Touchstone, Aug 23 2011, $16.00
In 1989 Sydney, Beattie Blaxland watches her eleven year old granddaughter Emma Blaxland-Hunter dance with euphoria. Afterward, Beattle sadly muses to her beloved Emma that success is not everything. In 2009, prima donna Emma’s dance career ends in London at about the same time her relationship with Josh when the doctors declare her knee to brittle to handle the physical demands of dance. Her mom asks her to come home, which she does. She has inherited Wildflower Hall from her late grandma. She plans to sell the place until she finds a photograph of her grandma with an unknown child. Unable to resist Emma investigates her family tree.
In 1929 Glasgow, Beattie’s dreams end when she realizes she is carrying her married lover Henry MacConnell’s child. Beattie and Henry flee to Tasmania where he deserts her. Supporting her daughter as a single mom, Beattie obtains work at Wildflower Hill sheep farm.
This is a fascinating family drama refreshingly enhanced by local vernacular that has the reader feeling they are in Australia. The story line is very narrowly linear past and present as the audience will figure out the mystery before Beattie does. Still the fun in this tale resides in the complicated two women who bring grit and charm as they reinvent themselves through love and hate; as for the sandwiched generation, she is more an enabler and not on the same developed levels as her mom and daughter. Fans of epic family dramas will enjoy this fine Australian saga.