Review: Heart of the Country


Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

five-stars 5 stars

Read from 23-24 April, 2017

Synopsis: Heart of the Country is the first book in an epic historical saga of three Australian families. Spanning several generations, this epic tells the story of the Baker, Smith and Wiltshire families forging their paths in a land both beautiful and unforgiving.

Lives are intertwined by love and community then ripped apart by hate and greed but remain always bound to the land they love…

1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.

But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.

But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives.

Bookish Things: 512 pages. The cover is very typical for the genre and Tricia’s style. I liked it a lot.

Where to buy: Amazon on kindle for $5.99 or paperback for $19.99

My Review: 

Ever been to the Flinders Ranges in country South Australia? I’ve only visited once before and because I was but a squalling babe with my parents, don’t remember a thing about it. But, having read Heart of the Country I feel as if I’ve dwelt in the rugged countryside for months along side Thomas and Lizzie.

With a hint of ‘Australia’ the Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman movie from 2008, particularly the foreigner getting to know the harsh reality of farming on Australian land, Heart of the Country paints a vivid picture. One that is uniquely Australian.

The three pronged story weaves together in the most unusual ways, Tricia bringing different aspects of each story to light in ingenious ways that really work well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the trying, yet sweet story of Thomas’, add to that the often gut-wrenching sorrow of Harriette and the wicked ways of Septimus you almost have the complete trifecta, so happily, Tricia wove in another thread, that of Gulda, an aboriginal man who can speak some English.

The story was rich in detail, strong on emotional investment and quality on the writing front. A fantastic read for those who enjoy their historical fiction with a strong Australian flavor.

One thing to note: There are a few instances of assault and violation, particularly of women. While these were tactfully handled and speak to the time the story was set, they may cause distress for readers who have triggers in those topics.

**Note: I received a paperback copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

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