Book Club: Lyrebird Hill

Click to rate this book!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Author: Anna Romer
ISBN: 978-19-220-5242-1
RRP: $29.99

Lyrebird Hill is a story of the distant past and the recent past converging with the present. Written across two very different timelines Romer brings together the stories of Brenna and Ruby, two women who share a connection with the property of Lyrebird Hill.

Romer has written two distinct timelines and two leading ladies, both of whom grew up on Lyrebird Hill. I don’t want to say too much because there is a large element of mystery to the story and I would hate to ruin it for anyone.

The property of Lyrebird Hill has been passed down through the generations for over 100 years and it is still complete, even through drought and rough years none of the land has been sold off to help out.

In the 1800s there was an indigenous clan living on the land of Lyrebird Hill and there were some very mixed feelings about them being there. Brenna’s father wants to keep his land intact in an effort to keep the clan safe. Brenna spends lots of time with the clan, learning about all of the plants and herbs on the land and what they can be used for. Information which she keeps stored in a beautifully self-illustrated notebook that is never far from her side.

A bad crop sees Michael Magavin in dire straits financially and still determined not to sell off any of the land. In the end an associate offers a proposal which will keep Lyrebird Hill safe, it just means Brenna must marry him and move to Tasmania until she bears him a son. An arrangement which made my skin crawl but I am from a very different time. Rather than risk losing the family land that she loves Brenna agrees to the proposal, not unhappily either because she has been quite intrigued by Mr Whitby. It will be quite a transition for her to leave Lyrebird Hill and the Armidale area behind to move to Tasmania but she feels it is a necessary sacrifice for the safety of the family’s legacy.

Brenna soon comes to see a very different side of Mr Whitby once they are married and her time in Tasmania is quite lonely until she forms a very close friendship with Whitby’s sister Adele.


Alternating chapters focus on Ruby Cardel a young woman who spent much of her childhood at Lyrebird Hill, sometime after the tragic loss of her older sister Ruby and her mother moved into Armidale and the property was sold to a neighbor. The day Jamie died remains a mystery, whatever happened is locked away in Ruby’s mind – she has blocked out a year of her life and believes that it was all a tragic accident.

What will happen when she discovers that it wasn’t an accident? Slowly her life begins to come apart at the seams and glimpses of the past start returning.

Ruby is a beautifully drawn character, she incites such empathy even though there are times her insecurities make her a little painful to watch.

The story opens with her heading to an exhibition opening with her boyfriend. He is a well-known and gorgeous author who leaves her wondering, on a regular basis, why her? He could have anyone so why her. This is quite a common thought for a lot of people in relationships but it’s something Ruby really seems to struggle with.

Right from the beginning Rob seems not quite right for her. He is patronizing and just brushes away her fears. He doesn’t address them so they can work through them, just tries to brush them off with snippets from his books.

Ruby heads back home to Lyrebird Hill to find out what she can from the elderly neighbor who bought the property but things don’t quite go to plan.

The door that has been firmly bolted in her memory was unlocked when she studied her mum’s paintings at the exhibition but it isn’t until she returns home that the flow of memories starts to gain momentum.

Ruby’s story is told in present and past tense and the transition is quite rapid, one minute she’s in the present and going about her day and then she slips into the daydream of a returning memory and takes us with her.

Romer has woven the threads of this tale together remarkably well, even through three timelines the story never lacks cohesion and the flow is quite intense as it all moves towards the climactic coming together of all threads.

Lyrebird Hill is a story I love because it has elements of many genres and the central character is a booklover who ran away from home to open a bookstore – what a heavenly idea that is to me. The mystery woven into the history of both women is gripping and there were some fabulous twists in the story. There was a little romance and there was a side of history we often don’t get.

The way there were a couple of things that tied all of the threads so nicely together was convincingly done and even now as I sit and write this I am still connecting dots and putting pieces together, long after I closed the book.

Anna Romer is definitely batting 2 for 2 and I, personally, can’t wait to see what’s in store for us with number 3.

Some of our very lucky book club readers will also be reading Lyrebird Hill and I can not wait to hear what they have to say about it. Don’t forget to check back here for their thoughts.

They will also each have a question for Anna Romer in their comments and the best ones will be compiled for an upcoming author interview with Romer herself. I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

51 thoughts on “Book Club: Lyrebird Hill

  1. Thank you so much for letting me review this wonderfully written book.

    I was truly enchanted with Lyrebird Hill and all the characters in the two entwined stories. For the first time in my life I actually read a whole book, from start to finish, in one day. I was on the edge of the seat the whole time wondering what will happen next with the two lovable female characters. I was so engrossed in the story lines that I was completely unsuspecting of the very clever twist with Rob.

    I live in the Northern NSW so I have traveled on the same roads as the characters. I found the roughed scenery beautifully and passionately described. I love books written about Australia and feel that this one was really well researched as I felt I was truly transported into the harsh times of the 1900’s feeling compassion for the tough decisions the characters has to make just to survive and for the ill treated Aboriginal people.

    I have already recommended this beautiful book to my family, friends and congratulated Anna Romer on her facebook page. I can’t wait to read Anna’s first book:)

    My question for Anna:
    Who is your favourite character from Lyrebird Hill?

    Thank you 🙂

  2. I want to say Thank You to Beauty & Lace for allowing me to be a part of this review team and would like to apologise for my late review. I spent 4 days with a migraine and couldn’t even pick up the book…so I am sorry.

    Lyrebird Hill is an amazing book to read. I fell into the stories of Ruby and Brenna immediately and hated when my eyes got sleepy because I just wanted to keep reading. I loved reading the Ruby parts and having the knowledge and images of what went on at Lyrebird Hill in the past. It was awesome having the ability to know the history of the property….I have wanted to know the history/past of so many places I’ve lived and seen but rarely you get this chance.

    I loved Brenna’s connection with the Aboriginals and her love for her family but hated the decision she had to make to keep her Dad financial…I felt enormously sorry for her married to Carsten, when the ‘real’ Carsten showed himself…he was a really mean-spirited, hurtful person. I loved Brenna’s strength but I know I would not have stuck around. I was very happy that she found love with another.

    Ruby’s character reminded me of an old fashioned school teacher, the way she was described, quiet, reserved, owns a library (I understand her passion as I love books). From this description, her relationship with Rob did not quite fit for me and I was a little suss about hi from the beginning ….but in saying that I was not prepared for the twist…

    I loved reading about the Australian countryside and reading how the Indigenous were treated was appalling. I loved how Anna used the Aboriginal dialogue in her writing….especially ‘bunna’ I’ve heard that quite a bit from close Aboriginal friends….I never understood what the word meant but in the context it’s used I imagine it means friend/dear/honey….? Don’t know though.

    Anna was able to write a very descriptive story where I was able to have a running movie going on inside my head as I was reading the story.

    Pete is a wonderful, warm and charming character that I fell in love with too. He sounds perfect.

    I really didn’t want the story to end as I enjoyed it so much and I’m passing it to my Mum to borrow so she can read it as I told her it was so good. 5 stars out of 5.

    My question to Anna….Anna did you have to study the Aboriginal language to be able to use some of their words and be able to write in the disjointed way the Indigenous talk (how they miss certain words in a sentence)? And please…what does ‘bunna” mean?

  3. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was like two stories in one novel and each story would’ve been a great novel on its own. My only problem was that it was a bit hot and cold. I’d read one chapter about Brenna’s life, get to the end wanting to know what would happen next, then the next chapter would be about Ruby and it would take a few pages for me to get into her story again. I would rather have had Brenna’s full story first, then Ruby’s. I would still have understood the connection between the two.

    I kept changing my mind about who I thought killed Jaime throughout the book and never guessed the right person. It took me totally by surprise when I find out.

    I enjoyed the ending, it was great to find out that Ruby finally ended up not feeling guilt and managed to get on with her life.

    My question to the author is probably a bit out there, but it’s been bugging me. When Brenna first moved to Brayer House she went for a walk and found a graveyard, she sat down to do some painting and a stray growling dog showed up, she threw her food for it to eat. I kept waiting for the dog to return, like they would become friends or something, but it never happened. My question is why did you put the dog in the book?

  4. My question to Anna is which character did you feel more connected with? I have heard authors speak and some have said they feel a Certain connection with some characters.

    I have to say I really enjoyed reading Lyrebird Hill. and have already recommended it to freinds and colleagues .i love reading novels with strong characters and both Brenna and Ruby are that. Able to overcome the tragic events they have experienced. The dual story lines I loved and couldn’t wait to see how the stories would merge in the end The twist I never saw coming either . Congratulations Anna on a wonderful book! Thank you B&L for giving me the opportunity to read it.

  5. First off, a BIG thank you to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this fantastic novel. I was definitely engrossed the entire time of reading the novel and simply did not want to put it down!

    Lyrebird Hill is a powerful read and has a big element of mystery within the story. I quite enjoyed the dual narratives of Ruby and Brenna being interwoven as I felt like I was moving between two times in life. Both stories were very powerful and beautifully written by Romer, easily seeing the connection between the two characters.

    I really enjoyed how the whole mystery was based on a property and all the secrets lied within its inhabitants and Ruby’s return to the property was the catalyst for the secrets to be uncovered and for wrongs to be made right.

    I felt for Ruby’s character – trying to live a normal life after her sister’s death which all comes crashing down on her when she discovers that her sister’s death was not an accident and the property she lived on may have been cursed.

    Lyrebird Hill is therefore a story of mystery, discovery, and redemption, with an atmosphere marked by tension, forbidden love, obsession and suspicion.
    A definite chilling read and one that I will read over and over again.

    My question to the author is:

    What made you write about this particular theme? It was definitely a complex, multi-layered mystery of events and I wondered if you had a connection to this storyline by past experience. The story really intrigued me and I could relate to some of the themes. Well done on a fantastic novel!

  6. An addictive read which I would highly recommend.
    Characters are relatable and plot is fascinating.
    Do NOT read this at night – you will end up with a book
    I enjoyed the setting being in Australia – it gave me a great connection. I would highly recommend this. 4/5 stars!

  7. Well written and addictive. Finally found time to read this.
    Anna was able to describe the setting vividly like you and gives the reader strong female characters that will keep you engaged. Good read and I probably need to go back and read this again.
    Probably time to investigate the author’s other books and stock up for the Christmas break.

  8. I read this book and couldn’t put it down. I only left it for awhile because I was a bit tired when I started reading it and fell asleep. First thing I did when I woke up was continue reading it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *