Book Club: Talk of the Town

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Author: Rachael Johns
ISBN: 9781489226532
RRP: $29.99

Talk of the Town is the latest release by the talented Rachael Johns, her tenth print book for Harlequin; a return to small town rural roots that are what made me fall in love with her work.

Meg is running from her past and looking for a fresh start, far away from anyone that may recognise her. She took on a place in the deserted town of Rose Hill, thinking that she was the only resident. It seemed like a perfect place to regroup and there were enough jobs to be done around the house to keep her busy.

Lawson Cooper-Jones is a young widow whose two great loves in life are the family dairy farm and his eight-year old son Ned. He has been trudging through life with the support of his sister, the love of his son and the support of their small town community. His heart still well and truly captured by his late wife.

A flat tyre stops Lawson and Ned in Rose Hill where an entertaining (for me anyway) and unexpected first meeting  creates a shift for both Lawson and Meg.

Alternating chapters follow Lawson and Meg in their everyday lives and allow us an insight into their thoughts, and the people around them… well around Lawson anyway, Meg is quite isolated.

One of the minor plotlines had me intrigued, and unfortunately left me wanting a little more. The first thing Meg is told in her impromptu meeting with Ned and Lawson is about her house being haunted. Of course the adults scoff at the thought, and then Meg starts sensing things in the house.

Meg spends some time researching the history of the house to try and discover it’s secrets. This element fascinated me and I loved the discoveries they made, I just wish there had been a little more closure of this part of the story.

Johns has addressed some very topical issues in this one; from the dairy crisis to the drug problem this one is going to touch the hearts of many. It’s a story of fresh starts, forgiveness and the long road back from addiction.

The lead characters are interesting and multi-faceted, they made me want the best for them and by a third of the way through I was formulating theories, and scared stiff about what would come of them. The deeper into the story we traveled, the more I worried.

The secondary characters were also something special and I would love to see where they end up. Lawson was supported through his grief by his younger sister Tab, a positive and endearing character with challenges of her own. She has suffered hardship in her life and refuses to let it define her, she took the cards she was dealt and made the most of it and I couldn’t help but admire her strength.

Adeline on the other hand is a secondary character that inspired animosity but when I think about her now, after finishing the book and spending the day thinking on it, she reminds me of Lauren from Hope Junction a little and I think she could be redeemed.

Talk of the Town brings together the best and the worst of small town life, the gossip and the meddling but also the support and sense of coming home.

This is another stellar read which I unreservedly loved and my only issue is the lack of closure on the historical aspect of the house. I would love to come back to these characters and explore their future a little better. I would love to see Tab get her happy ever after and check in on some of the other residents of Walsh, actually I would also be interested to see if they can bring some life back to neighbouring Rose Hill. A fabulous read that will tug the heartstrings and have you falling in love with a precocious young man, and a fluffy pup.

Talk of the Town is book #17 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

Rachael Johns can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her Website.

Thanks to Harlequin Mira 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Talk of the Town so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I look forward to hearing what they think.

Talk of the Town is published by Harlequin Mira and is available from April 24 through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

21 thoughts on “Book Club: Talk of the Town

  1. This novel was easy to read and enjoyable but I felt that the story line was worthy of more elaboration and depth, especially with regard to Meg’s past and Lawson’s reaction. In my opinion, the strong build up of the story and characters ended with a brief and ‘rushed’ conclusion. I did notice two typos and, although not of any major concern, I do find typos in well written novels to be a momentary distraction.. Thank you for the opportunity to read this enjoyable book which I have now passed on to my elderly neighbour.

  2. I enjoyed reading Talk of The Town and found it very easy to read.. It is what I call a light read not something you can get your teeth in. . The rural setting and the ghost storyline was good..I haven’t
    read any other books by this author but will certainly look out for them.

  3. Talk of the Town drew me in straight from the beginning and kept
    me engaged all the way through.

    Set in Walsh a small town in Western Australia this is the story of Megan McCormick who is running away from her past, so she buys derelict house in Rose Hill a ghost town near Walsh.

    A flat tyre causes a chance encounter with a nearby dairy farmer Lawson Cooper-Jones and his 8 yr old son Ned.

    They are very much attracted to each other but both are reluctant to let the relationship develop. Lawson because he still cannot let himself feel for anyone since the death of his wife and Megan because of her unsavoury past.

    The characters in this novel were very realistic and likeable. A good story with some unexpected twists.

    I really enjoyed this heart- warming romance about real people overcoming and rising above the obstacles that life throws at all of us.

    Compelling reading with a great ending that leaves you with a good feeling.

    I look forward to more enjoyable reading from Rachael Johns in the future.

    Thanks to Harlequin books and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this novel

  4. Talk of The Town is a lovely story centered around Megan, a young lady with a history which is haunting her emotionally, Lawson, a young dairy farmer who lost his wife to a sinister act of violence and Ned, his young son. Predominantly the three main characters who challenge love, history,ghost pasts, family and friends in a small community. A genuine love story trying to piece together past history and now and forever love. A story to capture your heart while you try to prolong the reading so you have a sense of being there with them. A lovely story to read. Thank you for the chance to read.

  5. Being a country girl myself, I’ve always had a soft spot for a rural romance. “Talk of the Town” didn’t disappoint. It tells the story of Meg, a woman running away from her past, and Lawson, a man who has been touched by tragedy
    This book moves along at a nice, gentle pace. It is easy to read, but touches on quite serious subject matter
    As well as the two main characters, you will meet Ned: Lawson’s son, his sister: Tab and Archie: Meg’s reclusive neighbour. Rachael Johns has a talent for bringing these characters into life as they add to the tale.
    The problem with secrets is that they have a habit of resurfacing, usually at the worst possible time. Read this book and all will be revealed. You will not be disappointed

  6. This review is the 7th I have written due to internet drama and I admit I may have forgot to add in some parts as I become increasingly forlorn by my internet connection. Non-the-less… here it is.
    Talk Of The Town was a lovely example of Racheal Johns continuously delightful writing. She writes with such warmth and goose pimple inducing honestly. I related to many aspects of her new novel and became absorbed and intrigued immediately.
    I was left craving more from some of the characters  (Tab and Ned could have their own novels; their complexity and honestly left me wanting more). I found the growth of the main characters Meg and Lawson as they worked through there differences and found a deep connection
    I wanted to jump into the novel and dig into the historical society building myself. I craved more information and more depth from the historical persepctive. I wished that more had came from the secrets of the past…it could have something to do with the inspector within me and I was left wishing for more drama and confrontation, especially with Adeline; I just couldn’t like her and wished someone would pull her hair and stick out their tongue at her.
    Racheal created characters I wanted to meet and have a cuppa with. Throwing in surprising tid bits until i was hooked and couldn’t put the book down until I was done ( dangerous territory when you have a two year old who gets up when she pleases).
    I was in love with the rural town community inability for secrets to remain. The ghostly quiet of Rose Hill called to me. I became concerned for Meg on her own out there and loved how this helped draw me into Lawsons actions.
    I related with these aspects and the farming dramas which occurred having come from a farming family.
    I would have loved more in depth information of Megs past, family and convictions ( just wanted more more more; in a positive light as I just felt so happy about getting to know the charactors I wanted to get as much information as I could).
    Talk Of The Town was a real delight to read.
    It made me happy to be apart of and share in the main characters lives for that previous snippet of time. Happy!

    Thanks for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful novel

  7. Gosh, where to start with this one?! May as well start with the good … I love the characters in this book. As someone who lives in rural Aus (and at one time in a town with a lot of similarities to Rose Hill), I found Rachael Johns captures the quirk of country living perfectly. It was such an easy book to be captivated by, and as such one that was thoroughly enjoyed. I found the supporting characters, Archie and Tab, every bit as intriguing as the main characters. They really captured so many elements what it is to be human, including flaws.

    This book captures a historical perspective too, which is authentic and intriguing with the ghost element. This is not something I’d usually warm too in a book, but Rachael weaves a slight supernatural twist in to add drama, and history into the story. It’s done in such a way that it does not take away from the characters, but more adds a smidgen of humour, and a splash of spook.

    I liked that this book was set in the dairy industry, not something I’ve read in a book before. It’s such an important (and sometimes overlooked) industry in the Australian farming world. It was nice to see the topics facing the industry being explored respectfully.

    Now the bad … I found the pacing for this book a little off. I got frustrated midway because it was all so drawn out. In contrast, the last section of the book seemed too short and I was left wanting to know what happens next. Maybe there’s another book in store?

    Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it an easy read. Would be great if you had a weekend to lose yourself in a book. Thank you Rachael Johns, Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for another great read. I have my fingers crossed that this may be the first in a series 🙂

  8. I loved it. Rachael Johns is a star at writing small town, rural romances. This one is no exception.
    I loved how she brings the Aussie setting the characters come to life. It is a slow burn romance with plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting. Really enjoyed this story –
    I was emotionally engaged the whole way through. Plenty of smiles, laughs and some tears.

    Thank you for giving me the chance to review and have passed my copy to a friend!

  9. WINTER is upon us and there is no better excuse to curl up under a blanket with a cup of tea (or coffee) with a good book, than Rachael Johns’ latest masterpiece, Talk of the Town. This novel will not disappoint. It’s got elements of romance, drama, rural life and the overall theme of moving past the past and working together towards the future.
    After her young life led to jail time, Meg McCormick is looking for a new start. This is a favourite theme of rural romance, but don’t be thinking this is a novel that is going to follow the formulae of previous reads. There are plenty of surprises along the way.
    Meg is hoping to distance herself from her past and society in general by living in the ghost town of Rose Hill, but soon discovers she has a neighbour and a resident ghost. When dairy farmer Lawson Cooper-Jones has a flat tyre outside her house, which is a former store, she meets a new friend and his little son, Ned. Lawson’s focus in life has always been Ned since the death of his wife and his loyalties still lie with his late wife.
    Lawson is forced to look at his life and his loyalties as Meg makes his way into his heart, but local journalist Adeline has always had her eye on Ned and does some snooping to find out Meg’s history. This tears Lawson and Meg apart, but can either of them move past their pasts and forgive each other enough to make something work between them?
    You’ll have to read it to find out, but I can assure you Talk of the Town is not your typical rural romance and you will find yourself wondering how it’s all going to end. This is one to definitely add to the top of your ‘to be read’ pile as Rachael Johns weaves her magic once again.
    There could be a sequel in this with maybe a happy ever after for Lawson’s sister…

  10. I really enjoyed Talk Of The Town, it is a lovely story that I would be glad to recommend..

    Megan McCormick has recently made the move from Melbourne to a deserted country town called Rose Hill in WA, in an attempt to leave her regrettable past behind her.
    She has changed her name to Megan McDonald, and is determined to keep to herself. Her days are spent crocheting and baking in her home that was once the town’s general store.
    One day, she answers a knock at the door and is greeted by Lawson Cooper-Jones, and his adorable 8 year-old son, Ned. Lawson is a dairy farmer at his property in a nearby town, and is stranded due to a flat tyre.
    Although Megan is hesitant to divulge any information about her past, she surprisingly finds herself chatting easily to Lawson, and both he and Ned form an instant liking to Meg.
    By the time the tyre is changed, they realise that they have made a friend in each other, even though Meg is so reluctant to open up to anyone. Lawson has his own concerns too, as he hasn’t had a relationship since the passing of his wife, Leah, although the townsfolk have tried to set him up in the past without success.
    Local woman, Adeline Walsh, has her sights set on him, and is determined to make Lawson hers, but he isn’t romantically interested in Adeline.

    Meg introduces herself to the only other person living in Rose Hill, a man who is known locally as Crazy Archie. He is welcoming and friendly towards Meg. This interaction makes her realise that she misses being around people. She craves the company of others, but is still worried about revealing too much of the person she once was.
    Meg also discovers that her home holds a haunting mystery, and she sets about uncovering its hidden secrets.
    Lawson offers to help her investigate the building’s history, which sees them spending more time together.
    In time, their relationship blossoms from friendship to love.

    However, when Adeline finally uncovers the truth about Meg’s past and confronts Lawson with the information, he is shocked with the revelation, and their relationship is thrown into turmoil.
    Will Lawson and Meg be able to forgive each other and enjoy the future that they both deserve?

    The Talk Of The Town is a moving novel with some brilliant characters. Ned is such a clever and cool young lad; Lawson’s sister Tabitha is a woman with a big heart, and Archie is everything you could ask for in a neighbour.
    I also enjoyed reading about what is involved in dairy farming, as it is a topic that I knew little about.
    Thanks for the opportunity to read and review Talk Of The Town!

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