Friday, May 12, 2023

Blog tour: Escape to Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen

Ali West has spent her whole working life in academia, teaching about women’s rights. When one of her students accuses her male professor of inappropriate advances, Ali is shocked at the university’s reaction, and even more shocked when it is suggested that she might need to take some time off.

Neil Simpson has issues in his career too. He has been inadvertently implicated in a financial scandal at the prestigious boys school where he is principal. Although he has been cleared of any involvement, his reputation has been affected and he has been directed to take paid leave until the matter goes to court.

Both Ali and Neil find themselves in Bellbird Bay. Ali comes to visit her brother, Adam, who has recently settled with his new partner. Neil and his daughter, Bronte, come to stay with his father, Harry, who runs the local bookstore. Lucky he does return to Bellbird Bay because it turns out that Harry is having some health issues and is going to need some support for a while.

Both of them are looking at what comes next for them in terms of their career. Neither of them are looking for love, but Bellbird Bay has something of a reputation for being a town where love comes to those who least expect it.

I have reviewed multiple books by Maggie Christensen now. I always look forward to reading the next book in her series. There are many recurring characters from previous books in the series, but they don’t get in the way of the current story. Bellbird Bay sounds like a really great place to live. Sun, surf, good people. What more do you need?

I really enjoyed this instalment in the series. I liked that both Neil and Ali were escaping, not just one of them. Both of them are navigating the challenges that face you when you are in a new place. For Neil, he is returning to the place where he grew up, but he was never one of the surfie guys, so he has past acquaintances rather than close friends. Ali has her brother, but they were separated during childhood and had only recently been reunited, so there is work to be done there.

One aspect I really liked of this book is Neil’s daughter Bronte. She is young, only around 20, and she is struggling to find a direction in life. Her mother is ambitious for her, pushing her into university courses that she isn’t really interested in. When she comes to town, she finds her own direction, one that is different from the one her mother would want, but one that she can call her own. The reason why I really liked Bronte is that, on occasion, some of the grown kids in the previous books are sometimes a bit annoying in their selfishness.

As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of this series, and this author. I think she is the author I have read the most books from over the last two or three years. I am already looking forward to the next book. And the one after that. And after that. You get the picture.

Check out other stops on the tour to see what they thought.

Rating 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the review copy

About the Book

Escape to Bellbird Bay: A heartwarming story of second chances

When successful university lecturer Alison Wells’ life unexpectedly falls apart, she follows in her brother’s footsteps and escapes to the coastal town of Bellbird Bay on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Neil Simpson loves teaching and his position as principal at a prestigious boys’ school in Brisbane. But when scandal rocks the school, and he learns his father’s health is failing, he has no choice but to return to his hometown of Bellbird Bay.

Determined not to be a burden to her brother and his new partner, Ali is considering her options when her world and Neil’s collide. Having avoided commitment all her life, Ali is unprepared for the force of her attraction to the man who is trying to come to terms with the upheaval in his own life.

As fate conspires to keep them apart, can this small town work its magic on these two lost souls?

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About the author

After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations, and historical fiction set in her native Scotland. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her trips to visit family in Scotland, in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. Maggie has been called the queen of mature age fiction and her writing has been described by one reviewer as like a nice warm cup of tea. It is warm, nourishing, comforting and embracing.

From the small town in Scotland where she grew up, Maggie was lured to Australia by the call to ‘Come and teach in the sun’. Once there, she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!

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