All The Books I Can Read

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Review: A Chance Of Stormy Weather by Tricia Stringer

on January 25, 2017

chance-of-stormy-weatherA Chance Of Stormy Weather
Tricia Stringer
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2016, 378p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Self-reliant Sydney girl, Paula, is looking forward to a new life in the country. Just married to sheep farmer Dan Woodcroft she can’t wait to escape her protective family and exchange her busy existence for a new life down on the farm in rural South Australia.

But life on the farm proves rather different to what she was expecting. Why does everyone talk about the weather all the time? Why does no one seem worried by the mice plague? And how is she supposed to feed all those shearers?

With Dan’s brusque Aunt Rowena to contend with, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend showing up with a grudge, and communication between her and Dan breaking down, Paula begins to question whether she can cope — is the life of a farmer’s wife is really for her? Forecast: stormy weather.

It was very interesting to start a book just after the wedding of the main character. City girl Paula and farmer Dan married after a very whirlwind romance and now Paula is moving away from Sydney to Dan’s property in South Australia. She doesn’t know anything about running a farm (or a homestead) and Dan seems to feel that she has a very traditional role to fill of doing up the house and providing food for himself and any workers that there may be coming to do jobs. This isn’t something that Paula is experienced in and her setting and the temperamental oven make it even more difficult.

I could be Paula, if I’d married a farmer. I don’t have any real experience with a rural lifestyle. I’ve lived in a semi-rural area and I’ve read a lot of books. But when it comes to the practicalities of it, I’m in the dark. I’d be exactly like Paula – struggling to cook hearty meals for men who expect a good feed, freaking out at the mice. When we moved into the home we live in now, we had some mice. Our house then was brand new, build in a new estate from land that had been market gardens. For the first 6 months we had mice constantly. I hated it. There was nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to one scratching its way along the wall behind the bedhead. As annoying and disgusting as it was, we only ever had a few at a time. The mice numbers that Paula describes would probably have me fleeing.

Paula also feels left out of some of the farming – despite her qualifications in a relevant field, Dan’s Aunt Rowena won’t let her take a look at the farm’s books, which makes her feel useless and unwanted. It seems that the things she could help in she’s not allowed to, instead she has to focus on things that don’t really involve her particular skillset. Paula does make a big effort to involve herself and takes a part time job in the nearby town as well to do something for herself as well as earn some money. Most people are welcoming but there is one woman that puts her on edge, who seems to have some sort of history with Dan which makes Paula nervous.

A big thing in this book is the lack of communication between Paula and Dan. I think it’s a great show of realism because marriage isn’t the end of conflict between couples, nor are all couples suddenly able to share every single thought or concern they have with their partner for reasonable discussion. I know there are things that my husband does that annoy me greatly but sometimes I don’t tell him because a) I don’t want a fight or b) it’s petty on my behalf or c) to be honest I don’t want to know the answer to the question the discussion may involve/bring up/etc. There are also things that I’m feeling or thinking that I might stew on for a while. There are still plenty of opportunities for conflict and when Dan is away working long hours on the farm and Paula is at home either helping prepare meals for shearing or whatever with Aunt Rowena or fixing up rooms in the house, she probably has a lot of time to think on things. And when Dan gets home, probably the last thing he wants to do is have difficult discussions, so things have plenty of time to escalate and what could’ve been solved with a few minutes of honesty and discussion suddenly becomes a much bigger deal.

Dan was certainly keeping some secrets, things that seemed suspicious to Paula (and the reader) simply because everyone was so secretive so Paula had no real choice but to assume what was being hidden was negative. I think that Dan did have some good reasons for not perhaps confessing to Paula but it sure would’ve made things simpler if he had! But humans make flawed decisions all of the time and this was a well written example of how secrets can drive a wedge between a couple, no matter how new the relationship and how high the devotion.

I really enjoyed this new perspective on a rural.


Book #205 of 2016

One response to “Review: A Chance Of Stormy Weather by Tricia Stringer

  1. Marg says:

    I do like the premise of this. Starting after the big wedding is interesting.

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