BOOK CLUB: Wildflower Ridge

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Author: Maya Linnell
ISBN: 9781760529802
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: June 2019
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

To say it was a great read is quite frankly an understatement! For a debut novelist I was so impressed with her style of writing and felt totally invested in the characters within.


The novel tells the story of Penny who left her family farm and became a top marketing executive living the high life with a great well paid job, city apartment living and a handsome boyfriend. When a mosquito bite leads to a diagnosis of Ross River Fever and leaves her collapsed on the floor during a meeting, she is advised to take time away from her life and recover. She returns to her family farm in the Victorian country where her father still runs the property and her 3 sisters live nearby. What she doesn’t expect to find is her ex-boyfriend who she left high and dry many years before, and he works on the property! I loved Tim’s character and also how much he cared for his brother who had a disability.

When a tragic accident occurs Penny must decide whether to return to her old life and the stresses within or stay and take over running the property. And should she keep her long term boyfriend when she still harbors feelings for her old one.

The author went to great lengths to set up the story in this book and I can see that it will become a series with the other three sisters having their own stories to tell in the future. This was an excellent rural story that had a lot of different elements to it, a bit of romance, some domestic violence, unfaithfulness, small town gossip and much more. The descriptions of life on a working sheep property were enjoyable as well as informative with the ups and downs that farmers go through.

I am looking forward to see what Maya has to bring to her next novel. I’m so pleased that another quality Australian author has arrived!

This guest review was submitted by Janine, one of our Beauty and Lace Club members. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Janine.

Wildflower Ridge is available now through Allen & Unwin and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Wildfire Ridge so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.


14 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Wildflower Ridge

  1. This first novel from Maya Linnell was exactly what I thought it would be, plus so much more! A rural romance with real feeling and strong characters, and a few twists along the way.

    The story starts with Penny, a highly dedicated marketing professional in Melbourne, who suddenly falls ill. Her loving and also professional boyfriend packs her off home to the family property in rural Victoria to recuperate and be cared for by her family. Naturally, Penny is not impressed and she wants her old life back. Dealing with the various family members and her ex, Tim Patterson, Penny’s high-school boyfriend who now works for Penny’s father on the family farm are complications she didn’t need.

    Whilst this is not an unusual theme for rural romance novels, Maya Linnell’s writing creates a thoroughly enjoyable story, and the relationships Penny has with her father and her three sisters, are all engaging stories of their own, and not just a distraction along the way of the romance.

    This is a great first novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the developing relationships, the drama and the laughs and the various characters in the novel. There is so much more to read in this book and I am looking forward to Maya Linnell’s next book!

  2. This debut novel by Maya Linnell is an Aussie book with a decent amount of colloquialisms interspersed throughout which we’re great to read, the characters were well written and their struggles were written with empathy. The descriptions of the land and farming were full of detail and it felt as though you were there. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t ‘grab’ me and I really don’t know why, it just felt like it was missing something.
    Thanks Allen & Unwin and Beauty & Lace for the chance to read this book.

  3. A big thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Allen and Unwin I was lucky enough to read the novel “Wildflower Ridge” from debut author Maya Linnell.

    This story revolves around Penny who lives in the city away from her family, she unfortunately became quite ill and need to take the time to properly recover. She ended up at the family farm in rural Australia to do so. To make things awkward, her ex-boyfriend now works there. On top of that Penny needs to make some tough decisions, some alone and some with her family when a tragedy occurs.

    You would never guess that Maya is a new author, the story is well written and I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoyed it. I am very much looking forward to Maya’s next books.

  4. Wildflower Ridge is the debut novel of Maya Linell, a country journalist who has lived in rural communities all her life.

    The novel centres around the McIntyre family -four Sisters Penny, Lara, Diana and Angie, their Dad Angus and the family farm McIntyre Park Merino Stud based in the Grampians region of Victoria. This first novel opens with Penny in hospital after collapsing at work with a mystery illness, a driven career woman who has left her farm days behind and has never looked back. When she is advised she needs three months of bed rest to recover, her career driven partner Vince takes the opportunity to work away in Sydney. He organises to let out their apartment in his absence and contacts Penny’s family to come and get her to care for her back at the farm. Unable to work in her dream job or stay with her partner in their elegant apartment in Melbourne she has no choice but to trade the bright lights for the country and return home with them.

    The family dynamic was realistic and made for easy reading, a city girl trying to find her place back at home with her siblings, Dad and ex-boyfriend Tim who is now a farm hand working at the farm. The McIntyre family were easy to relate to, like all families there was tension and arguments between the sisters but you felt the love and bond that existed between them all. The characters that supported them were endearing and gave us a glimpse into life in a country town, where everyone knows everyone and nothing is private. I loved sassy Nanna Pearl, Tim’s Grandmother she made me smile many times. Throughout the novel we are introduced to all the sisters and I was glad to hear each of the girls will have their own story, I do love this concept as I feel you get invested in the characters and want to know more about them.

    When Penny is due to return home, an accident involving her father on the farm makes her reassess her priorities and how strong the pull to the farm is for her, can she just walk away when they need her the most?

    Penny’s relationship with Tim is within the story but I would not say it is all about romance, it is about mending bridges and Penny finding out what is important in a relationship and knowing her worth.
    The writing is flawless and so engaging and will be popular with fans of Rural Fiction. The location itself becomes a character, and Maya describes it so you feel like you are there looking out over the farm and taking that trip to Wildflower Ridge with Penny. I highly recommend this book and have loved sharing and telling anyone I know how great it is. Heartfelt, engaging, real and contemporary are the words I would use to describe Wildflower Ridge a fantastic novel that leaves readers wanting more.

    Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the copy of this book to read and review for Beauty and Lace and for Maya for writing this beautiful novel.

  5. Book 33- Wildflower Ridge by Maya Linnell

    A moving tale of endings, new beginnings and love. A page turner.’ – Fleur McDonald, author of the bestselling Where the River Runs

    Four sisters, one farm and a second chance at following your heart.

    Penny McIntyre loves her life as an ambitious city professional, with a marketing team at her fingertips and a promotion just within reach. So when she’s floored by a mystery illness, and ordered back to the family farm for three months’ rest and recuperation, she is horrified to find her perfect life imploding.

    Within days, Penny has to leave her much-loved job, her live-in boyfriend, and her beloved city apartment … to return to the small country town in which she grew up. Back to her dad and three sisters, one of whom has never forgiven her for abandoning her family. And to her ex-boyfriend, Tim Patterson, who was the biggest reason she ran away in the first place.

    When Penny’s father is injured in a farming accident and Tim campaigns to buy the property, she must choose between the city life she loves and the farming dream she buried long ago.

    As a debut novel I was interested to see if this book would stack up in comparison to some of my fave rural fiction authors like Rachael Treasure, Fleur McDonald, Mandy Magro etc and I was not disappointed.
    Maya wrote this book just like any of those ladies, well written, easy reading and just genuinely nice feels. The story was easy to follow, the characters likeable and the book a great read. It was hard to believe after reading it that it was Maya’s first book as the writing just flowed so well.
    If you are a fan of rural fiction definitely give this one a go. It’s a nice easy enjoyable read for all ages.

    1. Oops sorry about the book 33 part- I write down all the numbers of books I’ve read when I do my reviews and accidentally copied that across also, whoops!

  6. Thank you for the opportunity to read Wildflower Ridge by Maya Linnell.

    This is the story of Penny, who, after becoming quite ill with a mystery illness, has to move home temporarily. Her Dad is a farmer who lives on his own with his other three daughters living nearby.

    I loved the description of the farm as I could picture it all so well. Penny’s sisters were written well also, making way for more to their stories and further books which I will happily read. Their interactions showed the importance of communication and being there for each other at all times. This is showed in a dramatic way further into the book which provided a change to the underlying potential romance between Penny and her old boyfriend Tim. He was part of the reason she originally left town, and she has a new city boyfriend. With her move back home relationships change, evolve, stutter and decisions must be made.

    Another big incident is her father’s accident. This means staying at home longer, relations are frayed and Penny’s job in the city is under doubt. I love the way Tim is portrayed with his disabled, capable, loving brother as his constant mate. I love Penny’s decision making processes and the way we get involved in everyone’s lives. Bring on the next book.

  7. I didn’t realise how much the author’s name rang a bell, I am sure she used to go to Tantanoola primary school and may have been friends with my very younger stepsister and I remember her beautiful mum, what a small world!!!
    Knowing this, I am astounded (but not surprised) and wowed at how Maya has written such a beautiful book and how she has described the setting and characters so well, she is so talented! I loved every word from start to finish and found it an easily flowing book throughout.
    If this is her first book, I can’t wait for her next, just fabulous especially when I can still picture the author as a little girl who has achieved so much, well done!
    Thankyou so much xo

  8. Wow what a great debut book for author Maya Linnell. I love rural romance stories but this one was more than that, in fact the romance part didn’t feature til very late . All the twists and turns along the way made you unable to put the book down.
    Loved getting to know the characters and can’t wait to get to know the sisters better in upcoming novels.
    Once again loved that ‘family and relationships are worth more than money,pride or image ‘ and that country living was triumphant in the end over professional city living.
    So well written Maya Linnell

  9. I would give Maya Linnell’s Wildflower Ridge 7/10. I really enjoyed it and I think she has done a remarkable job as a debut novelist. It will be interesting to see her future books…

    Nice to read an Australian story that probably all of us could relate to some parts or family members.

    Thanks Maya for a nice Sunday arvo read.

  10. First of all thank you to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read and review the debut novel by Maya Linnell Wildflower Ridge.

    From the moment I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down. The storyline was intriguing and roped me in to find out more and more.

    I love the rural settings of books and very much enjoyed the twists and turns along the way for this book. Not a lot of romance but a good lead up to it. I look forward to more books in the future. Well done on a great debut Maya.

  11. It’s very hard to believe this is Maya Linnell’s debut novel! All I can say is wow and it was a pleasure to be chosen to read and review Wildflower Ridge.

    I found the story to be a real page Turner which was extremely hard to put down. It was well researched and left you wanting more. I felt like I was part of the McIntyre family.

    Congratulations on an amazing book, I cannot wait for the next!

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