Author: Rachael Johns
It feels like an age that I have been hanging out waiting for this book to land on my desk, since I interviewed Rach. Once I found out it was on its way I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on it, Australia Post seemed to take forever and my patience was certainly being tested. Finally I was able to start reading it and I just didn’t want to put it down. Often with that much hype, even just personal hype, the anticipation builds to such a height that there is no way the product can live up to your expectations – not so with Jilted.
I was impatient to read and sink my teeth into this book but at the same time I didn’t really go in with any preconceived notions but even if I had this would have blown them away I think. If not for the houseful of visitors for hours right in the middle of my sprint (of 150 pages) to the end of the book I think I would have read the entire last third of the book through tears.
There are so many issues addressed in this book that the heart is on an intense roller coaster ride from start to finish. I felt for each of the characters throughout and wanted nothing more than a way to help ease their situations, alas that’s not to be when you’re reading about a fictional town but what can I say, that’s how involved I was.
I don’t really want to risk saying too much or putting spoilers in because the way the information plays it is just as it should be. I was about halfway when I left work this afternoon and throughout the entire trip home I was thinking about Ellie and Flynn, what is it that she’s still not telling? I did come up with a few scenarios, some seeming extremely unlikely but you just never know what’s going to happen.
Hope Junction is a tiny town in West Australia, home town of Flynn Quartermaine and the first place Ellie Hughes actually felt at home. A town with a tight-knit sense of community, and an intense need to protect the members of their community. It’s the town Ellie fled over a decade ago, leaving Flynn at the altar, and that’s something the townspeople are not willing to forget.
It is soon apparent that Flynn has never fully recovered and the period after she left was quite dark. Through Flynn Rachael sensitively explores the issues of alcoholism, the long term effects of the addiction and how it affects the family and friends. Flynn is the hunkiest man in town and I just wish I’d been able to picture him on the footy field, actually I would have quite liked one like him playing for my club but I digress. He is the ultimate catch but after all this time he is still single.
Ellie on the other hand seems to be the soap star that has it all, she took off to a life in front of the cameras and the bright lights of Sydney. She kept in touch only with her godmother, and they only saw each other away from Hope Junction and Flynn was a taboo subject. Before long we discover how heartbroken Ellie was when she left and the despair she worked to overcome, so why did she leave? This is a question that plagued me, there is an explanation quite early but it’s not complete and will keep you guessing until much later in the story.
For the first time since she left Ellie is back in Hope Junction to care for her injured godmother, who it seems is suffering more than a broken ankle. This relationship explores the loss of independence and decline of age, the changes that the older generation need to come to terms with – sometimes not without a struggle.
There is so much more to this book than meets the eye and I absolutely loved it. The issues were handled with such sensitivity and emphasised the sense of small town community. Having been involved in a small town football club for quite some time I enjoyed the element of football and the important role it played in the community, and the atmosphere of a day at the footy and evening around the clubrooms after.
This fabulous read engrossed me, I had to drag myself away from it. I smiled, I laughed and I cried…and I cried and I cried. Tears of understanding, empathy and beauty. Tears of love, tears of loss and an electricity that is palpable in every scene that Flynn and Ellie share. Not to mention the absolutely heartwarming ‘awww’ moment when the hobbled old dog remembers the girl he loved as a puppy.
Read it! With tissues handy. I am really glad I did and now I am going to head to bed to dream about Flynn and Ellie probably on the eve of their publication date.