Author: Mandy Magro
Bluegrass Bend is the latest by Mandy Magro, and set in the picturesque small town of Bluegrass Bend in the Blue Mountains.
Ivy Tucker is working with her aunts on the family farm Healing Hills where they run an equine therapy business healing with horses. Ivy is a qualified counsellor and runs sessions with clients along with her current priority of finding a way to save the farm by renovating and selling a neighbouring cottage. If that wasn’t enough Ivy is still coming to terms with her own past, a recent break up and a much older hurt that is still holding her back.
Healing Hills is a glorious place, offering a wonderful service but unless they can get their loan up to date the bank is going to move in. The farm has been in the family for generations and no-one can bear the thought of saying goodbye. Ivy lives with her aunts at Healing Hills but she owns the cottage she grew up in next door, the plan was always to make it her own again one day but circumstances mean the best way to get Healing Hills out of trouble is to sell the cottage after some sprucing.
Ivy and her aunts get everything in place and ready to start, with plans for Ivy to do as much as she can on her own and hope they can find a carpenter they can afford for the rest. They are putting their faith in fate and hoping for a miracle.
Ronny Sinclair is new to town and has just inherited property from his great aunt. He is determined to make the most of a clean slate and a fresh new start. There’s plenty to keep him going on the farm but he knows that he will need to find a job to help cover the expenses. He is a qualified carpenter and has been roped into being auctioned off by the CWA as a weekend slave with two other local lads. Ronny is an all round good guy but he has some pretty big skeletons in his closet that he wants kept there, they could put a real hole in his fresh new start.
I really enjoyed the storyline here and I love the healing horses and all of the equine therapy information; information I am sure was well researched and completely intrigued me.
There is a lot to love about Bluegrass Bend; the characters, the setting and the animal characters are delightful.
I do have issues with the storytelling, much as I love the in-depth descriptive style for the settings and the therapy sessions I found it became a little too much at other times. There was also a little too much emphasis on the physical attraction between Ivy and Ronny for me, I found myself trying to skim passages because I got it, they were hot. Though I got a little bogged down in that I did enjoy their story.
Ivy could feel a connection to Ronny from the moment they met, she felt safe in his presence in a way that she hadn’t ever experienced before and she wasn’t sure why. Unfortunately, she also sensed he was hiding something and that was a definite deal-breaker; you can’t be betrayed as many times as Ivy has been without self-preservation kicking in.
I’m finding it difficult to properly review this one with no spoilers, while doing it justice and conveying my love of the story even though there were elements of the storytelling I struggled with.
I think, and this is just my opinion, the storytelling was more suited to a younger audience while the story was more mature.
The subject matter and the struggles of both Ivy and Ronny were realistic, were palpable and my heart broke for both of them.
We meet Ivy in the prologue as a fresh faced, innocent young musician with the world at her feet but by the time we meet her again all that has changed.
The story is told from the alternating perspectives of both Ronny and Ivy, allowing us inside each of their heads.
Great characters, great story, great setting and some very unique animals who can’t help but be loved.
Bluegrass Bend is book #22 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.