All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: A Place To Remember by Jenn J. McLeod

on May 30, 2018

A Place To Remember
Jenn J. McLeod
Head Of Zeus
2018, 467p
Copy courtesy Harper Collins AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

A man loses five years of his life. Two women are desperate for him to remember.

Running away for the second time in her life, twenty-seven-year old Ava believes the cook’s job at a country B&B is perfect, until she meets the owner’s son, John Tate. At twenty, the fifth generation grazier is a beguiling blend of both man, boy and a terrible flirt. With their connection immediate and intense, they begin a clandestine affair right under the noses of John’s formidable parents.

Thirty years later, Ava returns to Candlebark Creek with her daughter, Nina, who is determined to meet her mother’s lost love for herself. While struggling to find her own place in the world, Nina discovers an urban myth about a love-struck man, a forgotten engagement ring, and a dinner reservation back in the eighties. Now she must decide if revealing the truth will hurt more than it heals…

A new Jenn J. McLeod novel is always cause for a celebration for me so I’ve kind of been keeping this one for a rainy day. I started reading it last week to take a break from the craziness and it was such a good story to get engrossed in and just while away some peaceful hours.

Ava Marchette is in her late 50s when she comes across an article about artist John Tate. She is transported back thirty years in time, to when she was a young woman in her late 20s, working for the Tate family on their cattle property Ivy-May. Ava had fled a difficult home life and although she hadn’t finished school, she was an accomplished cook with a dream to one day study in Paris. Although there’s a connection between her and John Tate, heir to the vast property, it’s clear that to Mrs Tate at the very least, Ava is not an option for her son. It’s a world she doesn’t inhabit and they have plans to join their property with the one next door, with John earmarked for Katie, the neighbour’s daughter.

I don’t often read a romance where the woman is older, especially when the male is only twenty. It was quite refreshing to see and the two of them complimented each other well. It seemed like John could truly be himself around Ava, and indulge the love he had for cooking, something that wasn’t really fostered in the family station environment. John was expected to work the land, things like cooking delegated to hired help. An added complication to their blossoming romance is Katie, the almost eighteen year old next door neighbour who definitely dreams of being Mrs John Tate as soon as she comes of age. Katie comes with the added attraction of her adjoining land, although John doesn’t have any romantic feelings toward her. This is of little consequence to his formidable mother, who believes that Katie will make him a good wife and the two will build on the family dynasty.

Jenn J. McLeod takes the reader on some unexpected twists, including why Ava and John were separated, all those years ago so soon after declaring their mutual love for each other. I really enjoyed a lot of the intricacies of the story and the way in which characters were developed and fleshed out. Even Katie, somewhat an unsympathetic character for a very large portion of the book, has several reveals that made me see her in an entirely different light. I still don’t agree with a lot of her choices and motives but I can definitely better understand them, especially with the position she was in at the time.

Also woven into the story is that of Ava’s daughter Nina, struggling with finding her place in the world, and John’s son Blair. After Ava visits John’s family home after a thirty year absence and confesses her connection to the place to Nina, her daughter decides to see this place for herself and the man that made such a mark on her mother. After getting off to a somewhat rocky start when Blair mistakes the reason Nina is there, the two find some common ground. I really liked the character of Nina, who was not really sure what her role of place was. Her mother had this amazing company that she’d built from scratch, her brother had found his niche within it, as well as marrying and having a family but Nina had yet to find that satisfaction in either her personal or her professional life. This is something I quite identify with (the professional part) and it’s interesting to read about people who are struggling in that way. She has a job, it’s fine but it doesn’t seem to particularly fulfil her. But through her visits to Candlebark Creek, a seed is born.

I found this book really satisfying overall. It had such an intriguing premise upon reading the beginning – why have these people been separated for thirty years? How did this happen? And in going forward and getting the answers to all my questions there were surprises and clever twists along the way as well as a thread of hope. I loved the part about the mystery surrounding the ring and that was just another loose end from quite early on that played much bigger part later in the book.

Another fantastic read from an author who always delivers a really lovely story.

8/10

Book #96 of 2018

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One response to “Review: A Place To Remember by Jenn J. McLeod

  1. Thank you so much. I enjoy getting your reviews in my inbox very much (have done for many years now!!) I love that you are both honest and respectful of the authors you read. (And no one writes a synopsis of a story like you do!! Wish I could do that.) I’m delighted to know you enjoyed this story.

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