Book Club: The Other Side of the Season

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Author: Jenn J McLeod
ISBN: 9781925030320
RRP: $32.99

The upcoming Jenn J McLeod release, The Other Side of the Season, arrived on my desk late last week and I could not resist. It doesn’t release until May 1st but I couldn’t wait, it jumped straight to the top of the pile.

This is the 4th book in the Seasons collection though they aren’t really a series. The books stand just as well on their own, and I am still yet to read the first two but I do really want to.

The Other Side of the Season is set in a different location to the first books as well, this time we are off to the Blue Mountains and a little town close to Byron Bay called Watercolour Cove.

McLeod has again woven two timelines into a suspenseful and intriguing story that kept me captivated, it also kept my mind off the pain of my new tattoo and that is saying something this time round. Some of the elements of the story were a little predictable and I could see what was going to happen quite early but there were some pretty major twists that threw me for six.

Being as how this story has two distinct timelines that slowly converge to a point where all is revealed I need to be very careful what I say here because I don’t want to spoil any of the mystery.

Beginning in the blue Mountains in 2015 we have a prologue, an interesting snapshot of time that doesn’t really relate to anything yet but you just know that at some point it’s going to become very important.

Still in 2015 we head to Watercolour Cove where we meet brother and sister roadtripping duo Sid and Jake on their way to Byron Bay, well that’s where Jake thinks they are heading anyway. Sid has other ideas, she has planned a detour to Watercolour Cove to chase up some information about a grandfather she never knew she had.

Back we head to Greenhills Banana Plantation in 1979, located at the top of the tallest hill in the small seaside town of Dinghy Bay. In 1979 we meet the Hill brothers, David and Matthew, who live and work on the plantation and will one day inherit it. Next door to the Hill plantation is the much smaller Markht property where foster siblings Albie and Tilly live. These kids have had it tough, their lives til now have been very different to the Hill brothers. Tilly has had it pretty tough and she learned early that sometimes to get where you want to be in life you have to play the game, no matter what the cost. David and Tilly are madly in love and talking about escaping their hilltop home for an exciting future as artists in the big city.

the other side of the season

The bulk of the story is told in 2015 where we get to know Jake and Sid better as they settle into their respective roles as caretakers of the hilltop gallery in Watercolour Cove and Sid tries to work out how she’s going to get the information they need about the grandfather they didn’t know they had. We learn a lot about Sid, her childhood, her strained relationship with her mother, her current relationship issues and the reason she’s running away from life to chase a newly discovered grandfather.

Sid is a strong and capable woman who lacks faith in herself at the moment. The relationship she shares with her mother has never been that close but with the challenges Sid is facing it seems their relationship has taken a turn for the worse, their arguments are more regular and more brutal.

The picture painted of Natalie is not flattering. She is not a likeable character and on more than one occasion I would have liked to slap her. Say what you want about her though; she was driven, determined and she thought she was doing what she had to do.

I was completely dragged in by this book, the twists were fantastic and though there were some that you could see coming from very early on there were others that suckerpunched you out of the blue.

Jenn’s writing is evocative, gorgeously descriptive and transports you to the places she writes about. Unfortunately I don’t think that Watercolour Cove actually exists, but if it did I would definitely want to visit.

The Other Side of the Season is a touching story of love, first love, new love, enduring love, love of convenience, family, truth and the importance of learning the other side of the story; because there is always at least two sides to a story.

One of our characters has had quite the hand dealt to him in life and things have been far from easy but he teaches us a valuable lesson, that if I hadn’t been under the gun at the time I may have marked the passage, about forgiveness and moving on.

All of the characters in this novel have had their share of heartache and things going wrong and all of them deal with that differently. Jenn has made it interesting to watch how the different characters deal with their challenges.

Stunning writing, spellbinding storytelling, art in all its glory and the message that it’s never too late to make things right. You may not be able to fix all the mistakes you made in the past but you can still make amends and change your future.

An amazing read that I am glad I allowed to jump to the top of the pile and just cemented my resolve to read the first two of the seasons collection.

The Other Side of the Season is book #17 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.

The Other Side of the Season is available in May from Simon & Schuster Australia, Booktopia, Bookworld and where all good books are sold.

Jenn J McLeod can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and her Website.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia 25 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Other Side of the Season so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments.

31 thoughts on “Book Club: The Other Side of the Season

  1. I love Jenn’s book and it was after reading the first book that I then tuned into her Facebook page and have followed her journey with the last two books she wrote. She is such a warm beautiful person to follow plus she makes me laugh too.

    Her books are books that when you get one to read, you just want to escape from the world and just huddle in that lounge and read till you reach the last page.

    This book sounds amazing and I love how she mentions places in Australia that I do know about. Watercolour Cove sounds like it should be a place on our map. 🙂

    I totally agree that in situations there are always two sides of a story and people are too quick in taking the 1st option.

  2. SO looking forward to reading another Jenn McLeod book! Thanks so much, Beauty and Lace for the opportunity. Looking forward to the book arriving on my doorstep. Jenn McLeod is so “down to earth” and her characters are so believable but also inspirational. Wonderful having fabulous Australian women writing so beautifully.

  3. Wow, what a remarkable journey I’ve been on reading ‘The Other Side of the Season’ by Jenn McLeod. I feel like I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster – I’ve laughed, cried, felt joy and sadness, been intrigued and have unravelled a delicate yet endearing story. The bottom line – I loved this book. I read it for hours – in front of the TV completely ignoring everything, late at night way past my bedtime, any spare moment I found myself tucked away with this book – eagerly turning the page to find out what happens next. If I can’t put a book down, or keep thinking about it and what may happen next – it is a sure winner for me!

    The story follows Sidney, her brother Jake, a lovely beachy town called Watercolour Cove, and expertly weaves in stories of Natalie, David, Matthew and Albie, amongst others. I can’t say too much about the storyline, as it might give too much away, but it was beautifully written. The connection between present day and 1979 was riveting – which surprised me as I don’t tend to pick books that are partly or all set in the past, and I found the jump from past to present smooth and easy. The interconnections between characters did have me quite confused for the first half of the book, I couldn’t keep up!! I was trying to figure who was this person and how did they relate to that person. After it all started to become clear, I got a better understanding and followed the ties a lot more. I warmed straight away to Sid and Jake; wanted to slap Natalie numerous times (even at the end); grew fond of David and was surprised about the other characters stories.

    I guess the one downside was that I found the ending disappointing… But I accept what it is, and it probably has to sink in a bit more for me, however I just didn’t find it tied up the climatic main part of the story for me. I guess I had seen it going another way, but once a certain character had started randomly saying certain phrases (I really can’t give much away!!) I thought that this was the way it was going to go. Just my opinion, I LOVED the story, just not the ending. Saying that I would definitely recommend it and pass this book on – and I will be looking out for Jenn’s previous books as the writing was truly a joy to read.

  4. Jenn J McLeod’s “The Other Side of the Season” is a perfect conclusion to the wonderful “Season” quartet. I’ve absolutely loved the four books which are cleverly independent but loosely linked. Few authors can manage the switching of times and places back and forth without confusing their readers. Jenn masters this so that the reader is enlightened, not confused.

    The relationships in all the “Seasons” books are written with integrity and honesty. Nothing is forced or manipulated, hence we get to see each character as a whole person and appreciate the way the interaction brings out the best and worst in another. The characterisation throughout “The Other Side of the Season” is wonderful – it starts with a brief chapter that makes little sense to begin with but you know it will make perfect sense when necessary.

    I loved the way the characters were developed, flaws, weaknesses, strengths and the interaction one with another shaping their lives. I loved the way the story flowed and although complex in many details, Jenn manages to inform, not confuse her readers with the way the sometimes complex information is given. I find retelling the story of a book like this unnecessary as in retelling it is almost impossible to not reveal details that should remain hidden until “discovered” through the reading.

    The characterisation of Sidney and her brother Jake, the relationship of each with their mother, Natalie and the way David and Albie fit into the story is done with such love and insight that like the character or not, you can understand why each acts as they do with their past shaping their future, whether they like it or not.

    Jenn manages to include an illness, condition or disability through her books that isn’t always understood and she does so without it being forced. Pearl is a delightful young woman who suffers from Albinism, a condition I knew little about but the way she lives her life with restrictions because of her Albinism is an inspiration. I loved the way David dealt with his difficulties without letting the experience destroy him. The way Natalie rose above her upbringing is inspirational.

    I can only conclude with sincere thanks to Jenn McLeod for her inspirational writing – I’m delighted to know there is another book on the horizon, my thanks to Beauty and Lace for the wonderful opportunity to read this and the original “House for all Seasons” as well as ” Season of Shadow and Light,” “Simmering Season” I bought and also loved. Thank you too to Simon and Schuster for publishing “real” novels. To anyone who loves beautifully written novels, especially ones that deal with the Australian scenery and characters as well as Jenn McLeod does, you’ll love the four books.

    “Sidney …..shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found and ….. there’s another side to every story.”

    “Forgiving is not forgetting. It is choosing inner peace over pain.” The whole experience is inspiring.

  5. The Other Side of the Season to me is Jenn’s best work so far. It almost seems that the other three novels have been just a teaser of Jenn’s talent.

    To me this book is more drama and intrigue with a touch of a love story compared to her other books.

    There is a single page at the front which seems to not fit anywhere when you first read it but as you go along there comes a time when all becomes clear and shows there is another side to every story.

    It’s 2015 Sidney and Jake are two siblings looking to start a new adventure in their lives. Jake thinks they are heading to Byron Bay but Sid has a different agenda that she just hasn’t told her brother about yet.
    Sid has found out about family that are living only 7 hours from Sydney. Why had they not known about this family, Sid was ready to find out beginning with staying in Watercolour Cove for a little while.

    Tilly and David are young in love and full of dreams and promises.
    David is soon heading to university where he will get an Arts Degree and marry Tilly the girl of his dreams. Matthew his older brother does not agree with him spending all his time with Tilly.
    Tilly and Albie are the adopted children of the Markht’s. Although they are not blood related they are just like siblings, well most of the time.

    One day in 1979 an event happens that will change the lives of all involved for many years to come.

    Jenn’s novel has two timelines which are delicately woven together that flow smoothly from one to the other. When reading you are never confused of the time lines are how they relate to each other.

    We’ve all made mistakes and we’ve all had ‘what if’ moments, this is a story of mistakes, what if’s and more.
    It’s a story of letting go, holding on, love and loss, old mistakes and new beginnings and how love does with stand the test of time.

    It is a beautiful story about family and realising that one wrong choice can last a lifetime.

    I won’t write about them but there are many elements that Jenn has brought to this novel that could have made it too heavy and yet Jenn has brought them in and given them the understanding and dignity they deserve.

    There was a part when reading it that I knew how part of the story would end. Just a simple few lines that jumped out and let you know we were heading that way but even though I knew it was still a slap in the face when it happened.

    I hate when I finish a book that Jenn has written because I know that I have a long wait til the next one.

    Jenn has a way of creating characters with a touch of mystery about them then during the story she peels away layers until she reveals all of that character allowing you to get to know and fall in love with and discover something you didn’t know.

    I want to go to Watercolour Cove and write my own message on a rock to let the world guess my story.

    Thanks Jenn for another amazing read and thanks also to Beauty and Lace for letting me read this novel.

  6. I really enjoyed reading ‘The other side of the season’. Some parts were a bit predictable, but there were enough intriguing parts to keep my attention. I found the book hard to put down, which was good because I was in bed over the weekend with a migraine and this book helped me to take my mind off of the pain I was in! I cried so much at the end – that I did not see coming.

    Watercolour Cove sounded like a wonderful little town and made me want to go and look for it. I loved the descriptions and for someone who has difficulty visualising, I found that I was quite easily able to come up with a picture of the town in my head.

    The characters were interesting. At first I didn’t like Tilly and she seemed like a bully to me, out to do whatever she could to get whatever she wanted. By the end though, I had forgiven her and I liked the way she resolved her issues.

    I’d love to hear more about baby Grace and how she was raised and then learnt about her family history and also the adorable pair of Jake and Pearl. Those two sounded so cute together. So if there ever is a sequel, I will be reading it.

    I have also read ‘Season of shadow and light’, which I also enjoyed. Jenn, your books have been fantastic to read and I will be looking out for the others to purchase as well. Thank you for writing such lovely books.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace, once again, for another fantastic book to review >:o)

  7. I believe The Other Side of the Season is Jenns best book yet , beautifully written from the first page to the last, readers will find this book hard to put down ( I know I did ) there is mystery, happiness, lies and tears in this book, the fictional town of Watercolour Cove is a place I would love to visit , I throughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend

  8. I loved this book, and right up front I’ll say that it’s one of the best books I’ve read recently – and I read a lot.

    The story opens on Sidney; after a major crisis leads to enormous upheaval in her life, Sidney takes a winter holiday to Coffs Harbour with her brother. She doesn’t mention her planned detour to Watercolor Cove – which may well be the home of their grandfather. Neither Sidney or Jake have ever met any member of their family other than their mother and father, and Sidney is deeply curious.

    The chapters about Sidney and her brother are told in 2015; interspersed are chapters set in 1979, telling the story of three teenagers – David, Matthew and Tilly. David and Tilly are desperate to get away from the isolated township and start their lives. Matthew shows no inclination to leave. But tragedy strikes and disrupts their plans – setting in train smaller tragedies that echo through the years.

    At first we are left to wonder who in 2015 matches up to the people we meet in 1979. I usually dislike this technique, but McLeod has used it really effectively. Instead of contorting herself for far too long to try to keep the “secret”, McLeod lets the identities emerge quite early on, using the flashbacks to draw you deeply into the lives of these people.

    McLeod draws strong characters, and although you sometimes feel like you’d like to slap them, you also understand and sympathise with a lot of their decisions and actions. Even when you’re thinking “No! No! Don’t do that!”, you can see why they’re doing it.

    The strength of this novel is in the way it explores relationships, and the extent to which we may not know or understand even the people we think we’re closest to. This isn’t a new theme, but it’s handled really well and very realistically here. I also appreciated the exploration of the different ways people express love, and of conflict within families.

    Although this novel was, for me, mostly about the relationships, the plot also goes to some unexpected places. I wouldn’t exactly say a plot twist – it’s not the kind of novel that suggests – but certainly, some of the things that happen late in the novel are not what you may be anticipating. Even so, they seem natural and in sync with the tone of the novel.

    And finally, I appreciated where McLeod leaves her characters. She doesn’t try to tie up every loose end, and not everyone will be in the circumstances you might have wanted for them. But there is a sense that the main characters have found some kind of peace with both the past and the present, and that their future will be the better for it.

  9. The Other Side of the Season is Australian author Jenn J McLeod’s fourth novel. I firmly believe that after having the pleasure of reading Jenn’s previous works, this release is easily her best work yet. The Other Side of the Season is a novel that places McLeod as Australia’s premier contemporary fiction novelists.

    Following on from her ‘seasons’ theme, which McLeod has covered in her previous three novels, McLeod’s latest novel hints at how the shift in seasons can imprint on our life experiences. McLeod introduces the reader to siblings Sidney and Jake, travelling to the warmth of Byron Bay from the chill of their Blue Mountains home. In search of a new life, Jack and Sidney feel compelled to settle in a town they run into through a detour, a picturesque coastal town named Watercolour Cove. Watercolour Cove is a place that has altered over the years as a curious Sidney soon discovers. Running alongside Sidney and Jake’s present day story, is a thread set in 1979, involving a family from Watercolour Cove who own a banana plantation and their surrounding community. It becomes apparent that these storylines will converge, as choices, secrets and lies from the past have life altering consequences for those living in the present day.

    Small town fiction is Jenn J Mcleod’s speciality and again this aspect of her novel receives her expert treatment. The Other Side of the Season exudes a strong sense of place. From the majestic Blue Mountains, to the tropical banana plantations and tranquil coastal beauty of Watercolour Cove, McLeod’s setting descriptions have the power to transfix any reader.

    The Other Side of the Season contains an intricately crafted plot that deftly combines high family drama, secrets, love and abandonment. Woven into these main themes are issues explored with great care and attention to detail, such as the Australian art industry, imprisonment, albinism, mental illness and the impact of institutionalised child abuse.

    The obvious highlight in this book is the characters. Each character featured in The Other Side of the Season is expertly drawn. McLeod’s characters manage to stir a mix of emotions from deep care and sympathy to dislike and pure frustration. Either way, it is impossible not to get drawn into the intricate lives of these characters.

    As an avid and fast reader it is rare that a book compels me to savour rather than quickly devour it. This is a testament to the fine writing style of the talented Jenn J Mcleod. An excellent piece of Australian life literature, The Other Side of the Season is a highly affective read. It easily ranks as one of my best reads of 2016.

  10. What a wonderful book this is, Jenn J McLeod’s writing goes from strength to strength! The book is told in different timeframes for the characters. Sidney who comes to Watercolour Cove to search for her never-seen grandfather who has been in prison for some time. Sidney herself is recovering from a break-up with her partner and she and her brother Jake venture up together. She falls in love with the area, much to her mother’s disappointment, and meets David who has a gallery and accommodation where he offers Sidney a job. As Sid keeps digging further, the truth about her past slowly appears which has mixed consequences for all involved.

    The stories behind the characters in this book are well developed and intertwine beautifully. Even though there was a twist which I didn’t see coming, I was not entirely disappointed at the conclusion of this great book and would encourage everyone who likes Contemporary Women’s Fiction to read it. This book was a page-turner and had me hooked from the beginning.

  11. From the moment I hold one of Jenn’s novels in my hand, I know I am going to be memorised with her writing of characters in such a way that I feel like I know each one personally and I am living amongst them as I read. I have loved all of her covers that represent each of her last 3 books because they represent what evolves in the story that you are about to read. The cover of this book is just glorious with reflections.

    The book starts with a character that is writing a letter. To who or why, we won’t now till further on. This book also takes us through one year of 1979 and another 36 years later in 2015. Sometimes I can get confused when this happens but not with Jenn’s writing. I somehow figured through the first chapters that the characters are going to be entwined somehow.

    The book starts off in a fictional place called Watercolour Cove in 2015 and we meet the characters of Sid and her younger brother Jake. Both characters I fell in love with straight away. . I found the character of Jake making me laugh at his antics and his hilarious throw back remarks to his sister kept me entertained from beginning to the end. Jake reminded me of my own older brother with joking around. Just as we follow why they are heading to Watercolour Cove we then start a new chapter in Greenfill Banana Plantation 1979.

    In 1979 we meet a lot of characters and some I would love and some I would think were horrible. It’s not till further on, that my opinions will change for some of them.

    On reading about Watercolour Cove it did remind me of Nambucca Heads where I had a few holidays there in my younger days and it wasn’t till the end of the book on reading Jenn’s thank yous that I saw that the V.Wall from Nambucca Heads featured in the book. It is always lovely reading a book of places that you know and love. I could visualise the banana plantation and of course the Big Banana.

    This storyline totally moved me in every way with all the memorable characters, the compelling family drama with dark threads and secrets entwined through the pages, lies, love and death. I could not put the book down as I was totally captivated in reading and finishing such an enjoyable book.

    We learn from this book that long held secrets from the past never stay hidden and will eventually come to the surface. For one character she hoped her secret didn’t tear her family apart and she would be left alone. This character just turns all her energy into protecting her kids and these are the ones who would have suffered the most to learning the truth.

    I wasn’t ready for the ending and I will warn now, that tissues should be on hand for those that feel strong emotions.

    Another absolutely. brilliant book by Jenn that just lingers with me long after I have finished reading the last page. Even now, I have this heavy feeling in my chest just from the ending and I still have tears of sadness and joy.

    I thoroughly recommend anyone to read this book and you will definitely feel the emotional impact of this book that will remain with you for quite a while.

    Thank you again to Beauty & Lace and Simon Schuster for giving me such a wonderful book to read and enjoy but to have also introduced me to Jenn’s first book which started my journey of following her on facebook.

    Jenn is such a true warm and lovable Aussie who captures Australian places so well. I have never met Jenn but have travelled with her throughout Australia through her facebook journeys and am happy to call her a true fun friend. Maybe one day, I will get the opportunity of meeting her.

    p.s. with the character of Albie I kept thinking of Alby Mangels whenever I heard his name and they are so both different in every way. Just made me chuckle whenever I saw Abies name in the beginning.

  12. This is the first ‘Non-Mummy’ book I’ve read since having baby #3 and it sure made those long breastfeeding sessions go fast. I’d find myself hanging out for a break to lay down with bubs and get back into the story. Any chance I got to be honest! Housework was put on the back burner the past few days 
    I found it easy to read and was taken away from my little world for a bit.
    Watercolour Cove sounds divine, it was described perfectly and whenever I picked up the book I was instantly there, I can envision it clearly.
    The storyline was great, I like how it went between 1979 and 2015, it flowed nicely and kept me wanting more of 1979 so I could understand the characters more. The character Natalie made me angry and I found myself shaking my head and tsking a lot. However by the end I understood why she is the way she is. Albie grossed me out but again by the end I understood him too. Funnily enough the character Matthew who I felt for (nearly as much as David) was the one I ended up not a fan of…. As for David, well he is a beautiful soul who got the raw end of the stick. So true, there is always another side to the story.
    At first the story was predictable and I settled in but along the way a few things threw me too.
    The ending I didn’t see coming, I liked it (well as much as you can with such a blow). Without giving anything away I would’ve loved to hear Sidneys reaction and how things unravelled after her knowing…but the ending was fitting and well written.
    So now here I am back to my normal life and I feel thankful it’s drama free  although I will be tracking down Jenn’s other books to keep my head in the clouds a little longer.

  13. The Other Side of the Season is a well written book.
    The storyline flows effortless backwards and forwards between 1979 and 2015, and intertwines the main characters and brings this beautiful descriptive book to life.
    There is laughter, sadness and stubboness that is believable.
    Jenn J McLeod descriptions of scenery and artworks shows she sees the beauty around her and can put this passion into words.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this lovely book, I have already recommended it to friends.

  14. As this is the only book I have had the opportunity to read by Jenn J McLeod let me say that it is a spellbinder of a story & very well written enough that I must chase up her other novels.

    Great storyline as I have already said & for once I didn’t mind flipping from 2015 to 1979 very easily done & so engrossing sometimes it just flows so well.Strong characters with very different personalities but all likeable in their own way.
    As said by a few people had some predictable moments but then had some twist & turns not expected which made the book one of those you cannot put down.

    I really enjoyed this book recommend it as a great read & just hope for more of the same.

  15. I absolutely loved this book! One I found very difficult to put down once I started reading. It even made me late to a surprise 80th birthday party.
    I loved the way it flipped from1979 to 2015. Jenn J McLeod did this very well, which mad it very easy to follow and not confusing in the least. I loved the way the characters I thought I hated at the beginning were the ones I was cheering for in the end. It was quite sad at times, the tears were free flowing, and funny at others. The ending was quite sad In fact I wonder whether the story could have need any differently. The epilogue was perfect, something I totally love in books.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this
    book. Congratulations also to Jenn J McLeod on such a great book!

  16. The Other Side of the Season by Australian author Jenn J McLeod is a book that kept me wanting to keep reading and reading till the very last page. I found the book easy and relaxing to read.

    The story goes back and forth between periods in 1979 to 2015 with many twists of love, hurt, family dramas and finding out the truth as to what really happened.

    Sidney who offers to drive her brother Jake to Byron Bay to escape the winter in the Blue Mountains doesn’t tell him she plans to detour to Watercolour Cove to try and track down the grandfather that she didn’t know she had. Sid is a very headstrong young woman whose relationship with her mum is somewhat strained, together with her own relationship issues. The story goes through phases in characters lives from when they were young and unassuming to older and wiser. The story takes us on a journey that focuses on the lives of Tilly, David, Matthew, and Albie who are all affected by different events and happenings that change their lives forever.

    I really enjoyed reading a novel by an Australian author with the story set in Australia. Jenn McLeod showed she really had a feel for the story line and its characters. I found it interesting that I felt I could relate to the characters as if I was there on the journey with them.

    The Other Side of the Season left a lasting memory with me and that is “the truth can heal, wrongs can be righted, the lost can be found and there is always another side to every story”.

    I would like to thank Simon & Schuster Australia and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read The Other Side of the Season it is a book that I would highly recommend everyone read.

  17. I really enjoyed “The Other Side of the Season” by Jenn McLeod. A big thanks to Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read it.

    I love a story with a nostalgic element that links the past and the present of the characters, slowly revealing all their secrets. This book did that effortlessly in a very easy to read way. I also loved the Australian setting and ‘Australianisms’ in the writing style. It made me smile 🙂

    I’ve already passed this book onto my mum to read and will be looking out for more by Jenn in the future.

  18. How lucky we are in Australia to have so many wonderfully talented writers. Jenn J McLeod being one of them. Her book “The Other Side of The Storm’ was one I found delightful to read.
    The story flicks between two timelines. To start with I was a little unsure how it was all connected but I found it easy to jump back and forth between the different characters.
    This book very much shows us that its all the different experiences in life that make us into the person we are today. Everything that happens in our lives has an impact but we get to choose if we make it a negative or if we refuse to allow it to drag us down and find the positive in it and keep on moving forward. We all handle things in our own way and this is shown throughout the book.

    A wonderful book to read during those cold Winter evenings and rainy weekends. Add a cup of hot chocolate into the mix and you have perfection 🙂

  19. The Other Side of the Season is a mysterious, Australian novel set near Byron Bay. It’s the fourth book by Australian author, Jenn J McLeod and it’s basically like an onion. As you read the prose it’s like another layer is slowly stripped away to reveal something more and slightly different. The Other Side of the Season is a heart-warming tale that proves that there are often multiple sides to a story and that each perspective is often as valid and as important as the other.

    The book begins in the present day with a strong woman named Sidney who is looking to escape her mother’s house in the Blue Mountains. Sidney found herself returning home to live with her Mum after a long-term relationship break-up. This character is named after the artist, Sidney Nolan and she is looking at discovering some information about the past. Sidney is a relatable and rich character who has never been told much about her extended family so she decides to go on a journey with her younger rapscallion brother to get some answers.

    The second major thread in this novel has the reader immersed in a quaint town called Dingy Bay in Northern NSW in the late seventies. The main characters in this story are two young brothers, a 17 year old aspiring artist named David and his elder brother Matthew. The pair work on the family’s banana plantation. David is in love with the girl next door and Matthew looks poised to run the family business but one day a tragedy strikes and the decisions the characters make will have long-standing ramifications that shake their simple, rural lives.

    McLeod has done a fantastic job of creating very real and interesting characters and revealing many facets of their lives so we know exactly what makes them tick. She also expertly weaves together two very different stories set in opposing periods in time. In the end the reader is offered a very vibrant, detailed and lush tapestry of life, love, family and friendship and a story that is told with a nostalgic view of the past and present. This novel is one that will tug at your heartstrings as it is so emotional. It will also make people stop and cherish life and realise that the choices we make are often more complicated than they initially seem and that you really shouldn’t live your life filled with regrets.

  20. What a great read this book was! I got this book quite late and had just finished reading Daughter Of Australia which was that brilliant, I didnt think I was going to be able to ease into this one because of the comparison. I did ease into it and was surprised how I fell for it being a completely different story and setting with new characters all very different from one another. I soon clicked when Tilly was really Natalie and I found myself wanting for more and more information especially when Sid and her brother Jake went to Watercolour Cove (Dingy Bay) as it was previously called. It was a captivating read and I felt right there with the characters amongst the scenery.
    Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Jenn J McLeod as you took me on another journey in this book 🙂 Glad to see Jenn has written other books as I now have a growing wishlist 🙂 xo

    1. Forgot to say for those who also read Daughter Of Australia and then went to read this book, the pages were a lot thicker in this one and every time I turned pages I had to check if any were clinging together but they werent, did anyone else do the same? 🙂

  21. The Other Side of the Season by Jenn McLeod was a wonderful read that I struggled to put down.

    I found I could relate to the setting, based in Coffs Harbour as my fiancé was born there and used to help his parents on their banana plantation. This made it so much more enjoyable to read.

    I loved how this book was set in two different times and the switch between the two was very easy to follow. The characters were so well developed and so unique. Sidney was my favourite character and I admired her strength and determination. Her love of family showed everyone that truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and there’s another side to every story.

    There was a lot of twists and turns and parts where I could predict what was coming and others that completely took me by surprise. All in all, an expertly written novel focusing on contemporary issues regarding identity, family, love and truth, all interwoven throughout the story. Jenn’s gentle approach lets readers enjoy the narrative and mysteries absorbing the issues without the schoolmarmish lessons being given.

  22. This book really does have it all – romance, tragedy, family secrets and scandals galore. The Other Side of The Season is the second of Jenn J McLeod’s books I’ve had the pleasure to read. I love her real rural Australian settings and being familiar with the country around Coffs and the Blue Mountains made this book that much more familiar and I was rapidly completely immersed. I always love a book with two storylines and/or time zones twisting and turning until at last you see how they are intricately intertwined.

    All the characters are well formed and portrayed, although as others have said many are flawed and not all are completely likeable. But for me this makes the book all the more real and the way each tackled their challenges and tragedies differently made for interesting reading.

    I have to admit I can usually pick a plot twist on the horizon but one particular turn of events in the later part of this book really stunned me! It was really not what I was hoping/expecting would happen but then again life does not always turn out perfectly, which I think is a main theme of this storyline.

    So once again Jenn has created an enthralling story set in a wonderful Australian landscape expertly exploring themes of love, loss, family and survival. I would recommend The Other Side of the Season as a thought-provoking and enjoyable read.

    Many thanks to the Beauty and Lace Book Club as well as Simon and Schuster and of course Jenn J McLeod for the opportunity to read and review this great new novel. I will now be looking for the other two in the Season series to complete my set!

  23. I really enjoyed The Other Side of the Season! I have read all of Jenn’s books so far and this and House for All Seasons are my favourites.
    I was drawn into the characters lives and mysterious story that surrounded and linked them quite quickly and relieved that this did not go away as it sometimes can throughout a book.
    The time shifts are made clearly, and the reader has no problem in knowing what is going on or where they are at each point in the book.
    As noted under the title of the book “Everything has a reflection” and there are two sides to every story. A great lesson to learn.
    Can’t wait for Jenn’s next book and this is yet another I have been raving about to my family and friends!

  24. I loved the two siblings, Sidney and Jake, and their adventures to discover family that had been hidden from them. The Other Side of the Season touched on love, strength, betrayel and most importantly survival. Reading what Tilly, Jake and Sidney’s mum, went through, and did, to survive confused me at the beginning of the novel but by the end, when it all began to fall in place, I was in tears. A wonderfully written book that I was easily able to visualise and appreciate “Watercolour Cove” it’s beautiful setting. I am very interested in reading Jenn J McLeod’s other books after reading this.

  25. If I had to describe “The Other Side of The Season” briefly I’d say it’s easy reading. The language is modern Australian, the characters relatable & not too complex and the storyline intruguing. The jumping between time periods was easy to follow as the chapter titles are clearly marked.

    I enjoyed this book but did find some of the outcomes a little predictable. In saying that though, there was enough mystery & surprise to keep me engaged.

    I did feel like I was living vicariously through brother & sister Sid & Jake as they upped & set up as caretakers of a seaside gallery in the 2015 era. And the relationships between Tilly & David & also David & his brother Matthew at the plantation in 1979 kept me entertained & wanting to discover more.

    Jenn J McLeod’s The Other Side of the Season is a memorable read with enough mystery, intrigue, character attachment & twists to keep you guessing and wanting more.

  26. The Other Side of the Season is a beautifully written book by the very talented novelist Jenn J Mcleod.
    I loved this book from beginning to end and found myself visually entranced by the very descriptive writing.
    This is a journey between two worlds of 2015 and then back to 1979, I found the transitioning really easy and could follow what was happening with ease.
    I love the way the past always catches up with people and how it can mould them into who they are.
    I could not put this book down, even in between moving house.
    The story of Sid and Jake who are siblings going on their journey that turns out a bit differently to what they originally thought is just inspiring.
    The story of David and Natalie and his father and brother is also intriguing.
    I recommend anyone to give this book a read, as it evokes so many emotions.

  27. Thanks Heaps Beauty & Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
    I absolutely loved reading this book. Well done Jenn !
    I loved the twists this novel presented with, i constantly thought and tried to work out how the two stories were going to tie in.
    The story line was beautiful.
    Another successful and well written book by Jenn J Mcleod.
    Keep the novels coming

  28. Wow! Just wow! Beauty & Lace book club, you have blown me away with your beautiful words. I wish there was a way for me to let you know how much it really means and how important such feedback is to me. The Aussie publishing biz is crazy and crowded and authors need word of mouth. So for every review, every recommendation or every time you say, “Have your read this book comment…?” you are helping writers to keep writing. Thank you. I have lost more stories to tell yet. 🙂

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