no idea why these four women were friends – nothing really bound them. And nothing much bound the four separate storylines. The muck-up day was tragic but nothing that should have caused any guilt. Gypsy’s house could have been a focus but descriptions were too little and mysteries too few to make it a breathing entity.

    Sara’s story, the first, was too long and tedious with Will’s awful dialogue. She was the most sympathetic character. Poppy, supposedly a journalist, was simply unbelievable. The inaccuracies were gob-smacking. Amber’s story I found the best, if I discounted how a super bitch could turn into a charity queen overnight. Caitlin’s story was barely there. The twist at the end was interesting and plausible.

    The cover riddled with beauty and a hint of mystery. A gorgeous skin to a flawed apple underneath. Thank you, Beauty and Lace, for the read. Unfortunately, ‘House For All Seasons’ isn’t a book I can recommend.

  14. A debut novel by an Australian author, House for all seasons i found to be a thoroughly enjoyable book.
    Four estranged friends are bequeathed a house with the condition that they must each return to their home town and each stay for a season.
    For the four women Sara, Poppy, Amber and Caitlin Friendships are revisited, old memories are stirred up and a long hidden secret is discovered which shocks them all.
    I found it to be an easy to read book with interesting characters and an interesting storyline.
    All in all i highly recommend House For all Seasons and can’t wait to read more of Jenn J McLeods work.

  15. House For All Season tells the story of four estranged school friends summoned to return to the country town of their youth. Each must spend a season in the crumbling Dandelion House and there Sara, Poppy, Amber and Caitlin uncover the real story of the tragedy which haunts all their lives and the ways in which they are foever linked.
    This novel is a mixed book of warmth, humour, sadness, friendship,love and how going home can sometimes be the thing that you need.
    Cancer survivor Sara is the first character whose story we follow as she finds herself facing her first love/crush and all her battles with love and self finding.
    Poppy is a journalist and still looking for love from her father, finds herself the second to stay in the house. She finds out more about herself and her father and why their relationship is the way it is.
    Amber is next and she left the town with her dad many years ago. Her husband thinks her mother is dead as that was what Amber and her dad had told people. Only Amber’s mother isn’t dead and her life has been turned around. Amber finds a new found bond with her mother and finds out a lot of untruths along the way.
    Caitlin is last to stay in the house and being the only one who never stayed there as a child can not work out why she is asked to stay.
    Caitlins father was the local doctor and Caitlin is given a box of documents belonging to her father. In them she discovers many secrets that bond the girls even more.
    The real story is all about Willow and how she and her mum Gypsy had an impact on the girls lives when they were young.
    I loved this story and wished each girls story was itself a novel with the side of Willow being the last. To say it captivated me is an understatement. I couldn’t put the book down and was lost when it was finished. Being myself a country girl that left for the city and having never really been back I could understand the trepidation each girl felt upon returning home.
    The story just flowed along and was at times almost like listening to a friend tell you their story. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an enjoyable read.

    Thank you for letting me read this book.

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s kept me interested and intrigued all the way through it.
    I did find the constant hinting at the girls’ trouble pasts and secrets but then taking almost forever to get to find out what they were a little frustrating, but I loved how each character was developed and we were made to hear their tale and feel something for them.
    It was wonderful how they were bought together after so many years and what and who brought them together again.

    Although I did have a few little gripes with this book, I would definitely recommend it and I will most certainly read it again!

    Thank you for the chance to read this book!

  17. It took me longer than usual to read this book, as I found that the storyline dragged on a bit. But endure I did and I am so glad that I perservered, as it got better and better.

    Loved the fact that there was a “sub-story” behind each character and their pasts, but again, took too long to get “there”!

    Glad I finished it, as the ending was beautiful.

    Would definitely be passing this book on to friends to read and look forward to reading more books by this author.

    Thanks again B&L, for the opportunity to read and review this Australian author’s debut novel.

  18. The blurb on the cover of Jenn McLeod’s HOUSE FOR ALL SEASONS really makes the novel sound so appealing: on the front we are told “Four women. Four lives unravelled. The truth will bind them forever”. Along with a snippet of information about each of the women on the back cover, indicating that all are dysfunctional in some way, we are also told “Small towns can keep big secrets”. I was intrigued and keen to read more.

    Unfortunately, the novel didn’t live up to my expectations. It was almost as though it was written to a formula: isolated house, dysfunctional woman alone, strange “helper” arriving, a hint of a really bad mysterious happening in the past to a vulnerable child. It was a pleasant but rather light read with very superficial and somewhat cliched character development. The repetition of “helpers” turning up was too contrived. I thought we were going to be more involved with the strange woman from the “Madgick & Associates” Trust Managers. With such a portentious name, I assumed there would be some strong input from them in terms of engineering experiences for the women. If so, this was not made clear.

    One thing I did like about the characters was that they were shown to be trying to reach independence from others. This would be good role modelling for young female readers.

    All in all, I certainly did not dislike the novel. It was a light, pleasant, easy to read story which certainly would not be out of place in the senior fiction section of a school library or the “light reading” section of a public library.

  19. I really enjoyed reading this book: A new take on the whole now and then situation, what was and what could have been… I loved it.

    The writing style was interesting and although it may not appeal to some people I really enjoyed it, the story just sucked me in and it kept me turning the pages wanting more.

    I would rate this book 5 out of 5.

  20. I would firstly like to thank Beauty & Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review ‘House for all Seasons’.

    This novel is about four women who were school friends and all had left their home town of Calingarry Crossing 20 years ago after finishing school and had not seen each other since. It was only as a result of being bequeathed what they all called “Dandelion House” by Gypsy that they were re-united.

    The condition of the bequest was that each of the women had to stay for a season at “Dandelion House” and this was something that none of them wanted to do, as they did not wish to return to their home town, as there were far too many memories there of the past. Memories that each of them preferred to forget, especially the tragic end to their school muck up day.

    I liked the way the author Jenn J McLeod devoted a section to each of the women during their season at the house – telling their connection to the house and what their lives had been like over the past 20 years and their experiences in returning to their home town.

    Prior to their stay at the house each of the women were determined to sell “Dandelion House” and share the money made from such sale. After each of them had stayed a season, confronted their pasts and discovered the secret that tied each of them to each other changing their lives forever, they were not so certain and the novel finished by them all agreeing to meet again in a few months time to make a decision. That decision however was very unlikely to be selling the house.

    I liked all the characters in the novel and living in a country town I can understand their reluctance to return to relive the memories of the past and face the locals.

    The fact that this novel was written by an Australian author and set in an Australian town made it more interesting for me. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to others.

  21. What an interesting and well written book!
    I truly enjoyed and I found hard to put it down.
    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace as well as to publishers Simon & Schurster.
    The author Jenn J McLeod clearly defined each character. The four women had a past of sadness and frustations. Their lives were strangely linked to that house and the two characters that played such crucial role in their teenager years Gypsy( an eccentric and warm loving woman) and her daughter, the fragile and sweet Willow.
    I am planning to read more books from this author.

    1. This book portrays the life of four young women. All of them had issues to face and solve. The Dandelion House played a crucial role in thir lives as teenagers.
      The book captivated my interest and attention, the way each character is described.
      I wanted to know a bit more about Gypsie, probably the author could have given more insight on her.
      However, I truly enjoyed reading this novel.

  22. I agree with the other posts which have adequately described the positive features of this noveI. Personally,I enjoyed reading Sarahs story and would have liked a whole novel dedicated to her character, so I was slightly annoyed when Poppy entered the picture. Overall an interesting and thought provoking read with a believable story and well defined characters.

  23. Firstly, thank you Beauty and Lace and the publishers, Simon & Schuster Australia, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!
    Four childhood friends return separately to their hometown in the country and are forced to face their past and consequently, their “demons”. Each woman’s story is told in a separate chapter with only some parts of the mystery unravelled at the end.
    I enjoyed reading Sara’s chapter the most and started to really “feel” her character. The same can not be said for Caitlin as I didn’t get to know her well enough. I actually found Poppy’s character annoying and quite confusing as I’m not sure how the mystery of her “seeing her father” ties in with the rest of the story. Amber’s chapter was also quite annoying. I tried to understand how she grew from a bratty child into a responsible young woman but that just seemed too miraculous to happen overnight.
    I would have loved to have met Gypsy and Willow but there wasn’t much substance to any of the other minor characters except for Cheryl.
    However, I did enjoy the setting and felt an attachment to Callingary Crossing and the Dandelion House and I did want to continue reading to discover how each of the friends were connected. It is evident from Jenn J McLeod’s writing that she is fond of country life and I quite liked that.
    This is a book for light reading and it was okay, but unfortunately, not one of my favourites.

  24. House for all Seasons was an interesting and enjoyable read.
    The book follows the lives of four childhood friends whom after a tragic event leave Callingarry Crossing and take very different directions in their lives.
    After being bequeathed a house they are bought together again after twenty years, against; their wishes. The house owned by Gypsy and her daughter, Willow who once played significant roles in all their lives.
    I thought the notion each character must return and spend one season each in the house was a lovely and clever way for them to reconnect again with their past and the parts of themselves they had long ago shut down.
    Each character was featured separately. This gave me insight into their fears and the complexity of their lives. They had each suffered alot of pain, loss, confusion and heartbreak which had shaped
    the direction in their lives.
    I enjoyed how the experiences each character had whilst staying at the house gave them the courage to start facing and accepting the truth within themselves.
    I agree with other readers that Sara’s character was written in great detail whilst Caitlin was very little and you didn’t get to really know her.
    I didn’t expect the ending at all. It was a lovely twist and I thought their decision for the house was a wonderful way to honour Gypsy and their histories.
    It was great to see the characters grow and finally find the peace and happiness they deserved.

  25. I loved Jenn J McLeods’s debut book, “House for all Seasons”. To me it had a supernatural or magical, aspect. I felt that thepeople they met at Dandilion House knew more about them than they could have normally been expected to. The pairings were Sara and Will, the fanasy love of her teenage years, Poppy and Eli, who was a close friend of her estranged father, Amber and her estranged mother and Cait and Alex, both medicos.
    It seemed as if Gypsy was still present orchastrating things from beyond the grave. Willow was a shaddowly character, who was never fully explained.
    I loved the colloquisms, found parts very funny, other parts mysterious.
    I did not find the end belivable. It was too contrived and rushed.
    Jenn could easi;y make this the first of a trilogy. I would certainly look for more of her work

  26. I loved ths book and have already passed it on to a friend to read. I enjoy reading these kinds of stories. A group of freinds brought back together again after having gone their separate ways.To meet and understand each character separately and learn about what had shaped their lives. I loved Sarah’s story and like the other readers, felt it was because the writer spent more time on her. Overall a fantastic and enjoyable read. Congratulations Jenn J McLeod on a wonderful debut novel! Thank you Beauty and Lace for allowing me to read and review this onderful book.

  27. Firstly, I’d just like to say, the blurb of this novel doesn’t do the interior justice. It makes the characters seem simplistic, and the plot juvenile by mentioning the term ‘muck up day’, sadly I don’t think this will bring the book the right audience for such a well written storyline; the blurb certainly didn’t get me excited to read the book.

    However, once I had started to read A House For All Seasons, I was hooked. I didn’t put it down all day and finished it soon after. It was easy to read and remained intriguing all the way through.

    I felt myself relate to each of the characters in a small way and I’m not sure if I read the book at a peak of my own emotional time but I cried & laughed to my hearts content with this book, firstly with Sara’s hardships and then with Poppy’s haunting loss experience.

    After the first two seasons and characters had their share though, the book seemed to rush through the other two women. Amber’s chapter felt like it just stopped suddenly, and Caitlin’s chapter was seemed like it had a lot less to do with her rather than simply her role of bringing together the other women.

    I loved the caretakers and characters chosen with each season, and I felt like Gypsy was such a unique character who really planned out to the T, everything to do with the Dandelion House.

    Overall, well done to Jenn J McLeod for writing such a wonderful story and despite little things here and there I could pick on, overall I did enjoy reading the novel & I believe others could enjoy it just as I have too.

  28. First of all, thank you Beauty & Lace and Jenn J McLeod for allowing me the opportunity to read & review this amazing story. The cover photograph is beautiful & perfect for this new season & I love the raised title font on the cover which I found my fingers going over & over as I read…

    This book was a nice length, not too short or too long and the font was a good size & a easy to read style. I found it easy to get started & get lost in the book as I got to know each of the characters quickly. As the book progressed I learned more & more about each of them and intrigued me to continue reading.

    An easy read book that you could take with you anywhere & enjoy. I could relate to the characters in some parts but no so much in others. Although this kept my mind going & I really enjoyed the ending & would love to see more books like this one or even a sequel to this one too, I think would be pretty awesome! 🙂

    Very well written & explained in detail.
    Thanks again I look forward to reading & reviewing more in the future!

  29. Firstly like to thank Beauty & Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review ‘House for all Seasons’.

    I liked the four female characters, and the stories they each had to tell. I could relate to the characters in some parts but no so much in others.

    The author managed to effortlessly introduce the characters, revealing just enough to keep you intrigued and make you keep reading on. I was addicted to reading from the first page, I was intrigued to know more and could not put it down.

    It was an easy to read book and an interesting storyline, and I enjoyed the mix of humour, sadness, friendship, and love.

    The book did drag on in some parts, but overall House for All Seasons was an interesting read, and I really wanted to read on to find out what happened to the four major characters. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable light read.

  30. Not the easiest book to read.

    I found parts a little long winded and others I though abolutely brilliant. At times it seemed like there was more than one person
    writing this book!

    Having said that, I did still enjoy it overall.. and would give it 3/5 if I had to rate it 🙂

    Thanks for the opportunity to review.

  31. I thought the book was just ok. I enjoyed the first character but felt the rest kind of dragged on a bit and I wanted to just get to the point. I could not relate to some of the characters which left me at a loss. I probably would not recommend it to my friends. I was excited to read it from the description but felt it didnt live up to my expectations.
    Thank you for the chance to read it though 🙂

  32. Well ladies, I received the book and had it completed in 4 days – which is a rarity for me. I’m normally one of the last to make comment but was emailing Beauty and Lace to find the link as I thought I’d misplaced it. Thanks Anne for helping me out.
    I really enjoyed the story and all the characters – with their flaws and personal discoveries along the way. Jenn J McLeod had me curious as to how the accident happened and why these friends had separated and not spoken in 20 years. I got carried away with Poppy, Sara, Amber and Caitlin and enjoyed the character differences – it reminded me that sometimes our friends have characteristics that we are lacking and that is what attracts us to them to start with.
    Gypsy is a character I loved. We didn’t meet her but her involvement in the girls lives is evident. She would be one I’d love to know more about. She was such a support to the girls as they were growing up, and in her passing, provided them each an opportunity to make connections with their past – loves, losses, missed opportunities and also to understand where their futures are heading. She gave love and support without expectations.She sounds like a lady I would like to have around.
    I always enjoy a story set in and around Australia and this one didn’t let me down. It allows us to laugh at ourselves and our Aussie-ness.
    I have already passed it onto friends – loved it Jenn. Will look forward to your next book. Congrats on the debut!

  33. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although as previous reviews have pointed out, it did get a little slow in parts.

    It was a lovely story and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something light.

    Gypsy just seemed to be the glue that held the whole thing together, yet she really wasn’t in the book. The four women had to confront their pasts and embrace who they truly were, with guidance from beyond the grave, or so it would appear.

  34. House for all seasons was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it for light hearted chic-lit. I thought the story was quite clever in how it used the seasons to tell each characters story and how Gypsy had orchestrated their reconciliation from beyond the grave. She obviously recognised each girls issues and angst when they were younger and hoped to fix it in her own way. But how much influence she had on what happened to them during their stays, we don’t really know.
    Here is where I find fault with the book. It’s almost as if the author lost interest or rushed it. Each character’s time at the house seemed shorter and shorter. I ‘felt’ Sara was there for 3 months but by the time we got to Caitlin I had to check back as I honestly thought she was only there a week. I also felt that Poppy and Ambers stories were told within the first 2 weeks of their stay’. This was a shame for me as I think there was so much more scope.
    I found many unanswered or ambiguous questions. Did Sara stay on with Will or go back to the city? Was Alex really gay or just joking as he seemed to do about many things? Does Caitlin always trust so easily? Did Eli exist or was he a result of Poppy’s medication? I could go on, hence why I think serious readers would not like this book.
    Like I said enjoyable and quite funny in places but just lacking depth.

  35. This was a great Australian read. I loved the country life they portrayed and the women going back to the town they grew up in to my peace with themselves and what happened in their lives growing up there. The characters were left a house by their childhood friend’s mother Gypsy. They were described well with interesting personalities. I questioned if some of the characters were spirits and not really there. It seemed convenient that each woman staying had a different person involved in the upkeep of Gypsy’s house. Resolving their past issues and making amends to some of the people hurt by their actions was a gentle enjoyable read. I would recommend it, not too heavy, just right.

  36. I quite enjoyed this book. I found it very easy to read but as many have noted it did drag in parts.
    Besides that, I loved the characters and getting to know these 4 girls. It is amazing how 4 very close friends can grow up and change so much.
    I enjoyed the pairings of characters however there were a few parts in the book that were a tad too predictable.
    I felt a real magical feeling playing it’s part in the background which I quite enjoyed.
    It was overall a very light and pleasant read, I would recommend this to others for something a little out of the ordinary.

  37. This book reminds me of when i was younger how close i was to my friends . I really enjoyed reading this book back in a country Australian life style i could relate abit with these 4 friends i just found it was lacking abit of depth i really wanted to get into the characters but over all i absolutly luved it i passed it on to my girlfriend she getting right into it now she can’t put it down just like me can’t wait for the next one bring it on

  38. Hello lovely B&L members,

    It’s been a huge month for me so I am just now stopping by to let you know how much I appreciate the time you’ve invested—first in reading House for all Seasons, and then reviewing it here on B&L. Thirty-eight reviews is a wonderful sample and with so many similar comments it’s a great indication of overall reader enjoyment.
    What I loved more than anything is the very clever précis of the story that so many of you provided. Do you know how big a struggle it is for an author to write a short synopsis of their story? It stumps the very best. (I sure know where to come next time I need to do one!!) Hearing your re-telling of the story and your amazing understanding of the characters and their struggles warmed me to my toes. (Unless that was a hot flush I was having at the time!!!!)

    I see a few of you have joined me on my Facebook page and I love that. Welcome. (I even met a member f2f at my local shops. What a thrill.) Now I am about to dive into the editing process for The Simmering Season. It’s another Calingarry Crossing novel because while writing House for all Seasons, I’m afraid I also fell in love with Calingarry Crossing and did not want to leave. But alas, the story needed to end.
    Regards, Jenn J McLeod
    Facebook FYI

    1. How lovely to get a response to our reviews from the author. I look forward to reading Shimmering Season. Any idea of the likely publishing date?

  39. I wasn’t lucky enough to receive this book to read but after reading the reviews it sounds like a book I’m going to have to grab for myself.
    I also have to say I think it’s a lovely touch Jenn J McLeod, for you to come onto the forum and thank the B&L reviewers for their time and effort….you can tell you’re sincere and truly appreciate their opinions. You’ve made a new fan here!

  40. It’s lovely to connect with readers. Readers is why authors write and to read some of those reviews, where the person totally got the tiniest plot detail and the character’s motivations gave me goosebumps. You can connect anytime with me. I set up a Reading Parlour on my website for people to ask questions or leave comments (no spoilers though!). As for The Simmering Season, it will be out March next yea, Margo.

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