BOOK CLUB: The Rules of Backyard Croquet

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Author: Sunni Overend
ISBN: 978-1-4607-5211-1
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Rules of Backyard Croquet is a new release with Harper Collins, but it was self-published by Overend back in 2013 as March.


The cover is eye catching and the title is quirky. This is a book that intrigues me because it does strike me as a little bit different.

Apple March was a fashion prodigy, and star pupil at a famed academy, but a scandal saw her disgraced and her career over before it began. Now she is in hiding working retail in a fashion boutique.

You can take the girl out of the academy but you can’t take the passion for fashion out of the girl. Her sister needs a wedding dress and Apple is happy to help, but fashion isn’t the only passion ignited and Apple finds herself embroiled in a time she wants forgotten.

Overend takes us from Melbourne to Paris and New York with lust, fame, fashion and the rich. A book that is sure to be filled with excitement and scandal. I look forward to finding the time to read it.

The Rules of Backyard Croquet is published by Harper Collins and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harper Collins 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Rules of Backyard Croquet so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

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15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Rules of Backyard Croquet

  1. The Rules of Backyard Croquet is not only about croquet game but about love and the fashion world.
    The book is a good read and you can find out what happens in the game of croquet and fashion all at once.

  2. The first thing to love about this book is the title which leads you to believe that you will learn something about the game of croquet but of course you dont and the title tells you nothing about the story. The old ‘Dont judge a book by its cover’ steps in…if you actually want to learn the rules of backyard Croquet then this is not the book for you. If however you want to get wrapped up in a wonderful story that will take you on a ride through the fashion industry with a little tangled romance thrown in with misunderstandings and some struggles…then 100% this is a book that you will enjoy.
    Apple March has amazing talent for fashion design and although its her dream to have her own label she didnt complete her fashion design course and instead of following her dream and becoming a designer she packed up her sewing machine and design skills and settled for working as a Manager of a clothing store. When her sister Poppy prods her from time to time about why she stopped and wont continue to design she is always met with stubborn resistance from Apple and zero answers. Poppy’s up coming wedding prompts Apple to design and make a wedding dress for her sister. Spending time working on this dress allows old passions to reignite and Apple is nudged back into the fashion world but that also means that events from her past that she hoped would remain buried will surface and need to be faced and dealt with.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it to be a great book to read during our extreme rainy weather here in Queensland.

  3. This story felt so real. It captured me and took me on an amazing journey. The fashion, the love stories, and the money. I was unsure of the how the title fitted the book at the beginning, but by the end, it was a great choice.Wow, would definitely recommend this book. Thanks, beauty and lace bookclub.

  4. I found “The Rules Of Backyard Croquet” by Sunni Overend delightful except for some of the language, which I could live without – however, I do know I’m old and I was born old fashioned!!!!
    The cover is incredibly clever – it isn’t apparent until some way through the book but it then fits in brilliantly. The characterisation is excellent and we get to know the characters very well with them having definite reason to act as they do with so much from their past to haunt and overtake the present at times. I loved the way the interaction between the characters was written, with sympathy, understanding, love and a feeling of reality, even though the attachment with some of the characters with other characters in the book came from a slightly unreal beginning.
    The way the fashion industry was woven through was particularly interesting. Descriptive detail of the beautiful clothing meant it was possible to form a real image of the garments and those wearing them. There are many stories woven into the one book and this is done incredibly well with the reader not ever “lost” but always able to connect one story with the others.
    I think Sunni Overend sums up her philosophy in the last line of her acknowledgements with “Anyone seeking magic, joy and the road less travelled : just go. You have nothing to lose.” The way the book flows is testament to this and her writing reflects that.
    A book that will have very wide appeal and entertainment value for many, I am very appreciative of the opportunity from Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins to be one of these readers. I look forward to reading Sunni’s first novel, “The Dangers of Truffle Hunting.”

  5. The “All’s fair in love and couture” quote and a quirky cover with a flamboyant Flamingo will intrigue would be readers of “The Rules of Backyard Croquet” by Sunni Overend. I loved reading in the acknowledgements that this was in fact Sunni’s first true manuscript but that it was her actual “second” novel behind “The Dangers of Truffle Hunting” as you could feel her love for this wonderful tale.

    Apple March was a fashion prodigy who has gone into hiding due to a time in her life she just wants to put behind her, but her love for fashion designing is still there under her skin. When her sister Poppy begs her to make her wedding dress her passion is reignited but will the scandal of her earlier choices come out to haunt her again.

    The novel is mainly set in Melbourne and the appeal for me is knowing these places it draws me into the story more. The surrounding characters were fantastic, I adored Jackson a tell it how is type of friend and work colleague and the dishy Charlie I loved him from the start.

    The book was a wonderful read, it kept me wanting more and I finished it in no time. I loved that it had a bit of everything – romance, family, fashion, scandal, rich people, drama and never giving up on your dreams.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins Books Australia for the chance to read this fantastic novel I highly recommend it.

  6. The Rules of Backyard Croquet is a book I selected based on the catchy title and divine cover design. I found it interesting to discover that this novel has received a second revival, thanks to this self published novel being picked up by publishing giant, Harper Collins Books Australia. The Rules of Backyard Croquet is an entertaining novel, offering an insight into the fashion and design industry.

    Earlier this year I was introduced to the work of Australian author Sunni Overend who penned the novel, The Dangers of Truffle Hunting. I enjoyed Overend’s previous release so I was keen to see how The Rules of Backyard Croquet would pan out. With such an attractive cover (much like its predecessor) I had a feeling I was going to be in for a read filled with style, romance and frivolity. I got this and a little more from Overend’s latest release.

    I would class The Rules of Backyard Croquet as an Aussie chick lit novel. With the majority of the book based in one of Australia’s most cosmopolitan cities, Melbourne, the familiar and local setting will be sure to drawn local readers in. This is a very fresh and contemporary novel that will easily appeal to a wide range of readers. The book is light, witty, highly readable and accessible. The dialogue is snappy and engaging. I found the book was undemanding and the plot flowed well, which matched my reading mood completely this week! I have the firm belief that anyone who selects this book to read will enjoy many moments of this overly fun and sassy read.

    I do like books the give the reader a little insight into the glamorous fashion world and Overend does this well within The Rules of Backyard Croquet. I took in the references to designer brands, couture, the world of exclusive boutiques and the behind the scenes look at a designer at work. Overend’s descriptions of the fashion world and her attention to detail in describing the many garments featured in the book is impressive. It made for an enlightening read. Overend’s book shows us how with fashion comes wealth and access. Overend marries up the fashion world with the lives of the powerful and rich in her novel. Through the storyline and the journey the characters in this novel take, we become a fly on the wall, receiving a glimpse into the lives of the elite. I found this quite fascinating.

    Overend’s characterisation skills are very good. Apple is a well composed lead and I loved her journey of self discovery, as well as the gentle revelation of her secret. Apple is a likeable heroine and we just can’t help but cheer her on. I enjoyed her interactions with her friends, family, colleagues and love interest. Overend does a fine job with her dialogue and interaction scenes in this novel. The supporting act in this book is finely drawn and very agreeable. Standouts include Apple’s loyal friend Jackson, who is a hoot. Charlie offers a spot of romance and Overend approaches this side of the novel with very well.

    The Rules of Backyard Croquet is a sophisticated tale that dives head first into the fashion world, presenting the reader with an energetic story about finding your place in the world. One for all readers, especially those with a weakness for fashion, or those who would love to step in the shoes of wealthy for a moment in time!

    *I wish to thank Beauty and Lace and the publisher, Harper Collins Books Australia, for providing a copy of the book for review purposes.

  7. The Rules of Backyard Croquet will grab you by the cover alone. It’s bright and unique and a flamingo on the front is very eye catching.

    When you read the blurb on the back you will soon discover that really this book has nothing much to do with croquet but rather it’s a book about clothes and fashion.
    Apple March works as the manager in a fashion store where customers love her ability to choose what they should where.
    Apple is single and lives with her sister in Melbourne.

    Apple’s journey to where she is today is told slowly throughout the story done in a way that feels like each bit you learn you are peeling back a layer of Apple.
    Apple is a character who has strength but she grows more along the way. She’s able to realise her dreams, overcome her fears and let go and move on from her past.

    This book will draw you in from the very first page and keep you spell bound the whole book.

    Through her wonderful and carefully descriptions of each fabric and colour you could almost see and feel each item.

    Sunni Overland takes you on a tale of fashion as well as a tale of hope and dreams.

    The Rules of Backyard Croquet is a work of fiction, fantasy, fabric and fashion and it is absolutely fantastic.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for giving me this book to read,

    Sunni Overland thank you for creating a wonderful story I can’t wait to read more.

  8. The Rules of Backyard Croquet is a catchy title. I couldn’t imagine what it would be about. As it turns out, it’s not really about croquet at all, but about fashion, people and relationships.

    I could relate to Apple in the fact that you can push your passions aside, but if they are true passions, they can’t be suppressed.

    This book was an interesting read. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read it.

  9. The Rules of Backyard Croquet caught my attention the moment i saw the front cover.

    The book takes you on the journey of Apple March fashion designer and retail worker. It takes you into her life current and past and what had molded her to become the person she has become. The book had me enthralled from the start and I just couldn’t put it down. The twists and turns had me continually turning the page until the early hours of the morning.

    Only disappointing part was the ending as i feel they could have elaborated a little bit more on the ending and possibly cut out a bit of the book which i felt was unnecessary to the story line.

    Over all an amazing book about fashion and the rules of the fashion industry. Recommending this to everyone who will listen.

  10. The Rules of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend was a book I could not put down.
    Apple March attended a Fashion Academy.
    She was kicked out for plagerism, accused by the daughter of the owner of the Academy of stealing her designs.
    She did not.
    Apple also had an affair with a married man.
    The husband of the Editor of Harpers Bazar, a well know fashion magazine.
    She did not know he was married.
    Now she is hiding herself away working in a clothes store.
    Then her sister Poppy announces her engagement and wants Apple to create her wedding dress.
    Her two worlds, the past and the present are set to collide.
    Can she put the past behind her and follow her re-emerging passion for design?
    Apple finds herself in the unbelievable world of riches, of parties, croquet matches, campari and high end fashion.
    She strives to belong and live her dreams.
    A wonderful book with an insight into the fashion world of Australia, Paris and New York.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Harper Collins Australia for the opportunity to read this great book.

  11. Thanks Beauty & Lace & Harper Collins for this chance to read such an interesting book

    A story of passion for a talent that cannot be surpressed even though Apple tried until the love for her sister Poppy overruled her fear to try again Great names by the way!
    A story about the fashion industry which at times could be fickle but the rewards could be plentiful

    A good entertaining read but as one reviewer said is it necessary for the expletives I couldn’t really see the point of them Maybe I am old fashioned too!

    Still I liked the book & would recommend & don’t be put off by the Title

  12. Apple March is 27 years old and is currently a manager at clothing boutique Loom, in Melbourne.
    Following an incident years prior during her fashion designing course at a prestigious academy that left Apple disgraced, she dropped out and took the position at Loom and has been hiding away there ever since.
    When her sister Poppy gets engaged, she wants Apple to make her wedding dress, but Apple isn’t sure if she can handle delving back into fashion designing after avoiding it for so lone.
    After much deliberation and soul-searching, she agrees to make the dress, and goes along with Poppy to a bridal show for Poppy’s work.
    Whilst there, she spots Charlie Beauchamp, a gentleman she once had a chance run in with, and the two become friends.
    He also introduces her to his friend, Noah, who takes an instant liking to Apple. Charlie has a fiancee but continues to support Apple as she endeavours ot re-emerge into the world of fashion. Noah also proceeds to build a relationship with Apple. But as she is faced with many challenges, which of these two men will be there for her through the highs and lows of not just the fashion worls, but Apple’s personal world too?

    There are quite a few well developed characters in this story. Apple’s mum Ginny is a sweetheart and only wants the best for her two daughters. Poppy has a strong bond with Apple, and their support for one another throughout the story was endearing.
    I adored the element of fashion throughout, reading about different textiles, styles, and also about the textile mill in Ho Chi Minh city that Apple visits with a co-worker.
    Apple’s friend from Loom, Ella Jackson is a character who is equal parts sass and smarts, and despite her potty mouth, she was one of my favourite characters.
    I breezed through this book in a matter of days. It is a heart-warming tale that I would happily recommend. Bonus points for the stunning cover!!!

  13. I love the cover of this book. The Rules of Backyard Croquet is an interesting delve into the Fashion Industry through the main character Apple March. Apple is a young fashion designer that has had her passion crushed through bad circumstances whilst studying at a famous fashion academy. She is now hiding away and working in a fashion boutique in Melbourne. Her sister Poppy is getting married and wants Apple to design her wedding dress. Eventually she convinces Apple to overcome her fear and design the dress. It’s a great story that shows that if something is your dream and passion then you can overcome the fear and make great things happen. I enjoyed reading this book despite the fact it has nothing to do with Croquet. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for this good read.

  14. The Rules of Backyard Croquet is Sunni Overend’s second novel. It’s the first book I have read by her and I found myself really enjoying the time I spent with the protagonist, fashionista Poppy March. Even though I’m not passionate about fashion, I was interested in reading about a world that is different to mine. It seems so glamorous to outsiders, especially the travel, yet Sunni showed the hard work and dedication behind the craft while remaining positive. Poppy herself was a lovely girl, someone I could possibly befriend with her quiet nature. A lot of that was due to her past, which really had me intrigued. I could guess part of Poppy’s history but the second part was a total shock. Sunni did a great job of showing how the past really does define who we are. I was also reminded though that often other people have moved on even though we ourselves may not have. Communication is so important but it’s often easier to run away rather then face the music. After relaxing with The Rules of Backyard Croquet I’m looking forward to reading Sunni’s first book, The Dangers of Truffle Hunting!

  15. What a gorgeous book! I really didn’t know what to expect with the title and even the blurb had me wondering if I would actually enjoy it but I was curious enough to request it and am so glad I was chosen to read it as I really enjoyed it! Apple’s character is so lovely, I could relate to her way of thinking so much it made for extremely easy reading. I loved discovering what the scandal was about why she never finished her design course and reading about her days in the shop ‘Loom’. Some of the customers sounded very familiar to people I have served ha! Her passion for design and couture was catching and I wanted her to succeed so much! Loved her sidekick and friend Jackson and the boys who came into her life were all so dreamy, they were fabulous characters. I read this extremely quickly as I found it really fun and just a terrific read so a huge credit to the author Sunni Overend. Thank you so much Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this book. I loved it!

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