Author: Mandy Magro
Jacaranda is the second novel for Queensland author Mandy Magro. It is set in Far North Queensland in the little town of Dimbulah, on Jacaranda Farm.
I am not quite sure how I want to approach this review yet. Jacaranda tells a story that I really like, a story that I don’t think gets told enough. I enjoyed the way the story played out and the development of the characters but there was just something and I can not for the life of me put my finger on it.
The dialogue didn’t quite flow, it didn’t quite seem realistic and it didn’t always feel like it quite fit. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about it though.
At times there seemed to be build up to a climactic story changing event and I would be frantically turning pages to find out what happened and it seemed to fizzle, it was more my imagination running through the what ifs than what was actually on the page. Most of the questions that arose throughout were answered by the close of the book but there is still one that haunts me, I actually think it’s only a question because my imagination added 2 and 2 to get 7 though so I won’t let it bother me.
Now that I have that out of the way let’s look a little further. The actual story I love. I think this is a dynamic not often explored and more than once I found my mind belting out the lyrics to a Heart song with a similar story. Parts of the storyline are quite common themes running through many a story but the main issue is one I have rarely seen immortalised in books or movies.
Mandy Magro lives in Dimbulah, this is a place she knows and a lifestyle she is familiar with, and that does show. Reading about the farm and the lifestyle really took me to the area, the huge open spaces, the horses, the puppies and the farmhands living in on the property. Elements prevalent in many of the rural romances I am reading of late.
This book has got me a little at a loss and I end up repeating that I love the story but I’m not sold on the story-telling. There is an abundance of romance, and life affirming love, which heats slowly so it’s all about the anticipation. It’s the build up of tension until somebody is set to explode. By the climax I thought that person might be me, there were very few actual love making scenes and I think about half of them were imagined anyway and the others not minutely detailed.
Molly is our protagonist, our gorgeous protagonist, who is a young single mother wanting to give her daughter the best that she possibly can and make all her dreams come true. Anyone who is a parent knows that this is usually easier said than done but something we all want to do for our children. Molly was orphaned young and knows the pain of growing up without a parent, or in her case parents, so she wants to spare her beautiful 6 yr old that same pain. The problem is Molly doesn’t know where he is. As you can imagine the guilt about this weighs quite heavily on young Molly, and we hear about that often.
Alongside the main story Magro deals with the sensitive issue of homophobia and a lesbian love affair. The subject is dealt with sensitively and illustrates some of what Jade has had to deal with throughout her life. Jade is a wonderful young woman, just like Molly, who just happens to like girls and we see her through Molly’s eyes for the beautiful friend that she is.
Jacaranda is a story that is well worth the read, filled with characters that I have grown to adore – though if I have to hear how gorgeous Heath is one more time…
I have not read Mandy Magro’s first book, Rosalee Station, so I can’t compare but this is still the beginning of a published career and I will defnitely be looking out for more of her work in the future.