All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Water Under The Bridge by Lily Malone

on July 23, 2020

Water Under The Bridge (Chalk Hill #1)
Lily Malone
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2018, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Ella Davenport hasn’t been in a swimming pool since a bad decision ruined her chance of Olympic gold. So when Ella decides on a new career selling property, she chooses Chalk Hill. The country town is a long way from the water, with no pool in sight. Perfect!

Jake Honeychurch doesn’t want to sell his Nanna’s house, but circumstances force his hand. Listing the property with the rookie real estate agent in town, and asking a hefty price means it shouldn’t find a buyer. Perfect!

But determination and persistence are traits Jake admires, and Ella has them in spades. After all, no one ever made an Olympic team by being a quitter.

When news breaks of a proposed waterski park, a local developer starts sniffing around Honeychurch House. Ella’s first sale is so close she can taste it, until a sharp-eyed local recognises her.

Between sale negotiations with Jake that keep getting sidetracked, and a swimming pool committee hellbent on making a splash, Ella has more to contend with than kisses and chlorine.

Can she throw off the failures of the past and take the chance of a new start? Or will her dreams of a new life be washed away again?

Recently I decided to try and add in books I had from NetGalley and not gotten around to, into my current reading. I have in the past, occasionally “bitten off more than I can chew” in regards to NetGalley, particularly as bunches of books go up at once. It’s super easy to click on a lot of them and then quite often, the eBooks languish neglected while I turn to the physical books I have. Given that I picked up the third in this series recently in a sale and I knew I had this one, I thought it would be a good place to start!

Ella has moved to the small town of Chalk Hill in south-west Western Australia for a fresh start. She’s working as a real estate agent and has one listing – an overpriced house that has seen better days. She’s doing her best to spruce it up but the owner is reluctant to sell and Ella suspects that her rival real estate agent might be attempting to sabotage her by giving her false advice.

Ella is a single mother of a 10yo and my oldest son is almost 12. When I read some of this, it was like reading about my own child. My firstborn is at times, a challenge to parent. He has an attitude that started to develop at about 9 or so where he resented anything asked of him, even the tiniest of things and in Sam’s sullen reluctance, I saw a lot of my own child. And in Ella’s frustration to connect with Sam, to make him understand about why she’s asking him to do this or that, I saw myself. I’m not a single parent, I have someone else to ‘back me up’ if required, share the discipline and reasoning. But I’ve had the phone calls from school about incidents in the playground, backchatting the teacher. I know the weariness of it, the feelings that it evokes. And so I sympathised with Ella. In her case though, it’s obvious why Sam is resentful and acting out (not that that makes dealing with it any easier).

Jake Honeychurch is the executor of his grandmother’s will and therefore he has final say over the sale of the house. He’s not actually interested in selling it, but he’s using the fact that it is for sale as leverage against someone, to get information that he wants. Things get complicated when he and Ella start to connect and all of a sudden Ella isn’t just the new, anonymous real estate agent but someone that he gets to know. He starts to see the desperation of her situation, her determination to change her life to do something, to succeed. And that brings conflict and awkwardness, as Jake doesn’t intend to sell the house. Ella is doing the best she can, bringing him good, reasonable offers and Jake has to keep rejecting them each time. I thought that Jake should’ve explained his situation to Ella a bit earlier than he did, this was her livelihood. She had a small retainer from her boss but real estate agents need to sell houses to make money. The effort Ella was expending was never going to be rewarded and I felt that was quite cruel of Jake, especially after they become friends (with obvious potential for more).

I really enjoyed Ella’s background in this – she was an Olympic level swimmer, who had done all the hard work and had big things ahead. One moment ripped it all away but it also gave her something precious. Her relationship with Erik was interesting and added a depth to the backstory. I understood why Ella had kept her secret all these years, even from Sam – how does someone confess something like that positively, talk about it? After what she had been through, it was easier to protect herself, to keep both of them safe from prying eyes, a hungry media, and who knows what else. Ella was very young and probably not the most mature emotionally, given the insular life of a swimmer attempting to make an Olympics.

I also really liked the small town of Chalk Hill and the residents we got to know through Ella. The three books in this series will be based around the Honeychurch brothers, and we met the brother who will take centre stage in the second book, in this one. His story was very interesting (not something you’d expect actually) and so I’m quite looking forward to reading the second book very soon!

8/10

Book #134 of 2020

Water Under The Bridge is book #44 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2020


4 responses to “Review: Water Under The Bridge by Lily Malone

  1. Lily Malone says:

    Yay! It’s so long since I wrote Water Under The Bridge this was kind of like reading a review of someone else’s book 🙂 I hope you get to Cafe Under The Bridge soon. Thanks for reading Chalk Hill 🙂

  2. Marg says:

    This was such a good trilogy!

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