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Review: Spring Clean For The Peach Queen by Sasha Wasley

Spring Clean For The Peach Queen
Sasha Wasley
Pantera Press
2021, 471p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: Twelve years had passed since the last Harvest Ball.

I was just eighteen when my hometown crowned me their Peach Queen with a blossom coronet. And I was eighteen when I left.

One tanked career, one badly timed glamour shoot and one dead boyfriend later, thirty-year-old Lottie Bentz is finally going home.

Back in the orchard town of Bonnievale, Lottie embarks on a radical declutter of her life, Marie Kondo-style. She casts out everything that got her into trouble: her phone, socials, make-up and a tendency to tell little white lies – to herself and others. But home has its own issues, not least Lottie’s staunchly feminist mother, who is furious with her.

When Lottie lands herself a place to stay in exchange for helping kindly Mrs Brooker try out the Kondo method, it seems like the perfect farm escape. That’s until Angus, Lottie’s former Peach King and heir to the Brooker orchards, makes it clear she’s not welcome – especially when Lottie’s declutter begins to stir up long buried memories and half-truths.

As Lottie finds her way back to herself, can she use her talents to coax Bonnievale and the Brookers out of the past? After all, everyone deserves to feel love, hope and the occasional spark of joy.

A deeply moving story about forgiving, finding joy and falling in love with life again. 

I absolutely loved this book.

Recently, just before I read this, Melbourne entered Lockdown 4.0 after a corona outbreak – a 7 day “circuit breaker” to keep people from moving around until everyone who had potentially come into contact with a positive case had been put into isolation and tested. Many people have mixed feelings about lockdown but I arm myself with lots of books and get ready to hole up for the duration. I decided to document my “ISO reads” on instagram and this was the second book I read during the isolation period.

Lottie (known as Charlize in her city acting life) is back in her hometown, reassessing her whole life. She was caught up in a terrible incident and the fallout has been invasive in the press and now Lottie isn’t sure what she wants to do but she thinks she’s done with acting. She was the last Peach Queen in her hometown and she finds herself on the committee to stage the event again, after a 12 year gap.

There’s just so much about this that I loved – Mrs B! The mother of Angus, who was the Peach King to Lottie’s Peach Queen, who opens her home to Lottie when she feels she cannot live at home, due to discord with her staunchly feminist mother, who doesn’t approve of a lot of Lottie’s choices. I loved the way Lottie and Mrs B developed this beautiful rapport, bonding over the art of tidying up. In Mrs B, Lottie finds true acceptance of who she is and the space to work through the ‘list’ she has created of things she wants to change or cut from her life. I saw what was happening to Mrs B before Lottie does but I thought the whole way it played out felt so realistic, especially from the points of view of Angus, her son and Lottie.

Ah Angus. I loved Angus and Lottie too. I felt like they had so much chemistry – it’s a slow burn, both Lottie and Angus have had things happen that make them gun-shy. Angus has some hang ups and has made some vows and Lottie isn’t sure what she really wants or where she’ll be in the future. But they find common ground a lot and I really loved the way Lottie’s presence definitely gives Angus some sleepless nights about his “policy” and the fact that sometimes, he really cannot hide how much he’s into her and how conflicted he is. Angus has buried a lot deep down but he feels he can be himself around Lottie, he likes her “no faking, no lying” vow and I appreciate the things they tell each other, the lack of artifice.

Lottie has a really difficult relationship with her mother, who always tends to be quite judgemental of her choices, especially one posing for a magazine. I really felt for Lottie, every time she felt the brunt of her mother’s snubbing of her after she returned to town. It was so uncomfortable at her family home that she took up an offer to basically stay in a decrepit caravan, because it was more welcoming. I think in the end the two of them did come to an understanding about each other but yeah, I still really felt for Lottie for a lot of the book because it’s obvious she’s quite upset at the broken relationship and that she feels like she can’t really do a lot to repair it and that it has to come from her mother, when her mother is ready.

This one has definitely earned a spot on my favourites shelf and I can see myself re-reading it in the future. I’ve really like Sasha Wasley’s other books too so she’s definitely an autoread author for me.

9/10

Book #90 of 2021

Spring Clean For The Peach Queen is book #38 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2021

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