Book Club: Where The Murray River Runs

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Author: Darry Fraser
ISBN: 9781489248862
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harlequin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The silly season came and slapped me in the face, I am so far behind on EVERYTHING that there is just no way I am going to be able to get through all the December books in time to get readers feedback links. I am 2 days out from my holiday with no packing and no cleaning but now wrapping completed.


So, I have decided the best way to tackle the holiday season book club reads is to get a post up for readers to leave their feedback on and I will read and review separately. It helps ease the pressure on me and that is what I am in dire need of right now.

Darry Fraser is an Australian author who is new to me, but I look forward to changing that. A quick look at the Goodreads page for Where The Murray River Runs shows that so far the book has been pretty well received.

A couple of years ago, if you had asked, I would have told you that historical fiction isn’t really my thing. Ask me now and the answer is a little different, but it’s an answer I need to stop and think about.Historical fiction is still not a go-to for me but I have read some great historical novels over the last couple of years and I do find it quite fascinating to learn a little more history, especially if it’s about places that I know.

Where The Murray River Runs begins in Bendigo in 1890 with lovers Ard and Linley, a pair who have known one another always and could be together if Linley hadn’t just discovered the child Ard fathered to someone else.

In a cruel twist of fate Linley finds herself guardian to Ard’s baby and having to protect the child from a greedy violent man.

Ard has set out to carve a new path for himself since his hopes for a future with Linley are dashed but learning she is in danger sends him dashing to her aid.

This is an historical tale of greed, honour and love set along the banks of the Murray.

I am really looking forward to reading this one, and sharing my views in a separate review. I am also looking forward to hearing what our readers think.

You can follow Darry Fraser on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading and reviewing Where The Murray River Runs so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

Where The Murray River Runs is available now through Harlequin, Booktopia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld and where all good books are sold.

18 thoughts on “Book Club: Where The Murray River Runs

  1. I am ever so grateful to be the recipient of Darry Fraser’s ‘Where the Murray River Runs’, thanks to Harlequin Publishers and Beauty and Lace.

    What an epic tale, a fabulous gripping story, one that I didn’t want to put down. I was disappointed when the book ended. I wanted it to go on forever.

    Darry Fraser presents a wonderful tale of 1890s life in country Australia. Her characters are full of flaws, spirit, love and spunk. She presents not one main character in young Linley Seymour but presents us with many strongly formed characters.

    Linley has been raised by her capable Aunt Cee Cee from a very early age after her mother, Eliza was killed by the vicious hands of her husband. Cee Cee, along with her long time love, James Anderson have developed safe housing and a way of escape for those battered women in society. Linley is presented with a difficult situation, being made guardian of a newborn baby, fathered by her flame, Ard O’Rourke. And so the anguish and complications begin.

    I won’t divulge the details, you will need to read the book and I assure you will be riveted just as I was.

    A beautiful representation of people struggling to get ahead, make lives for themselves and form strong family bonds. I am keen to look out for other books written by this author.

  2. Turned a few pages and I was addicted to this book as it was a fantastic read.
    Loved the storyline, descriptions and characters except the bad smelly one! Darryl Fraser must be very knowledgeable as it showed in this book.
    Gosh, I could not imagine how draining and challenging the hardships they faced back then as it was not a free place for women to be who they really were without gossip and restrictions.
    I loved this book so much I’d love to read her other books and to know the Murray River makes it a step back in history, a learning curve and a lot of familiarality, having been to Renmark, Bendigo and also parts of the Murray River. I wasn’t so familiar with Echuca but I felt like I was right there along with the characters in this book.
    Harlequin take on some very talented authors and I haven’t read a book yet that I haven’t liked from them.
    Thanks B & L for introducing me to another great book and I will pass this on to my friends xo

  3. Thankyou Beautyandlace and harlyquinbooks for the opportunity to read and enjoy
    “Where the Murray River Runs” by Darry Fraser. I was very excited to get confirmation for this book as I so enjoy Australian historical fiction.
    This book takes you right into the 1980s and it is so easy to picture every scene that is described.
    CeeCee is a committed suffragette and after the death of her sister CeeCee and her partner James are determined to fight for the cause of battered and homeless women and children and at the same time they take on the care and wellbeing of CeeCee s niece Linley.
    Linley has grown up with Ard O’Rourke and as they have grown into adulthood their childhood friendship turns to a yearning to be together. Ard feeling that he has nothing to offer Linley leaves Bendigo to try and make a life for them during the coming depression but during a very drunken night fathers a child by another girl Mary..
    Mary marries another man and endures just the treatment CeeCee and James are trying to stop and when she dies in childbirth her child is thrust onto Linley. The story of the love between Ard and Linley and the trials of Cee Cee and James and the dangers and moves they have to take make this book a 5 ⭐️Read

  4. This is the first book by Darry Fraser that I have read and I really enjoyed it. Set in 1890 it is a fine example of Australian historical fiction. Covering several facets- poverty, suffragettes, domestic violence, orphans, lost love & romance, with locations in Victoria’s goldfields and Echuca. Linley lives with her aunt who has looked after her since she was a baby, and also provides safe houses for women who are victims of violence – much to the dispproval of others, who think she is in a disreputable sort of business. Linley has always loved Ard O’Rourke, but discovers he has fathered a child who is now in her care as its mother has passed away. Will Linley ever forgive him for his indiscretion or will they never be together. Meanwhile a dark and dangerous figure is stalking Linley and intends to take what he believes is his – her life is in danger from this man!

    This book is a sweeping saga and I could almost picture the locations depicted as I recently went to Echuca. Highly recommended for lovers of Australian historical fiction. Thank you to Harlequin Mira and Beauty and Lace for a copy of this book for review.

  5. I admit that any kind of historical fiction doesn’t quite appeal to me but after reading this Australian book, I can now say I have a different perspective on historical novels. During the pages I read about an amount of 200 pounds and although I was quite young in those days, I have no idea on what price it is. Thankfully hubby could help me out there.

    Firstly, the cover is just beautifully haunting. I was able to carry the photo of the girl throughout whilst I read for the main character.

    Linley whose mother was killed by her abusive husband was then bought up by her Aunt Cee Cee. This aunt is amazing and such a strong, likeable character that will remain with you for quite a while. Linley also has a man called Ard that she has loved since she was young but not all works out in that relationship.

    Cee Cee and Linley open their home to women who have been in abusive relationships and help them to recover. Cee Cee also has a partner called James and he is so warm hearted and loves her so much.

    I enjoyed reading this book as it revolves around Bendigo in the 1890s and the Murray River is also mentioned. Having been there, it was easy to imagine the scenery and life back then.

    There are numerous other characters that are all engaging in their own way but there is also a nasty character who creates havoc for some of the characters. I found my heart pumping quite heavily in any scenes with him in it.

    The story revolves mostly around Cee Cee, James, Linley and Ard. Linley always envisioned that she and Ard would marry and have their own family one day. Unfortunately Ard has a child and this torments Linley in rejecting Ard.

    Upon reading the back of the book we know that a character called Mary has Ard’s child but she marries someone else to protect Ard because she knows he loves Linley. Mary does die and leaves her child to Linley.

    For Linley being an unmarried girl taking up another woman’s orphan baby and bringing it up as her own was a hard chore back in those days, especially when there was no man to help you out. You were looked down on for attempting such a chore.

    I found myself wanting to just keep reading this book to find out what happened at the end. I couldn’t put the book down. It really was a page turner.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace, Harlequin for sending me this book to read. Thank you also to Darry Fraser for opening up my eyes on Australian historical fiction. I see it all in a completely new light now.

    I loved how after Darry’s acknowledgements she has written Chapter one of her next book called Daughter of the Murray. I’ve never seen that before in a novel so found that very intriguing and very clever.

  6. Wow what a great read! This is my first book by Darry Fraser and I loved it!
    I have only recently started reading Australian Historical Fictions and I must say we have produced some brilliant authors with Darry Fraser right there alongside them!
    I love the descriptive way Darry writes, she effortlessly transports you right back to the 1800s on the Murray River alongside the characters.
    The storyline was enjoyable and not so different to struggles in today’s society.
    This is a book that leaves you wanting more, you don’t want it to end and you don’t want to put it down! In fact I have already started her book Daughter of the Murray and am enjoying that just as much!
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the chance to read and discover another great Australian author.

  7. Where The Murray River Runs. By Darry Fraser

    This story is set in the mid 1890’s, and is a tale of life along the Murray River, from Renmark South Australia to Echuca in Victoria.
    It begins in Bendigo, where single girl Linley Seymour suddenly finds herself the guardian of a baby who’s mother dies shortly after its birth. The mother tells Linley that her violent husband is not the baby’s father, but when she says who it is, Linley is shocked to hear it is her own childhood friend and sweetheart, Ard O’Rourke.
    Linley has been brought up by her Aunt Cee Cee, and helps her with the running of a women’s refuge where battered women and their children are taken in and protected from violent husbands.
    Ard and his parents are establishing an orchard in Renmark, but issues with water rights are making farming difficult. He knows nothing of the baby until he receives two letters – one from the mother saying she has married but her husband knows that the baby she was carrying is not his own, and another angry letter from Linley advising that the mother has died. Ard hurries to Bendigo to try to make things right with Linley, assuming that the baby also died.
    When he arrives he finds the baby still alive, and in the care of Linley – the woman he left while he went off to earn enough money to be able to ask her to marry him. But Linley is mad at him, as he has broken her heart by being with another woman.
    Ard realises that the baby, Linley and her Aunt are in danger. Irate husbands do not appreciate their wives being offered shelter, they should be home where they belong. Violence is a way of life for these women.
    Linley and the baby and Aunt Cee Cee are forced to flee to Echuca.
    Can Ard protect the people he loves from these dangers?

    This is an easy to read but hard to put down book. The Echuca riverside setting and 1850’s history of River Boats is an enjoyable historical touch.

    Thanks to Beauty & Lace book club, and Harlequin Books for the chance to read this book. I will be looking out for Darry Fraser’s first book, Daughter of The Murray to read next, although I think it goes before Where The Murray River Runs.

  8. The Murray river

    Linley Seymour lives with, and has been raised by, her Aunt Ceecee a suffragette; who, with the help of her partner and lover James Anderson assists women in trouble whether it be through a violent relationship, unmarried and pregnant with a child or the loss of husband and no means to support themselves . It is a personal mission for Ceecee brought about by her inability to help her sister, Linley’s mother, who was married to a violent man.

    Linley has been in love with Ard O’Rouke since they were children but Ard feels he needs to prove himself before he can ask Linley to marry him. This is a complicated love story and there is no easy path for these two.

    Times are tough in Australia in the 1880’s . Depression is looming and there is little work available. Ard’s family are running an orchard but there is no irrigation scheme yet on the Murray so life is dependent on the weather.

    Linley becomes guardian to a baby boy Toby whose mother Mary Bonner dies in childbirth following a horrific marriage to a violent sadistic man, Gareth Wilkin.
    Mary’s husband, who is not the father of the child, has married her to save her reputation on the promise of an inheritance from Mary’s Aunty .
    This is where the story really becomes intense. Gareth is intent on claiming the baby so he can inherit the money he believes he is entitled to as Mary’s husband. The lives of all those close to the baby are in jeopardy.

    I loved the descriptive passages of life on the Murray and the hardships and difficulties of living a life on the land during this period.

    There is triumph, tragedy and sorrow in this book but there is also a great story of how life was for women living in a period of Australian history where they had no rights.
    I really enjoyed the history lesson on the fight for a woman’s right to vote and own her own property in a marriage. Life really was tough for women as they were basically owned by their husband – forbidden to work once married and everything they owned became their husbands.

    A great summer beach read and highly recommended. It is not my usual choice of genre but I really enjoyed it.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review.

  9. I loved this book!
    As soon as I started reading, I was enthralled with the historial elements and the painstaking detail behind that history, however the story itself was fantastic and had me riding the highs and lows and not being able to put the book down because I had to know what was happening next!
    A very enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more from this author.

  10. I enjoyed Where the Murray River Runs by Darry Fraser. Set in the 1890’s, it is a story about Linley Seymour who was raised by her aunt after the death of her mother from domestic violence. Linley becomes the guardian of a child after a friend dies, also due to domestic violence. As the story continues, Linley discovers the father of the child was her childhood friend and sweetheart. The author covers the legal situation of women in those times in regard to property etc,, and how women were gradually fighting to create change.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this story.

  11. Where the Murray River Runs! I started this book on the way for a holiday and didnt quite get to finish it. But on my return i picked up where i left off quite easily!

    Firstly I loved the cover, living near the Murray its an accurate image! I was sceptical about this book to begin with, i thought it wouldnt live up to an Australian Histroical novel but I did enjoy it. The idea of a refuge home like that in the 1890s was a novel idea to me and kept the book together.

    I enjoyed the characters especially the villian, he was very descriptive and imaginable to me. I cant quite put my finger on it but there was something missing throughout, something grittier or perhaps thats my perception and expectation of the book.

    On the whole I enjoyed it a good weekend novel!

  12. Thank you Beauty and Lace book club and Harlequin books for the opportunity to read and review Where the Murray River Runs by Darry Fraser.

    Australian historical romance is a genre that I have only become aware of in the last 2 years, through Beauty and Lace book club, and their introducing me to a number of wonderful Australian women authors. Darry Fraser now joins the group of new authors that I have been exposed to and thoroughly enjoy.

    The book is set in the 1890’s in Bendigo and Echuca with the main characters being Linley Seymour, and her perfect soulmate Ard O’Rouke. Linley and Ard have known each other since childhood and Linley has always assumed and hoped they would end up together. Ard wants to be with Linley too, but not until he has made something of himself and can support a wife, and so he makes the decision to go to Renmark to where his parents live to try to make some money.

    Linley is shattered by his decision, and even more shattered when a local girl Mary dies, leaving her guardian to her new born babe, fathered by Ard O’Rouke.

    Linley is furious with Ard, although she is not sure if he knows about the babe. However, she is determined to honour her commitment to Mary to protect the baby, particularly from Gareth Wilkin, the man who married Mary despite her being pregnant in order to get his hands on her inheritance.

    Gareth has assumed that, as her husband, Mary’s property automatically became his property, but times are a changing, the suffragette movement is gaining ground, women in Adelaide have been given the right to vote, and property laws have changed. Prior to her death Mary made a will, giving guardianship of the babe to come to Linley and leaving her money in trust for the baby’s support.

    Gareth is furious, and as a man given to violence, prepared to take any steps to regain the child and and the inheritance that in his twisted mind he sees as his.

    Meanwhile Linley becomes involved in the work of her aunt CeeCee and her aunt’s partner James Anderson, providing support to women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and helping them to restart their lives. While at the same time dealing with her emotions about raising Ard’s child to another woman.

    With Linley and the baby in danger, Ard races to protect them, and as all the characters congregate in the river town of Echuca, the book races towards its violent and murderous climax.

    Although it took me a little while to get into the book (surprisingly one of the difficulties I had was that with my poor eyesight I kept reading Ard as And which I found very confusing!), once I did I was enthralled and couldn’t put it down.

    Fraser develops her characters well, I don’t think anyone could read this book and come aware with a shred of compassion for Gareth Wilkins, one of the most loathsome characters I have come across in a book. She also deals well with the changing mores of late Victorian society in Australia and the changing place of women.

    This is the first book of this genre that I have read that has tackled the subject of domestic violence in the period so openly and the difficulties that women faced at a time when the courts were most likely to return battered women and children to the men who perpetrated the injuries.

    I loved the fact that in amongst the reality of the violence, there were moments of almost comedy (the cauliflower in the pram being a highlight).

    I would highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more of Darry Fraser’s work.

  13. I love reading Historical Fiction, especially Australian. Darry Fraser has written a wonderful book, “Where the Murray River Runs”
    The book is set in Bendigo and Echuca, an area I spend many holidays in the 1950s. This made it very real to me.
    The story in centred on Linley Seymour and her relationship with Ard O’Rourke. It explores the social mores’ of the times, 1890″s, the depression and lives of working class people. Darry did an excellent job of portraying the laconic Australian bushman, a man of few words, slow to make decisions and then steadfast in executing them.
    The book is much more than an Historical novel. The suffragette movement is close to Linley and her Aunt’s hearts and they are active in supporting the movement. Lack of rights for women and the problem of being a man’s chattel are explored.
    The authors detailed knowledge of social history made this book more enjoyable. It was a time of few possessions. I think this was shown in how treasured Ard’s mothers kitchen table was.
    How James and CeeCee funded their work, was somewhat a mystery. I would have liked more details on this. I also wanted to know if CeeCee recovered. Perhaps there will be a sequel. I would reccoment this book to everyone

  14. I’m a fan of novels whose characters are strong women who don’t fit the mould. In “Where the Murray River Runs” Darry Fraser gives us two such women: Linley who is the main character, a young single woman bringing up a man she loves’ child and CeeCee her aunt, a woman who does much to help women who have been the victims of domestic violence
    This is a novel set in country Victoria in the late 1800’s: a very different time to the present
    A story of the love between a man and a woman and a woman and a child. It is slow to start with, but the pace quickens until the ending. You won’t want to put this one down
    Thanks to Harlequin and Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to review this book

  15. I was drawn to the story on the Murray, being such an important part of Australia although I do not know Bendigo at all. The heartstrings are certainly pulled on this tale. It took me a while to feel for the characters, historical dramas being a bit of a different read for me, but that is why it is great in a book club to see something new that takes your fancy as I really enjoyed this different book. Very much on the building of the respective characters you do understand and appreciate the difficult time and the difficult circumstances in the late 1800s and what that would mean. The drama captures you and it is made real by the clever use of descriptive language so you can almost smell the bad smells and the blood and feel the heat… 4 Stars.

  16. I found Where the Murray River Runs quite difficult to get into and it was slow going until that happened. Once I got into the story, I was wanting to put the book down until I got to the end. The story was well written, and alternated perspectives between many of the featured characters.

    This book was set in the 1890s. The way of life described in the book is so very different to what we will ever experience in our lifetimes. The main character Linley has been brought up by her Aunt Cee Cee and James, and together they do dangerous, frowned upon work taking women and young children into refuges. Their work must remain in secret as much as possible, but often men come after them, and during the book danger chases them closely.

    Ard is Linley’s true love, but she believes he betrayed her and to make it complicated she is the guardian of his son born out of wedlock. This makes for an interesting story line as Ard attempts to redeem himself to Linley, also his true love.

    Without giving away too much I will say the ending is mostly happy, yet a little bit sad as well. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it particularly if you enjoy books from older eras.

  17. Ard O’Rourke and Linley Seymour were meant to be together. Or so Linley thought, until she found out he fathered a child with another woman.

    Linley and her aunt CeeCee run a women’s refuge, where they take in battered women and their children. But Linley unexpectedly finds herself the guardian of a child – Ard’s child, whose mother died in childbirth.

    However, Linley, CeeCee and the child are not safe – a man, hellbent on taking “his” child back leaves a trail of destruction as he searches for the women. So Ard sets out to right his wrongs, and keep them all safe.

    Holy moly, this book was amazing! It took a bit for me to get into it, but once I did, I could barely put it down. It is a very true representation of Victoria in the 1890s, and as I read, I could truly see what the setting looked like, even what the characters looked like! I felt like I had been transported into the 1890s.

    All of the characters are extremely well written. I don’t have a sense of smell, and never have, yet I found myself able to smell what Gareth Wilkin smelled like. It was not pleasant! But the descriptive detail of each character allowed me to see, and smell, exactly what they were like. It really allowed me to build a connection with each of the characters.

    Usually, when a book doesn’t have what I call a complete ending, I get a bit frustrated. But this book finished exactly where it should have. Even though I was hanging out for a bit more (Did an unwell character fully recover? Are any new children brought into the world?), the ending still felt perfectly right. I love that we are left with a bit of wonder about what happened next.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of Darry’s books!

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