Sunday, October 11, 2020

Outback Brides of Wirralong

Outback Brides of Wirralong is the third quartet of books set in the fictitious town of Wirralong in country Victoria. I originally read the first quartet when they came out because ....hello ....Kelly Hunter. Over the years I have read and enjoyed many Kelly Hunter books so I was always going to read that initial series. It didn't hurt that the author of the second book in that original quartet was written by Victoria Purman who, at the time, I had just read my first book by and loved. 

What kept me reading each of the subsequent books has been the sense of community, the friendships and yes, the romance in each book. I have also really enjoyed watching the town be slowly rejuvenated thanks to the wedding business that was established in the first series. Since then the town has grown with beauticians, hairdressers, beauticians and more taking their place amongst the farmers, medical staff and police that normally populate small towns.


Along the way I have been introduced to several new to me Australian authors including Cathryn Hein, Fiona McArthur and Barbara Hannay.  One of things that has been impressive about this series is how consistently good the books have been. And right now, they are perfect feel good reads - comfort reads if you like.

Given that this series started with Kelly Hunter I knew I was going to order it, but I had completely forgotten that I had pre-ordered the whole series, so it was something of a surprise  to me when the second and third books dropped on my Kindle. I had, however, figured it out by the time the fourth book arrived.

What I found reading this year's quartet is that I found myself wanting to visit the general area where the books are set. Whilst the town is fictional, there are enough references to know roughly where it is. Of course, reading and Google are the only way that we are actually able to travel right now given that we are still in lockdown.

    
Outback Brides - series 1




Outback Brides of Wirralong - series 2





I thought I would give a brief overview of the books in this current quartet which is called the Outback Brides Return to Wirralong.





Matilda Next Door by Kelly Hunter 

Kelly Hunter is a guaranteed good read for me.

Tilly is a self taught baker who is now running a successful catering business in Wirralong, When she is offered the chance to stay in a fancy London flat she grabs it. After all, her school friend Henry Church has lived in London for years. Now they are swapping. Tilly is going to do some touristy things and some fancy cooking classes while she is there and Henry is going to spend some time with his aging grandparents. It doesn't, however, quite go to plan. Tilly misses the wide open spaces of home, and it really isn't easy to do the tourist thing when you suddenly left looking after a baby that apparently is Henry's. Henry needs to figure out how to look after a baby and how to deal with his long buried feelings for Matilda.




Maeve's Baby by Fiona McArthur

When Maeve, a midwife, moves to Wirralong permanently, the one thing that she is definitely not interested in is  a relationship. She has left that behind, and she is not going to be taken for granted again. Jace is a doctor who is here for a short term contract, along with his young daughter, Jemima. 

Yes, they have to work together, and there is chemistry, but Maeve had been burned in her last relationship, and Jace is leaving.





Serenity's Song by Cathryn Hein

Jesse Hargreaves has a reputation for being a bad boy. He's come back to Wirralong to lie low for a while after another scrape with the law. He doesn't make the best impression on Serenity Strachan when he nearly runs her over as she crosses the street during a downpour. Serenity is a beauty therapist who shares a retail space with Jesse's soon to be sister in law. 

Serenity is smart and funny and tends to have a song for every occasion - which I loved!

Jesse does seem to get in the habit of getting into trouble when it comes to Serenity, not least of which when he encourages her to explore some tunnels which collapse. Can Jesse overcome his trust issues, or will he make yet another mistake.

 


A Nanny Called Alice by Barbara Hannay

Alice has been living a very safe life until she decides that it is time for adventure and she comes to Australia. Unfortunately, her adventure gets off to a rough start when her hire car breaks down and then she is mugged, her car is stolen . Luckily, she is picked up by Tom Brayden. 

Tom returned to Wirralong to look after his two nieces after his brother and his wife were killed. Tom is trying hard to look after the girls, look after the farm and still run his successful business in Sydney. Something has to give.

Tom and Alice come to a short term arrangement. She can help care for the girls while her passport replaced and insurance sorted out. Alice is also determined to continue her trip. After all, she can just stop in the first town she comes to, can she?


I hope that there are more books set in Wirralong!

As an aside.....do you have words that you can never type correctly the first time. For me, bride is one of those words. I always type bridge and have to go back and correct it.

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