Aug 29, 2011

Review: Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman


Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman
Paperback544 pages, Touchstone
ISBN-13 978-1451623499
Review copy from the publisher, thanks so much!
Burton Book Review Rating:Epic!


SPANNING THREE GENERATIONS AND HALF THE WORLD, WILDFLOWER HILL IS A SWEEPING, ROMANTIC, AND COMPELLING STORY OF TWO WOMEN WHO SHARE A LEGACY OF SECRETS, HEARTBREAK, COURAGE, AND LOVE. Emma, a prima ballerina in London, is at a crossroads after an injured knee ruins her career. Forced to rest and take stock of her life, she finds that she’s mistaken fame and achievement for love and fulfillment. Returning home to Australia, she learns of her grandmother Beattie’s death and a strange inheritance: a sheep station in isolated rural Australia. Certain she has been saddled with an irritating burden, Emma prepares to leave for Wildflower Hill to sell the estate.
Beattie also found herself at a crossroads as a young woman, but she was pregnant and unwed. She eventually found success—but only after following an unconventional path that was often dangerous and heartbreaking. Beattie knew the lessons she learned in life would be important to Emma one day, and she wanted to make sure Emma’s heart remained open to love, no matter what life brought. She knew the magic of the Australian wilderness would show Emma the way.
Wildflower Hill is a compelling, atmospheric, and romantic novel about taking risks, starting again, and believing in yourself. It’s about finding out what you really want and discovering that the answer might be not at all what you’d expect.
This is one of those novels that you know from the beginning would be a page-turner, and then when you finish it you wish you hadn't ended your journey (and wish for truly waterproof mascara). Wildflower Hill is a multi-generational story that starts with Beattie as a young girl and ends with Emma, her granddaughter. The two women were seemingly worlds apart, but perhaps after Beattie's death there can be a sense of rebirth with Emma if she could only find the path that Beattie carved out for her.

Beattie's story is sad, sweet, hopeful and horrifying as she deals with ostracization due to having a daughter out of wedlock and for respecting colored people. She is thrown every obstacle society can give her and we get to read of Beattie's journey through her life in bits and pieces through Beattie's eyes, and then a bit more of her mystery through Emma's discoveries. The book transitions to the granddaughter Emma who loses her career as a ballerina after an injury and heads down to Australia to pick through the estate left to her by her grandmother. She uncovers mystery after mystery as she tries to deal with the direction of her own life which she was completely unprepared for after her boyfriend leaves her and her career is over.

There are alot of things going on within the story, from high end society versus the commoner, from neighbor against neighbor and mother versus stepmother. From Scotland, England to Tasmania, Australia..all of it ties together to make Wildflower Hill the epitome of saga material with all those facets of Gone With the Wind type of feel. Love, lust, greed, labor, prejudice, secrets, courage are all underlying themes, but through it all we are waiting for redemption. Aching for it, for both Beattie and Emma. The writing style was fluent and easy to absorb, and the characterizations were pure and simple, and easy to identify with. Beattie was a woman to admire, and maybe Emma wasn't just because she couldn't think outside the box. The development in the plot from point A to B was a thrilling, inspiring, and quite an entertaining journey for me. What more can I ask for? A sequel?