BOOK CLUB: The Library at Wagtail Ridge

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[Total: 5 Average: 4.6]

The Library at Wagtail Ridge by Janet Gover is a rural romance. 

Lou Taylor is happy with her life. She finished her master’s degree in Environmental Science and after a gap year of working in the country, she’s ready to find a serious job in the field that she has trained for.

Lou lives in Sydney with her loving and supportive parents, Fiona and Richard.  They adopted Lou when she was a small child and she loves them dearly.

Lou’s life is perfect until a letter arrives from a lawyer’s office, the firm that handled her adoption. Lou has been left a cottage, a mobile library truck, and books from her birth mother.

Lou has spent many years in anger towards the woman who didn’t want her and gave her away. But, with some persuasion from Fiona, Lou decides to go to Wagtail Ridge. After all, she might as well have a look at the property before she sells it.

Luca is Lou’s birth mother and has never stopped loving Lou and now as her journey with cancer comes to an end, she would like her daughter to get to know her. With the help of her neighbour, Jake Barnes, Luca has left letters along the library route. Each letter explains Luca’s life, her secrets, and why she gave up two-and-a-half-year-old Lou for adoption.

After finding the first letter and reading it, although still angry with Luca, Lou now understands that there are two sides to every story. Lou decides to stay for a little while, to look for all the letters.

Jake is rather handsome and a great guy, and Lou finds she is attracted to him. With so much on her mind and a life waiting for her in Sydney, the last thing she needs right now is a country romance!

The community of Wagtail Ridge and the surrounding towns want to share their stories of Luca in the hope that Lou will stay and keep the mobile library running. It means so much more to the community than just books.

Lou finds that the more she learns about her mother, she would also like to find her father.

This is a story of a mother who made a difficult choice to give up her child for adoption. 

And, this is Lou’s journey to understand and accept her adoption, to discover who she really is and what is important to her.

I absolutely loved this book because it is such a feel-good story. While at times it’s very sad, there are lots of happy moments. It is easy to read with likable characters. There are secrets to discover and it is set in a great country community.

I have read other Janet Gover books and loved them. This book too is an excellent read. I thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to HQ Fiction and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this excellent book.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Library at Wagtail Ridge by Janet Gover. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Library at Wagtail Ridge

  1. Lou Taylor has just finished her environmental science degree and is wondering what her future will be. She lives in Sydney with her adoptive parents and leads a happy life until a letter from a law firm arrives. Lou has inherited her biological mother’s house and a mobile library in Wagtail Creek. Lou is angry and confused about why her birth mother Luca would now come into her life when she gave her away so many years ago but she decides to visit Wagtail Creek to learn more about Luca and to also find out who her father is.
    Luca has left a trail of letters on the mobile library route for Lou to receive in the hope that Lou will learn about her life and why she had to give her daughter up for adoption.
    There is more in Wagtail Creek than Lou expected. A real country community of real people who care for each other and a young man named Jake who trains guide dogs and cooks at the local pub.
    This is a lovely weekend read and you are taken on quite an emotional journey as Lou learns about her biological mother and herself. I loved all the characters and felt I could visit Wagtail Creek and say hello to Val the nosey postmistress with her orange hair and enjoy a drink in the pub with Deb and Shane. Highly recommended. 4/5

  2. The Library at Wagtail Ridge by Janet Gover (Harper Collins) is a charming story, largely set in the kind of warm and friendly country town, we’d all like to live in. It is a story about family, community, motherly love (in its many forms) and that feeling of belonging you get when you work out where you want to be and what you want to do with your life…

    It is also a lovely story about the impact and importance of good books in your life, especially great Australian classics like The Adventures of Blinky Bill, The Shiralee, and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

    When Lou inherits a cottage and mobile library from her birth mother, she discovers all this and more. Most importantly she begins to understand and appreciate her own story.
    An easy to read well written story with an endearing and colourful cast of characters.

  3. The Library at Wagtail Ridge by Janet Gover captured my attention straight away with the cute little willy wagtail that is perched upon the “W” on the front cover. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but even so it dragged me in.

    Lou has a happy life. Her childhood was a little rough with the other children at school teasing her because she was adopted. Her home life was filled with love from her awesome adoptive parents. She has just graduated from University and is ready to start a new life and career.
    Her life is suddenly thrown into turmoil when she arrives home one day to find a letter from a lawyer’s office waiting for her. Lou finds that her birth mother has passed away and left her estate to Lou. She travels to the small town of Wagtail Ridge to see the cottage she has been left, only to discover that part of the estate is a mobile library. Her birth Mother has left her a letter inside the Library, and that starts Lou on her quest to find the other letters that her Birth Mother has left for her.
    Lou wants to find all these letters as quickly as possible and be done with this small town. She is helped with the library by a good looking local named Jake, who Lou ends up falling head over heels for, which adds a new complication into the mix.

    I really loved the unique concept of this story, and how the letters allowed the mystery to slowly unfold. This is a really lovely and heartwarming holiday read.

  4. I love books that have booky/library elements in them, so The Library at Wagtail Ridge was my kind of read! I also enjoyed Lou as a character. She was adopted as a child, then suddenly received a legacy from her birth mother – who she really doesn’t want to have anything to do with or know about. She’s had a lovely childhood with really nice parents who’ve loved and nurtured her. They were willing for Lou’s birth mother to be in touch along the way, but the birth mother cut off contact from the time of the adoption. Now she’s reaching out to Lou from beyond the grave, with the legacy of a mobile library and cottage in Wagtail Ridge.

    It takes Lou a while – and a couple of visits – and encouragement from the friendly locals, including a very nice man called Jake – before she can begin to cope with the emotional overload of all this. At first she doesn’t want to, feeling it would be a betrayal of her adoptive parents who have been wonderful. But their gentle encouragement and that of the whole country town and surrounding villages who all knew her birth mother finally make her a bit braver to follow the trail of letters left behind for her to read. Maybe, just maybe, there is a place for her in Wagtail Ridge? And some closure for her feelings about her birth mother?

    I loved the mobile library and the discussions about books, including a lot of Australian children’s classics. Isn’t it wonderful how books bring us together?

    A very heartwarming and lovely story as Lou comes to grip with her past, with a bonus romance. Loved it.

    Thanks to Beauty & Lace and HQ Fiction for this absolutely charming review story.

  5. Think you so much for those lovely comments everyone. I am very glad you enjoyed Lou and Jake’s story.
    And I have to say, when I first saw the little bird on the cover- I just fell in love.
    Thank yo so such for the support you give to me and to all authors – we really appreciate it.


  6. Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and HQ fiction for allowing me to read and review The Library at Wagtain Ridge.
    From the moment I opened the book I was hooked.
    I absolutely loved Lou’s character and how she handled all of these circumstances thrown at her.
    The arrival of a letter with an inheritance she didn’t expect brought her to the lovely town of Wagtain Ridge and brought her to meet many new people who knew her mother but she also learned a lot about her birth mother and changed many lives in the meantime.
    I highly recommend this book.

  7. The Library at Wagtail Ridge is the latest novel from Janet Gover who is known for her romantic novels. This delightful novel is set in a small town in the upper Hunter Valley in NSW. The lead character, Lou Taylor, has recently graduated from university in Sydney and is looking forward to starting her career when she is stunned to learn that her birth mother has died, and she has been left a legacy.
    Lou knew she was adopted and has a very strong, loving relationship with her adoptive parents, at first, she wants nothing to do with her inheritance. The inheritance includes a cottage in Wagtail Ridge and Lou sets off to see it, she quickly learns that her birth mother, Luca, was well liked and ran a mobile library in the area. In fact, the library van is still in Luca’s shed. Lou discovers that Luca has left her some letters but to collect them she has to take the library out to the local communities.
    When Lou first arrives in Wagtail Ridge she meets Jake Barnes (and his dog Ollie) who has been taking care of the cottage and library van for Luca. A friendship grows between Lou and Jake, aided and abetted by Ollie the Labrador, and Lou is persuaded to stay in Wagtail Ridge for a while and set off in the library van to search out for the missing letters (with Jake by her side). She slowly understands the pull of a small community compared to Sydney and the reason her birth mother gave her up for adoption.
    It’s clear that the author knows small rural communities and the bush landscape well. This is a story of family, love, discovering your roots and how important services like mobile libraries are to small communities. The library is not just about the books.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, perfect for relaxed reading and I will certainly look out for other novels by Janet Gover.
    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this novel.

  8. What a beautiful and talented writer of this wonderful book!
    I thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding of events and was holding on to the thought and hope of Lou and Jake uniting together throughout this emotional ride.
    I could resonate with Lou`s feelings as she had a hard time knowing what to feel and if she felt anything at all as she uncovered more and more information about her real mum.
    A great bunch of characters in this story had me feeling homely and took me back to childhood books that I still remember had made me feel happy when I was younger.
    I could not imagine my life without books, it`s a bit like music, it grabs a part of you and takes you away to a very special place that to me is very comforting no matter what emotion you are feeling.
    Highly recommended read by Janet Glover.
    Thankyou so much for this book.

  9. She had finished her course, all set for a travelling adventure, to start her life, with the support of a good family, and then came the letter. Lou always knew she was adopted, she was good with this, but to find out her birth mum had passed and had left to her all that she had was confronting and unexpected. But she will go, she will see what is there, just to get the boxes ticked and get the property left to her on the market so she can get back to her life. But no, not that simple.
    Jack made a promise to Luca, Lou’s birth mum, to help Lou find out about her, to grow a love of the region (country town Aust), to learn about the people and most importantly about the mobile library that saved Luca’s life when her mum passed.
    Falling in love was not part of the plan, for either of them, nor was the doubt that what each of them had planned and were doing was the right thing. Will she stay, will Jack tell her the truth?
    A warming story of country support, passion and connection. Thank you Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read and Janet Gover for a good escape from life.

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