All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Eddie And The Show Queen by Cathryn Hein

on September 16, 2019

Eddie And The Show Queen
Cathryn Hein
Self-published
2019, 268p
Copy courtesy of the author

Blurb {from Goodreads.com}:

Can Levenham’s biggest ladies’ man make good – and recapture the heart of the girl he’s always loved?

When horticulturalist Alice Lindner goads her ex-boyfriend Eddie Argyle into a fundraising contest, she doesn’t expect him to take it seriously. Winning small-town Levenham’s inaugural Wine Show crown will take dedication and hard work, and all Eddie cares about is chasing skirt. Besides, a win will be Alice’s tribute to her late mum. No way is Eddie getting his hands on the crown.

Big-hearted farmer Eddie never understood why love-of-his-life Alice dumped him. Yeah, it’d been a difficult time with her mum’s illness, but he’d loved her the best he could and losing her left him adrift. Now he has the opportunity to prove himself by winning not only the crown but maybe Alice’s heart in the process.

Will Eddie’s enthusiasm ruin Alice’s tribute and with it all hope of a second chance? Or will Alice realise that the real prize isn’t in the past but with the man who wants to be her future?

This is the latest in a loosely linked series revolving around the town of Levenham in South Australia. Though the same characters populate all the books, you can read them in any order without missing anything or feeling lost. And each book seems to introduce someone that you definitely feel will be the focus of a feature book.

Alice and Eddie were an item four years ago until Alice abruptly ended things with Eddie still having no idea why. He may have not reacted in the best way post break-up and he’s earned himself the sort of reputation that means Alice is determined never to go there again. The two rarely interact these days but cross paths in Alice’s father’s nursery where Eddie is amused by the Levenham Show Queen competition. Alice has entered and takes offence at Eddie’s gentle mockery, telling him it’s important because it’s raising money for a good cause. She dares him to enter, to prove himself to her and to her surprise – Eddie does. So the competition is on. Alice is desperate to win this…..and Eddie is desperate to win back Alice.

This was incredibly fun. It’s been a little while since I’ve visited Levenham now but it’s so easy to just slip back into this small town, filled with familiar faces. There’s a lot of humour in this one, the competition to raise the most money and be crowned Show Queen seems a race in two – Alice and the Phillips twins, Willow and Chelsea. Eddie enters well behind but it isn’t long before he has some unusual ideas to help him catch up. I absolutely loved reading about what he was going to do next in order to raise money – I think he definitely thinks outside the box in terms of his fundraising ideas, he’s willing to do pretty much anything so long as his mum doesn’t deem it dangerous/indecent and he’s not about things like raffles or danceathons or the like. He has some truly unique ideas  and some of them provide some rather err….vivid mental images!

Alice and Eddie have a lot of history. They were together barely out of their teens until Alice went through an incredibly difficult time and it all fell apart. I thought this was a really good example of how two people could both make mistakes and misunderstand things and then have those actions have severe consequences. After they broke up it seemed they didn’t interact at all. Alice was angry and grieving, Eddie was hurt and shunned, perhaps too proud to ask what exactly was Alice’s reasoning for ending things. Fast forward four years and they mostly keep their distance, crossing paths only occasionally. But neither have moved on, the more they see each other after Alice dares Eddie to sign up for the Show Queen the more it becomes obvious. The competition of each other spurs them on but for different reasons. Alice really wants to win, she has a personal connection to the competition and a goal she’s set herself. Eddie seems more interested in proving himself to Alice, that he isn’t just a lad, that he can care about things and do good deeds. But mostly, Eddie and Alice just need time and maturity to enable them to sit down and actually talk and air the misconceptions and actually understand each other. They were very young when they were together and Alice was going through something that definitely affected her judgement. Their communication was not the best and it meant that they both ended up letting things go that they should’ve asked about.

This was the perfect blend of humour and seriousness, I liked that a lot of the time was spent in Eddie’s head and that he owned his mistakes and wasn’t exactly as Alice and her friends saw him. It’d be easy to see him as just a bit of a footy boofhead – and I think that’s kind of how Alice has come to see him, or taught herself to see him, so that perhaps their break up doesn’t smart so much. But he’s much more than that and gets a little cut up at their cheap jabs. But he’s clever and sweet and determined…..but also generous. When Eddie puts his mind to something, you can definitely say that he’ll see it through!

This is just a super feel good book that will give you happy feels. I’m already a bit excited about the next one because I find that character very intriguing!

8/10

Book #143 of 2019

 

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2 responses to “Review: Eddie And The Show Queen by Cathryn Hein

  1. Jess says:

    I think I need to buy this one ASAP. It’s been so long since I read a Cathryn Hein book and after reading your review … I think I need to correct that.

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