BOOK CLUB: Peninsula Promises (Fantail Ridge #1)

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Peninsula Promises by Heather Reyburn is a rural historical fiction filled with love, sacrifice and family devotion.

Karaka, South Auckland 1935: Alice Simpson sits at her daughter’s grave saying goodbye. She lost Emmie at 3 months of age when whooping cough swept through their community. Alice is leaving her behind to start a new life on their recently purchased sheep farm in the Northern Island with her husband Harry and two boys George, 7 and Timmy, 5.

For over ten years they were repaying the debt on their dairy farm that Harry’s father purchased when his son was fighting in Egypt, now with his parents deceased and no ties, it was time to move on.

Alice felt bittersweet having to say goodbye to her sister Maudie, they were barely a year apart in age and their bond was strong. Upon their goodbye, Alice gave Maud a present of writing paper, envelopes, and a new fountain pen to help keep their connection strong whilst being apart.

As Alice adapts to her new life and the isolation, she finds comfort in the exchange of letters with Maud and the surrounds at Fantail Ridge.

There are wonderful descriptions of the rugged landscape and farm life. I enjoyed the trips into town to South Head, Helensville for supplies, it displayed the good side to small town communities and the residents that populate these country settings.

I loved the strong characters and how the author centres her story around the letters between Alice and Maud as they face life’s turbulent challenges and difficult times in pre-WWII. I felt as if I was involved in their conversations and found myself laughing out loud and crying on occasion throughout the book.

There are some challenges for both these characters to overcome and the reader is given an opportunity to be directly involved in their respective individual pathways. There is a range of wonderful supporting characters such as Maud’s husband Dougal and children Kenneth, George and Catherine.

Peninsula Promises is a book that hums with activity, keeping the reader fully engaged from start to finish. A truly heart-warming story that will leave the reader completely satisfied. Heather has given life to such an endearing set of characters and pitting them against some complex life challenges.

I’m looking forward to the next installment, The Lupin Fields.

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Heather Reyburn for the opportunity to read and review.

Author: Heather Reyburn
ISBN: 9780645123425
Copy courtesy of Heather Reyburn

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Peninsula Promises by Heather Reyburn. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Peninsula Promises (Fantail Ridge #1)

  1. Peninsula Promises by Heather Reyburn is a charmingly written ebook that depicts the highs and lows of life in the late 1930’s in rural New Zealand.
    Harry has promised Alice a ‘happy life’ but it is with some trepidation that she and their three young boys move away from the familiar, to a remote New Zealand peninsula to try and make a go of sheep farming.

    Starting off living in a tin shed, while they build up their resources, life in Fantail Ridge isn’t quite what Alice had expected…But this new life, away from her own domineering parents and siblings, allows Alice and her children to grow in unexpected ways…

    The family’s adventures are touchingly outlined in letters between sisters Alice and Maud, and through these letters the reader gets a real taste of the struggles and loneliness people faced in such isolated communities.

    Part ‘Little House on the Prairie’ part ‘The Sullivans’, Peninsula Promises is a well written and captivating family saga that will continue in two further books.

  2. This was a beautifully written story describing rural life and times in a rugged part of New Zealand’s North Island in the 1930s. This was quite a slow moving book but there was enough happening to keep my interest especially the letters between the sisters which told of their everyday life and difficulties.
    This was a gentle but interesting read and I would like to thank Beauty and Lace and Heather Reyburn for the chance to read it.

  3. Peninsular Promises is the first in the Fantail Ridge Series by Heather Reyburn. Set between 1935 and 1946 amidst the Great Depression and WWII it tells the story of Alice Simpson and her family as they begin their new life on their farm Fantail Ridge. Their trials and triumphs in setting up their new farm and life on a rugged, isolated part of New Zealand’s North Island provides an insight into the lives of those pioneers who opened up new parts of the country.

    This story is beautifully written from Alice’s perspective with the letters shared between Alice and her sister Maud making the reader feel they are there with the characters. I could picture the field of wild flowers, and the determined look on Alice’s face as she wrestled with the truck on muddy roads, not to mention her three cheeky boys grins. With strong female leads, a devoted husband, three active boys plus a few colourful locals, this sweeping saga will have you hooked.

    I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series The Lupin Fields.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Heather Reyburn for the opportunity to read this book.

  4. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘Peninsula Promises’ an e-book by Heather Reyburn.
    This is great heart-warming story of a family that is held together with ties of blood but also with friendships formed on Fantail Ridge, New Zealand. Alice the main character has a large heart and encompasses all her warmth and compassion to the people that are part of her life, collecting strays (people) seems to be her greatest skill along with magnificent cooking. Along with her husband Harry they create a new life and home together that began in a tin shed.
    The descriptions of the scenery in the book were enchanting, making me itch to get back to see the New Zealand landscape again, I could easily envision the family setting up their farm – especially the sheep. An easy read with interesting characters. Thank-you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ for the opportunity to read ‘Peninsula Promises’ an e-book by Heather Reyburn.

  5. I enjoyed reading Peninsula Promises by Heather Reyburn. It was a feel good book to the end.
    I felt sorry for Alice at first having to uproot herself from her home and family and how she had to cope with living in a shed for so long. It was great to see them all settle down in what seems to be a beautiful location.
    Looking forward to the next instalment.

  6. Heather Reyburn, author of the e-book Peninsula Promises delivers a lovely story of 1930s/1940s New Zealand and the rural life of Fantail Ridge.
    The story immediately draws the reader into the lives and decisions people make to follow their hearts and building a life and home together despite the hardships faced along the way.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Heather Reyburn for the opportunity to read this e-book.

  7. I read book 2 prior to reading this, book 1, and even though independent stories, it was good to get to know the background of the characters in all of the stories.
    A heartwarming story, especially when touching on the love between Alice, her 2 boys and her husband. The loneliness she feels when moving away from all that is familiar, to start a new life farming, is beautifully portrayed in the letters between Alice and her sister, Maud.
    The landscape is beautifully described, and you can certainly understand how this ‘new start’ would be unnerving.
    Set prior to WW11, they face many hardships and trials over the years, but the love between Alice and her husband Harry, sees them all grow as individuals and as a family, as the years pass.
    A slower read than book 2, but I loved it.
    Thank you to Beauty & Lace, and Heather Reyburn for the opportunity to read this wonderful ebook. I look forward to reading book 3.

  8. Peninsula Promises by Heather Reyburn was not a bad story, but I kept wondering when something was going to happen. I felt that it was more of a journal about life on a farm as opposed to a story with a problem and a solution. It was interesting, but I really did want something to happen. This is the first book in a three part series – I’m not opposed to reading the other parts, but don’t think I will necessarily seek them out. Thank you Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book >:o)

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