Daughter of the Hunter Valley is Paula J. Beavan’s debut romance novel with a touch of historical themes. It is filled with loss, hardship, aspiration, and determination.
England 1831, after the overwhelming loss of her mother Madeleine Barker-Trent decides to make the long journey across the sea to join her father in the Hunter Valley, NSW. She has not seen her papa in six years and now must face him with the terrible news of his wife. He has been in Australia building a house and establishing a farm in the new colony for them to settle.
The very next day after Maddy’s arrival the unthinkable happens and her father drowns in the river. She now must decide if she will stay as sole owner of a thousand acres or return to England. With much deliberation, she decides to stay and fulfill her father’s dream.
Maddy has a long road ahead of her, the farm and house are not what she had envisioned from her father’s letters. Until the house is built, she settles into a hut with two convict women, she has help from assigned convict labourers, overseer Daniel Coulter to cultivate the land, and her maid, Jane.
Over time Maddy establishes herself into the settler’s community, many have opinions of how she should be living her life, but she was determined to prove she was very capable of running Shelby.
I loved Maddy’s character, she developed from a lost only child to a woman that wasn’t afraid of hard work. She braved the harsh elements of the land with unpredictable heat, drought and floods, unknown wildlife, and an attack from a bushranger.
One cannot help but empathise with this beautiful young woman who wants nothing more than to break away from the strictures of feminine expectations. She is determined to live by her own terms, using her brains, intellect, and faith rather than submitting to the expectations of society.
The supporting characters of convicts, Worranua people, bushrangers, and an orphaned child are well balanced and thoroughly believable. Secrets, threats, and romance will pull you into the story.
Daughter of the Hunter Valley is a character-driven drama at its heart. Paula J. Beavan writes in a smooth, flowing style, making this a captivating and easy-to-read book. It engages the reader from the first page to the last with its atmosphere and dialogue.
The story incorporates Australia’s early colonial days that add an extra layer of authenticity to the narrative. A lot of research went into this novel and it shows.
I highly recommend it to anyone with a passion for historical fiction and those who enjoy stories about strong, resilient women.
Thank you, Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins Publishers for the opportunity to read and review.
Author: Paula J. Beavan
Copy courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Daughter of the Hunter Valley by Paula J Beavan. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.