BOOK CLUB: Meet Me in Bendigo

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[Total: 4 Average: 4.8]

Meet Me in Bendigo by Australian author Eva Scott is a wonderfully warm, bright, squishy heart-warming hug of a romance book to escape into.

Heartbroken after the death of her boyfriend, Annalisa Cappelli arrives back in the small town of Wongilly to run the family hardware store that has been a primary in the community for over 150 years. Post COVID-19 global pandemic, she feels added pressure.

Sales have decreased and a new super hardware store, Carpenter’s Warehouse will be opening in the district with competitive prices. Annalisa is determined to do all she can to keep her family’s legacy alive and not be driven out of business.

When she joins an online community forum discussing Carpenter’s Warehouse and the impact it will have in the community, she forms a friendship with GardenerGuy94, sharing the same work ethic, moral values and strong family ties. 

Enter the very handsome Ed Carpenter, after his landscaping business collapses, he returns to work with his family establishing Carpenter’s Warehouse.   When he arrives in Wongilly to make an offer on Cappelli’s Hardware he discovers that GoldfieldsGirl who he has been chatting with online is no other than Annalisa.  He struggles to reveal his secret that he is GardenerGuy94 and finds it difficult weighing out what is not only right for his family’s business but also hers. 

The plot is engaging, and the cast of characters are charming and authentic. I found myself chuckling over the group of elderly men that play cards in the hardware store every morning and loved how Annalisa’s dear Nonna and best friend Mel encourage her to reach beyond her own expectations. The vivid details bring the reader up close and personal within the small town and you can picture yourself being part of the community. 

Annalisa is a likeable and oddly relatable character, especially to the free-spirited reader of the twenty-first century. She is forced to reach deep within herself to find the woman she never knew existed; she begins to see that her life has not been wasted but is only just beginning.  Ed and Annalisa successfully pull on the reader’s emotions with the pain of loss, the worry of making tough decisions, the worry of uncertainty, and the thrill of new beginnings. 

Eva Scott has delivered a sweet and, at times, humorous tale of true love and the often-bumpy road lovers may have to travel to get to their happily ever-after.  This isn’t a fast-paced story, but it is filled with emotion and drama with the of joy of living in a small town, from heartache and despair to love and happiness.  Fans of sweet romances will especially enjoy this tale.

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins Australia, for the opportunity to read and review. 

ISBN: 1867230585

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Meet me in Bendigo by Eva Scott. You can read their comments below, or add your own review. Sign up for our club here.

13 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Meet Me in Bendigo

  1. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Meet me in Bendigo by Eva Scott!!

    I loved this romantic drama!!

    With loveable floored characters this is a beautifully written story!!

    This only took me a few days to read as I just wanted to find out if the characters would work out their dramas!!

    Annalisa is a strong woman who is running her family business but will a hunky stranger destroy her legacy or steal her heart?

    Loved this story and am now looking at other books written by Eva Scott!! Can’t wait!!

    Highly recommend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Eva Scott for allowing me to read and review Meet Me In Bendigo.

    Firstly, I absolutely loved that this book was not fast paced, now I’m not saying it was slow, it was the perfect speed where you can easily pick up where you left off once interrupted (mum of a toddler here!)

    I really enjoyed the flashbacks to newspaper articles which told a story of their own.

    Meet me In Bendigo was the perfect blend of love, humour, betrayal, trust and everything else you’d like in a story. I did not want it to end!

    Congratulations Eva on another amazing story!

  3. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for my copy.

    I found this book a light, feel good and very enjoyable read . Set in the present day in a small country town, it follows mostly one small family run business that is struggling to survive due to the changes bought about by the current pandemic. Also, a big hardware superstore is opening not far away which will probably be the nail in the coffin for the Cappelli family store.
    The story mostly features around Annalisa Cappelli, who is the last family member left to run the business that’s been in their family for the last 160 years. The three Italian old boys that come into the shop every day to drink coffee and play cards are hilarious and witty. They are full of advice whether Annalisa wants it or not and their witty commentary is rapid fire. Annalisa’s Nonna is a force to be reckoned with and one tough cookie who has Annalisa’s back. There are romantic sparks between the nonna and Joe, plus between Annalisa and her online mystery man Gardenerguy94 and also Ed Carpenter who is opening the new super hardware store. The romance was just right, not mushy or overdone.
    There is enough going on in the story apart from the romantic sparks to keep me interested and it tells how businesses have to adapt, sometimes doing something completely different to survive.
    Between some of the chapters there were extracts from newspaper articles from different eras of the Cappelli family business which were interesting and gave insight to the both the family and business.
    Highly recommended 4 Stars

  4. Pandemics! Civil unrest! Political upheavals!……………Our world id currently full of a variety of stresses.
    Do yourself a favour. Get a copy of Eva Scott’s “Meet Me IN Bendigo!” Be transported to a new place, where old fashioned romance prevails. Fantastic story, couldn’t put it down once I started reading it!
    Loved it!

  5. The weight of family heritage sits on the shoulder of Annalise and Ed, only their at odd with each other.
    Her small family hardware in country victoria is threatened by a big chain hardware moving in, if it weren’t hard enough surviving the panemic. How does she move forward? At least she has web mate GardnerGuy94!!
    Ed works for the big chain, having had the pandemic take so much from him, including his independent business. Under the pressure of his older siblings he hates what he does but what option is there. His latest task, ensure smooth opening of the latest Carpenters Warehouse and make sure Cappelli’s hardware dont make for negative press.
    Yes, this is that romance with conflict. A well known plot that walks you along, helps you escape reality. I found this book a fun and easy read, a great escape from reality. Thanks to Eva Scott, tge publishers and Beauty and Lace for my latest escape.

  6. Such a beautiful story from the 1st page to the last. The storyline captured my attention and I couldn’t wait to see how it all ended. Beautifully written by Eva Scott.

    The storyline evolves around Annalisa Cappelli who returns to the rural town of Wongilly in Victoria after her partner died. She lost her own parents when she was a child and her Nonna was the one that brought her up.

    Moving back to Wongilly she takes over the family business that Nonna has kept going. A hardware store that has been in the family for 3 generations but now Ed Carpenter wanted to buy her out so that they could build their superstore just up the road. I loved how the book mentions the pandemic and how hard the business struggled with it.

    During the whole storyline, Annalisa has an online romance with someone called GardenerGuy94. I found the conversation interesting and endearing and you could see why Annalisa would fall in love with the guy just from chatting to him. Would they ever meet though?

    There are 3 old guys that hang around with Annalisa when she is working at the hardware store and these guys are such fun characters that I found myself giggling and smiling at their antics.

    This is a beautiful storyline of romance, loss and being given second chances in life.

    It’s a story that you know what will be the outcome but you do have to read the whole book to find out how it all eventuates. I absolutely loved this book. All the characters are memorable. It’s a big book but there are no slow parts.

    The cover does make me drool though….oh to be young again 🙂

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace as I’ve not read any of Eva’s books before (that will change now) and Harper Collins.

  7. Meet me in Bendigo is a sweet tale that will appeal to many readers.

    It’s a light-hearted story with likeable characters living in a delightful small town dealing with the impacts of the current pandemic.

    Both Annalisa and Ed have to consider their ties with their respective family business and make tough decisions about their future while trying to navigate possible romantic encounters.
    I loved the quirky additions including historic excerpts from the Goldfields Gazette which helps paint a picture of the longevity of Annalisa’s family hardware shop and the flirty online conversations between the couple.

    When it is easy to be bombarded with negative news and sad stories, it is wonderful to take the time to read a lovely novel that warms the heart and brings a smile to your face.

    It’s easy to read and somewhat predictable, but in a way, that’s what makes this You’ve Got Mail replica a winner in my eyes.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read Eva Scott’s novel. I would recommend it!

  8. I love a good book that I can get lost in the characters and find it hard to put down especially modern times – even with a touch of our pandemic. ‘Meet me in Bendigo’ by Eva Scott does just this. The 2 main characters are Annalisa and Ed. Annalisa is running the local hardware store that has been in the family for a generations, she’s a likeable character that is passionate. Ed’s family want to move to the town and open a hardware superstore and unbeknown to him his online interest is Annalisa. It’s a page turner to see how after flirting online with each other how they discover the truth. Thanks Beauty and Lace as always, it’s a real thrill to be selected for a book.

  9. Meet Me in Bendigo by Eva Scott is a light-hearted romance story that is not fast paced and I could easily put the book down and come back and feel like I had never left it.

    The story is set in the town of Wongilly in Victoria. Annalisa Cappelli and her Nonna run the Cappelli Hardware store which has been in the family for three generations. With a new hardware store to open just 15 minutes up the road, Annalisa is keen to keep the family’s hardware store open no matter happens.

    Unfortunately, the Carpenter family have different ideas. Ed Carpenter the “black sheep” of the 3 siblings in the family is given the job to head to Wongilly and supervise the opening of the new hardware store and buy out the Capelli family. Ed has been chatting with a young woman GoldfieldsGirl online on a regular basis under the name of GardenerGuy94 and discovers that Annalisa is this woman. Now how to keep his identity from Annalisa until the time is right to share his identity and find out what her reaction will be.

    There are many twists and turns and heart ache in Annalisa’s life from death, challenges of keeping the store and even love but will she survive all the changes as her main thoughts were to keep and honour the Cappelli name and hardware store.

    The story kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I would highly recommend this wonderful book and reading more books by Eva Scott.

  10. Popular Australian Author Eva Scott’s newest novel Meet Me in Bendigo is set in today’s Victoria.
    Its lead character is Annalisa Cappelli, she’s living in the old family home trying to keep the family business alive. The business is a hardware store that has served the local Wongilly Community for well over a hundred years. Annalisa returned home after the sudden death of her partner and since then she has devoted her time to the business and her hobby of making dolls houses.
    This novel is set in 2021 and features the COVID-19 pandemic, it shows how the pandemic has affected some of the characters. One character who has lost his landscaping business because of the pandemic is Ed Carpenter. As a result he’s had to start working in his family’s business and they are about to open a hardware superstore which will put Annalisa out of business.
    This novel is a little like a 2020s version of “You’ve Got Mail”. Annalisa, as GoldfieldsGirl, is having a flirty online relationship with GardenerGuy94 and while GardenerGuy94 quickly discovers Annalisa is GoldfieldsGirl she has no idea when she meets GardenerGuy94. Throughout the novel their online chat is detailed, particularly after eventful days when they have met but Annalisa has no idea who he is.
    I liked the main characters and found I wanted to know how the situation with Annalisa, Ed, GardenerGuy94 and GoldfieldsGirl could be resolved without issues. There were also some interesting supporting characters who had their own stories – Annalisa’s Nonna and the highly amusing old guys who hang around the hardware store.
    I really enjoyed this novel; it was good to read a novel that addressed some of the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic including the affects on small business and just how excited the community was when the Carpenter family organised a community event for the opening of their superstore.
    I also enjoyed reading the extracts from The Goldfields Gazette which are scattered throughout the novel at appropriate times, it was good to read (albeit briefly) about some of the issues country Victorians had to cope with over the last century and how they responded.
    It was good to see the author include an acknowledgement of country and pay her respects to the traditional custodians.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. I look forward to reading more novels by Eva Scott.

  11. Love Love Love this book!
    I always like a good romantic book and rural romance has a soft spot in my heart.
    This book was so good it only took me few days to finish it as I couldn’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.
    All the characters were very relatable and the fight and romance between the two main characters (Annalisa and Delicious Ed :D) is very well written. I wish they were real people and I could meet them!

    This book also talk about the effect of pandemic on small local businesses which is a really sad reality.
    Overall, its an amazing and very well written book and can’t wait to read other books by Eva Scott.

  12. Meet me in Bendigo by Eva Scott was an enjoyable read. It centers in the two characters of Ed Carpenter and Annalisa Cappelli. The plot includes the pair meeting via internet dating. Their story together has many twists and turns and was great to read however I was frustrated that it took so song for Ed to confess who he really was. An easy going enjoyable book to read. Thanks Beauty and Lace

  13. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
    I thoroughly enjoy reading romance as well as Australian books as I relate better to these.
    It was an easy book to relate to as it had all the things we are dealing with these days, pandemics, businesses struggling, internet dating.
    The two characters were relatable and easy to get to know and were described so well I loved going on their journey in the rural town. I enjoyed reading about the three old guys who always nagged Annalisa on updates of her internet boyfriend.
    This book was an easy read that grabbed you right from the beginning, it had a great storyline and I would recommend it to everyone to read.

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