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Review: Snowy Mountains Daughter by Alissa Callen

on February 19, 2021

Snowy Mountains Daughter 
Alissa Callen
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2021, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Welcome to Bundilla. A new close-knit community where romance can blossom. A compelling story of homecoming and family secrets from bestselling Australian author Alissa Callen.

The road home isn’t for the faint-hearted…

Peony flower farmer Clancy Parker was born and bred in the Australian high country. Small-town Bundilla is the only place she will ever truly belong, even if staying means remaining alone. The man she’d loved is long gone and single men are as rare as a summer snowfall.

As soon as he could, street artist Heath MacBride escaped his complicated family and traded mountain peaks for city concrete. Now a commission to paint a mural on Bundilla’s water tower brings him home. It doesn’t matter how long he’s been away, the animosity of his cattleman father hasn’t waned. As soon as the water tower is painted, he will be gone.

But between steadfast Clancy, who’d once been his muse, a free-spirited kelpie who becomes his shadow and a corrosive family secret, his best laid plans disintegrate. When life again backs him into a corner, will he have no choice but to leave or will he and Clancy have the second chance they’d each thought would forever remain out of reach? 

I really loved Alissa Callen’s Woodlea series and I’m super excited that she’s kicking off what is sure to be a new series here, set in the high country of New South Wales. Centring around the town of Bundilla, this book introduces us to Bundy, a kelpie who drifts around the various residents of the town, going where he’s needed. When Heath McBride returns to Bundilla for the first time in many years, it’s to paint the town’s water tower with a mural. An artist of renown, Heath left Bundilla many years ago after being disowned by his father for choosing to study art, rather than agriculture. His resulting success hasn’t softened his father’s feelings towards him but family brings him back and the water tower is a good excuse to be in town. It also brings him back to Clancy, the girl he’s always wanted, but never thought he could have.

I really enjoyed this. I loved Clancy and her profession of having a flower farm. It’s peony season (or just about to be) and I loved her devotion to them. I’ve been really keen to visit some flower farms around here, in fact I was supposed to go to one just before we were sent back into lockdown so that’s definitely something for very soon. Clancy is stricken by grief still after a family tragedy and her brother Rowan is overseas, plying his profession as a stonemason but the two are still very close. For Clancy, Bundilla is home and even though she’s had strong feelings for Heath for a large portion of her life, he left without looking back and his job takes him all over the world. How could they possibly make anything work when their lives are so different?

Heath and Clancy were great characters, friends but friends made awkward a bit, by their feelings for each other but who want to support each other through difficult times. Clancy knows Heath is going through something with his family and wishes he’d open up to her about it but Heath wishes to respect his mother’s desire for privacy as well as not burden Clancy with his problems. Clancy however, would love to be burdened and have an opportunity to provide some emotional support to Heath, with whatever is happening.

There was so much of this that was super fun. Loved the idea of the water tower mural – we have a lot of similar things, usually on silos, in rural Victoria and presumably elsewhere, and they are a huge drawcard for tourists and day trippers. I adored Bundy (actually all the animals: the horses, beautiful old Jasper, the duo of Iris and Primrose. This is how to do animals as characters but not overbearingly, in a book) and his way of finding the person in town who needed him the most and keeping them company but also taking himself off around town to fulfil his various roles and duties. The town had a real lovely feel to it, I enjoyed the two sisters who took an interest in the town, as well as the various ‘things’ that Clancy and her best friend Brenna did: book club, quilting, etc. I also feel that there’s potential for anywhere between 3-6 people to get their own story, depending on if any of them pair up with each other!

There was really only one thing that I was a bit unsure about here and it’s a bit hard to talk about in depth without spoiling some things so I’ll just gloss over it. Heath and his father had obviously parted on poor terms and his father had been it seemed, quite hard on him for all of his life. He’d disowned him and made it clear he wasn’t ever to darken the doorstep of the family farm again and when his mother calls him back, she wants him to make amends with his father. Now, there are some circumstances as to why she wants Heath to do this but it didn’t sit well with me that Heath was asked to make such overtures after the poor treatment he received at the hands of his father throughout most of his life. The book does take some pains to clear up a lot of the reasoning behind Heath’s father’s attitudes and issues but I’m not sure it was enough to really justify what he did and said and it made me uncomfortable that Heath had to be the one to make amends (yes, there were reasons it had to be him, but his father had had many years himself, to try and fix what had occurred between them and had shown zero interest in doing so and I’m a big believer in blood not being enough for someone to excuse intolerable behaviour). That’s just a personal thing, just made me feel like a lot of pressure was put on Heath to right something he’d had no part in making wrong in the first place.

Apart from that one issue I really did love this and I can’t wait to read another book set here.

8/10

Book #25 of 2021

Snowy Mountains Daughter is the 10th book read for the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge


2 responses to “Review: Snowy Mountains Daughter by Alissa Callen

  1. Marg says:

    I loved this too! M only tiny issue related to Heath and his communication but other than that, looking forward to the next book. My review (shock!) will be up in the next couple of days.

  2. […] Bree@1girl2manybooks with three (3) reviews! […]

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