Penny McIntyre loves her life as an ambitious city professional, with a marketing team at her fingertips and a promotion just within reach. So when she's floored by a mystery illness, and ordered back to the family farm for three months' rest and recuperation, she is horrified to find her perfect life imploding.
Within days, Penny has to leave her much-loved job, her live-in boyfriend, and her beloved city apartment... to return to the small country town in which she grew up. Back to her dad and three sisters, one of whom has never forgiven her for abandoning her family. And to her ex-boyfriend, Tim Patterson, who was the biggest reason she ran in the first place.
When Penny's father is injured in a farming accident and Tim campaigns to buy the property, she must choose between the city life she loves and the farming dream she buried long ago.
Wildflower Ridge is rural fiction straight from the heart.
From country show baking to raising orphaned lambs, bestselling author Maya Linnell writes about the life she lives and loves. A keen bookworm, former rural journalist and radio host, Maya also blogs for Romance Writers Australia and has five rural fiction titles published with Allen & Unwin - Kookaburra Cottage, Paperbark Hill, Magpie's Bend, Bottlebrush Creek and Wildflower Ridge.
She lives in rural Victoria with a menagerie of animals, rambling gardens, three bookworms and the odd tiger snake or two.
Maya was shortlisted in the 2021, 2020 and 2019 Aus Romance Reader Association awards for categories including Favourite Australian Romance Author, Favourite Debut Author and Favourite Australian-set novel and her novels have consistently made bestseller lists and the Better Reading Top 100.
Penny McIntyre has always loved working with her marketing team in Melbourne. When she falls ill her doctors are baffled as to what is making her feel so sick. She is told she needs time off work to rest. Leaving behind her city life, job and boyfriend, Penny heads to the country town where she grew up. This was not the most ideal situation for Penny, but she needed to give her body time to recuperate. And if that meant spending time back at the family home with her father and her sisters then that’s what she was going to do. Penny knew this could turn bad as one of her sisters never forgave her for turning her back on the family even though the main reason was Tim Patterson her ex boyfriend.
When Penny’s father is injured in a farming accident, she is faced with making a decision which will not only impact on her life, but also those closest to her.
I truly enjoyed this debut novel by Aussie author Maya Linnell. The setting and the characters were all well thought out and entwined together to create a very enjoyable story. I can’t wait to see what this author writes next.
Four and a half stars. Penny McIntyre is a high flying professional woman, ambitious and looking forward confidently to a promotion she feels has earned. Her life in Melbourne is one of never ending pressure and busyness with long hours at work that suddenly take its toll on her health. An enforced rest forces her back to the merino stud where she grew up, though it means leaving her boyfriend she lives with, and her job for a time, she really has no other choice. So it is back with her father and her three sisters. Of the sisters, Lara is the one who harbours a grudge for, as she sees it, Penny running away to the city. Penny’s high school boyfriend Tim Patterson is also there helping he father and Tim is one of the reasons she ran away in the first place. Penny plans to only be back on the family farm for a minimum time. But an incident occurs that means plans need to be suddenly changed. What will it mean for Penny, her love life her career, and for her family? All the characters are well drawn and easy to care about, particularly the farmhand Tim. His relationship with his younger brother Eddie who has Down’s syndrome and with Nanna Pearl , the grandmother who raised the boys after their mother’s death shows a lot about his caring character. I loved the Aussie colloquialisms and expressions. The setting and the attitudes of a small town have an authentic feel. The vagaries of the land and the impact weather has on those who live on the land are well portrayed. This is Maya Linnell’s debut novel but reading it you would never know that. It is a really enjoyable read that kept me interested from start to finish. You can bet I will be keen to check out more of her books. Anyone who likes rural Aussie stories about family, with some sensitive issues and a little romance should enjoy this entertaining read as I did.
Penny McIntyre didn’t have time to be ill and couldn’t work out why she’d been told to head back to her family farm in the country for ten weeks recuperation. The aches and pains had knocked her for six, but her boss in the marketing team in Melbourne had grudgingly approved the doctor’s orders, so once Penny left hospital, she headed back with her sister Diana.
The family farm was run by Penny’s dad Angas, with the help of farmhand, ex-boyfriend Tim Patterson. She didn’t want to face Tim again, but realized she had no choice. Her older sister Diana, husband Pete and their three children; sister Lara, husband Sam and daughter Evie; and young sister Angie were all shocked at Penny’s illness and welcomed her home. But it was Lara’s bitterness and anger that made Penny realise things hadn’t really changed.
As Penny gradually recovered, she counted down the weeks until she could return to work. But would things work out the way she wanted them to? When a farm accident injured her dad, Penny did her best to keep things going. But could she? Melbourne, her job and boyfriend were beckoning – the farm needed someone to run it. Could Penny do it all? Or would she succumb to illness again?
Wildflower Ridge is a delightful read by debut Aussie author Maya Linnell which I thoroughly enjoyed. Heartfelt and moving, it features decisions, choices and new beginnings. The familial love shone through (most of the time), with the generations old McIntyre farm at the centre of it all. Well crafted characters, it’s great to learn there’ll be more stories about the rest of the McIntyre sisters in the future. Highly recommended.
With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com Wildflower Ridge is a 2019 Allen and Unwin publication from Maya Linnell, a former rural journalist. This debut novel from an exciting new voice, is a very fine example of authentic and true rural fiction fare. It is a story that stresses the importance of following your heart, resurrecting long held dreams and connecting with your family roots, especially in the wake of a crisis. A book of love, life, friendship, community and hard yakka, Wildflower Ridge is a wonderful introductory novel from an emerging writer.
At the heart of Wildflower Ridge is Penny McIntyre, an enterprising young woman who has carved out a successful career in the city, which is far removed from her upbringing and former life in the country. Penny is so close to clinching a major deal and promotion within her marketing team role. However, things quickly spiral out of Penny’s control when she collapses at work, due to an unknown illness. She is ordered to take a complete break from her demanding and stressful role. A trip back to her family’s country farm is what the doctor orders. But Penny is worried about leaving her city life behind, including her lucrative marketing position and her boyfriend. When Penny returns to the country she faces a mixed bag of reactions. While her father is happy she is home, one of Penny’s sisters cannot contain her anger. She makes Penny’s return difficult, but Penny cannot understand why her sister is so pent up about her homecoming. Penny also faces outside issues. Her former boyfriend Tim, a man she has tried hard to forget, is back in her life. Tim has been working alongside Penny’s father on the farm and he makes his interest known in owning their family farm. When Penny’s father has to take a step back from the farming operations, this becomes even more pressing. Penny faces a difficult bind, although she loves her family home, she has worked hard to build a life for herself in the city, can she throw it all away for the sake of saving her family’s livelihood?
Australian rural fiction has gone from strength to strength over the years, building upon its popularity with readers. There are a number of key figures in the rural fiction field that continue to contribute to this enjoyable genre. It brings me great pleasure to introduce to a brand new voice in this category of Australian fiction. Maya Linnell is not an inexperienced writer by any means. Linnell’s background as a former rural journalist and her work as a blogger for Romance Writers Australia has put her in good standing to produce a new rural fiction novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am very much looking forward to what the future holds for this talented new author.
Penny is a fabulous lead, I need to say that first! She experiences the great highs and lows of her career, home life, love life and health issues. I thought Maya Linnell painted all these aspects of Penny’s life with plenty of authenticity and empathy. I really felt bad for Penny as she was almost forced to abandon a life she had worked so hard to attain and return back to the country. Penny’s tussle between her obvious love for her ambitious city life, as opposed to the comforts of country home life, was handled well by Linnell. As I have lived in the suburbs my whole life I have never had to face this particular life decision, but Maya Linnell allows the reader to snuggle right into Penny’s shoes for the duration of the novel. This experience broadened my mind and enhanced my response to the novel.
There is a big focus on family dynamics in this story. Linnell explores the McIntyre family’s history, which is defined by past hurts, sibling arguments, accusations and strong reactions. This aspect of Wildflower Ridge definitely kept me on my toes. There is a tragic back story involving Penny’s family and the sense of loss that follows this aspect of the story was covered well by Linnell.
Romance is just a side step in Wildflower Ridge. I felt that Linnell allowed the other more pressing aspects of the novel take centre stage, such as Penny’s health crisis and the immediate threat to the family farm. The romance has a nice second chance love tone to it. The added complication of Penny’s not so likeable city based boyfriend adds further complications to the romance at hand. I am sure rural romance fans will lap up the love story in this novel, it is full of heart.
Maya Linnell’s understanding and expertise in the way of rural property operations, with a particular emphasis on farming, is a standout feature in this novel. It is a pleasure to come away from a rural fiction novel with an increased understanding and a sense of appreciation for the hard work our farmers put in to keep their operations ticking over. This is the case in Wildflower Ridge, when a particular incident occurs, the immediate community and family bands together to ensure things stay afloat. On a side note, I loved the quirky sayings the characters came up with during these farming sequences!
Wildflower Ridge is a comfortable read from start to finish. This brand new rural fiction novel is told with plenty of heart and lashings of authenticity. Wildflower Ridge is a really wonderful place to start your Australian rural romance journey, and I do hope this is just the start of plenty of upcoming releases from Maya Linnell.
*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Wildflower Ridge is book #84 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this debut novel by Maya Linnell who is a new Australian author. To say it was a great read is quite frankly an understatement! For a debut novelist I was so impressed with her style of writing and felt totally invested in the characters within. The novel tells the story of Penny who left her family farm and became a top marketing executive living the high life with a great well paid job, city apartment living and a handsome boyfriend. When a mosquito bite leads to a diagnosis of Ross River Fever and leaves her collapsed on the floor during a meeting, she is advised to take time away from her life and recover. She returns to her family farm in the Victorian country where her father still runs the property and her 3 sisters live nearby. What she doesn’t expect to find is her ex-boyfriend who she left high and dry many years before, and he works on the property! I loved Tim’s character and also how much he cared for his brother who had a disability. When a tragic accident occurs Penny must decide whether to return to her old life and the stresses within or stay and take over running the property. And should she keep her long term boyfriend when she still harbors feelings for her old one. The author went to great lengths to set up the story in this book and I can see that it will become a series with the other three sisters having their own stories to tell in the future. This was an excellent rural story that had a lot of different elements to it, a bit of romance, some domestic violence, unfaithfulness, small town gossip and much more. The descriptions of life on a working sheep property were enjoyable as well as informative with the ups and downs that farmers go through. I am looking forward to see what Maya has to bring to her next novel. I’m so pleased that another quality Australian author has arrived! Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the ARC in exchange for an honest review
What a fabulous debut, I have been eager to read this one since it was released and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I have to say there were times that had me feeling like yelling at people and for me that is a what makes me love a book when the author gets me so involved with the characters whether it is crying or yelling the emotions flowed.
Penny McIntyre is a marketing executive in a firm in Melbourne and loves her high powered job although raised on a sheep station, the city is where she lives with her boyfriend Vince, but when she gets really sick and needs to convalesce for a few months she is sent back to Macintyre Park to recoup her health with the help of her father and three sisters. Penny is not at all happy to find that her old boyfriend Tim Patterson is now working there and helping run the farm, and there seems to be some tension between one of her sisters.
It is not long before Penny is starting to feel at home and much better, even if there are a few problems with Vince and workmates in the city, being around Tim is hard for Penny and then an accident on the farm with her father changes everything, with Tim wanting to buy the farm and one of her sisters Lara pushing for it, there is a lot of tension building and Penny needs to decide what it is she wants the country or the city.
This one was a page turner for me, I am the eldest of four girls although we are city girls, and there can be lots of ups and downs but in the end we are always there for each other, there was a lot of emotion for me throughout this book, it is moving and heartfelt, blood is thicker than water and family is everything and when crunch comes to crunch Penny stood tall and strong as did Tim he really is such a great hero, I loved him. There was a lot going on in this one and woohoo MS Linnell congrats on a fabulous story, this is one that I highly recommend.
I might be a little biased, considering I'm the author and this is my debut novel, but I'd love all readers to know this story comes straight from the heart, with the characters, settings and events framed by the people I've been lucky enough to know, the beautiful country towns I've called home and stories I covered as a rural journalist. I hope you love Penny's story and rest assured there are plenty more books to come!
Finally, I read the first book in the McIntyre sisters series and I loved it just as much as the next three that I've already read! I can hardly believe this is Maya’s debut novel!! A definite why did I wait so long to read this kind of read!!
It is lovely to now have met all of the McIntyre sisters and as always Maya has drawn me in from the get go once again! I love how reading Maya’s books makes me feel like I'm part of the McIntyre family and also makes me crave the rural life!
Penny left the family farm for life in the city, a marketing career with an upcoming promotion on the cards! She is devastated when a mystery illness ends her in hospital and sees her having to leave the city life and her boyfriend to head back to the family farm for three months to recover.
Returning to the farm , Penny is surprised to be greeted by none other than her ex boyfriend, Tim Patterson who is now working for Penny's father on the farm and the main reason she took off to the city to begin with.
Penny will soon have to make a hard choice between life back in the city or taking over the farm when her father is injured in a farming accident! Where will Penny's heart lead her?
Filled to the brim with lovable characters and a story line to keep you entertained and desperate to see how Penny's story ends... or perhaps begins!?!
Wildflower Ridge is the debut novel of Maya Linell, a country journalist who has lived in rural communities all her life.
The novel centres around the McIntyre family -four Sisters Penny, Lara, Diana and Angie, their Dad Angus and the family farm McIntyre Park Merino Stud based in the Grampians region of Victoria. This first novel opens with Penny in hospital after collapsing at work with a mystery illness, a driven career woman who has left her farm days behind and has never looked back. When she is advised she needs three months of bed rest to recover, her career driven partner Vince takes the opportunity to work away in Sydney. He organises to let out their apartment in his absence and contacts Penny’s family to come and get her to care for her back at the farm. Unable to work in her dream job or stay with her partner in their elegant apartment in Melbourne she has no choice but to trade the bright lights for the country and return home with them.
The family dynamic was realistic and made for easy reading, a city girl trying to find her place back at home with her siblings, Dad and ex-boyfriend Tim who is now a farm hand working at the farm. The McIntyre family were easy to relate to, like all families there was tension and arguments between the sisters but you felt the love and bond that existed between them all.
The characters that supported them were endearing and gave us a glimpse into life in a country town, where everyone knows everyone and nothing is private. I loved sassy Nanna Pearl, Tim’s Grandmother she made me smile many times. Throughout the novel we are introduced to all the sisters and I was glad to hear each of the girls will have their own story, I do love this concept as I feel you get invested in the characters and want to know more about them.
When Penny is due to return home, an accident involving her father on the farm makes her reassess her priorities and how strong the pull to the farm is for her, can she just walk away when they need her the most?
Penny’s relationship with Tim is within the story but I would not say it is all about romance, it is about mending bridges and Penny finding out what is important in a relationship and knowing her worth.
The writing is flawless and so engaging and will be popular with fans of Rural Fiction. The location itself becomes a character, and Maya describes it so you feel like you are there looking out over the farm and taking that trip to Wildflower Ridge with Penny. I highly recommend this book and have loved sharing and telling anyone I know how great it is. Heartfelt, engaging, real and contemporary are the words I would use to describe Wildflower Ridge a fantastic novel that leaves readers wanting more.
I loved this debut rural romance from an Australian author who writes from the heart. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy of this beautiful story from Allen and Unwin and I could not put it down. Penny McIntyre is a corporate high flyer who is felled by a mystery illness. She is forced to return to her family farm, Wildflower Ridge, to recuperate. Here we meet Penny's three sisters, her father and her first love, Tim, who inconveniently is now working at her family farm . You'll learn to love the friendly and well meaning inhabitants of this small country town. Will Penny return to the Big Smoke and her live- in boyfriend? Will the rifts in her family heal? Will Penny be able to withstand the onslaught of small town gossip and her growing attraction to Tim? You will really care about the McIntyre's, their friends and family. Maya Linnell has written a masterful and moving tale of endings, new beginnings and love. She knows her subject and , as a former journalist, her writing is flawless and very believable. My family were also happy as Maya's descriptions of baking encouraged me to don my apron and get busy making tasty treats in the kitchen. Wildflower Ridge is rural fiction at its best. This will be the first of many novels from this talented Australian. Can't wait to see what's next!
I don’t normally read romance novels, so wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one. But, I was first sucked in by the beautiful visualization of the books country setting, the descriptions taking me back to my own childhood so accurately. Soon enough the story had me captured and I couldn’t put it down. I love finding a book that I can’t put down, and I loved this book.
Debut Australian authors really are doing wonderful things as evident in Maya Linnell's first novel Wildflower Ridge. There is nothing I didn't love about this book. It's one of those novels where you fall asleep thinking about the characters. Linnell has written an exceptional story that is both unique and heartwarming. Set in the beautiful Grampians region of Victoria Australia, Linnell pulls you into the McIntyre Park farm setting so effectively that you feel as if you are right there. With an authentic cast of characters you will grow to love, Wildflower Ridge is a moving page-turner that will stir emotions. And as much as you want to know what happens, you also won't want the story to end. If you love strong character-driven women's fiction, you will love Maya Linnell's Wildflower Ridge.
This first novel from Maya Linnell was exactly what I thought it would be, plus so much more! A rural romance with real feeling and strong characters, and a few twists along the way.
The story starts with Penny, a highly dedicated marketing professional in Melbourne, who suddenly falls ill. Her loving and also professional boyfriend packs her off home to the family property in rural Victoria to recuperate and be cared for by her family. Naturally, Penny is not impressed and she wants her old life back. Dealing with the various family members and her ex, Tim Patterson, Penny’s high-school boyfriend who now works for Penny’s father on the family farm are complications she didn’t need.
Whilst this is not an unusual theme for rural romance novels, Maya Linnell’s writing creates a thoroughly enjoyable story, and the relationships Penny has with her father and her three sisters, are all engaging stories of their own, and not just a distraction along the way of the romance.
This is a great first novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the developing relationships, the drama and the laughs and the various characters in the novel. There is so much more to read in this book and I am looking forward to Maya Linnell’s next book!
ThankYou to Allen and Unwin and Beauty and Lace for a copy of this book.
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for my free copy. This books has a lot of the romancey tropes I love - big city business person comes back to their country home town (leaving behind their terrible boy/girlfriend), high school sweethearts reunite and everyone can see they should be together except them. But, just when I thought this was all banter, baking, and biceps, the story took an unexpected turn and got quite thriller-y. Overall it was a fun read, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Maya has in store for us and the McIntyre sisters next! *Content warning for domestic violence
This was a great read! There was so much I loved about this book and so much that felt very, very real. The family politics, the farming take-over dramas, it was really well done. Also, the baking in this book inspired me to spend more time in the kitchen. I really enjoyed spending time with the McIntyre family and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out!
I lost myself in ‘Wildflower Ridge’. A beautiful novel, full of love, fun, excitement, cooking and country flair. Really captures the essence of what country farm living in Australia is all about. Love keeping up with Maya’s posts, always a reminder that life is to be enjoyed, do what makes you happy and enjoy the simple pleasures!
I loved the beautiful way Maya created romance through the rural setting, the distinctive and vibrant development of dynamic and commanding characters against the back drop of arresting country side. Like the changeable weather, the plot took unexpected twists and turns, dips and climbs keeping me turning the pages and clinging to each word.
First of all thank you to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read and review the debut novel by Maya Linnell Wildflower Ridge.
From the moment I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down. The storyline was intriguing and roped me in to find out more and more.
I love the rural settings of books and very much enjoyed the twists and turns along the way for this book. Not a lot of romance but a good lead up to it. I look forward to more books in the future. Well done on a great debut Maya.
Wow, 'Wildflower Ridge' had me biting my nails as the suspense grew between the pages. Linnell has a brilliant way with words, making the reader feel the emotions of Penny and Tim as the story unfolds between them. Penny's troubles undoubtedly becomes the reader's as one roots for the main character to 'see the light' and make the right choice. 'Wildflower Ridge' is a must read for anyone who loves the Australian country setting and real-life issues that affect many a family. Can't wait to read more of Linnell's work in the near future!
Penny McIntyre is a highly successful executive in a corporate world with all the accoutrements that go with it, including her corporate boyfriend. Life is good and she has her whole future mapped out.
Things don't go to plan, as she becomes ill and reluctantly has to return to the family farm, and all the problems she left behind, including her ex-boyfriend and family, to recuperate. She counts down the weeks until she can return to the life she loves. Life is not easy on the farm and there are many hurdles she must overcome especially when her father has an accident. Can she pull on her gum boots and help run the farm or does she turn tail and run back to the city?
This novel is contemporary fiction at it's finest. Beautifully written with strong characters and a true depiction of life on a farm with all its trials, tribulations, hardship and sadness. But there is also faith, love, family and laughter. I loved this book and didn't want it to end. I can't wait to read her next book. Thank you Maya.
Yes, I’m reading this series out of order - oops! But after reading & thoroughly enjoying the 4th and last book in the series, PAPERBARK HILL, earlier this year I had to go back to the start to discover all the stories of the McIntyre sisters.
WILDFLOWER RIDGE is book one and it was really interesting to see where this series all began and compare it to what I know of its end. The characterisation of some of the sisters, from what I know of the conclusion, was really surprising and I’m so interested to see how their upcoming stories change them as the series evolves.
WILDFLOWER RIDGE was quite a drama-filled book with conflicts throughout and a really surprising turn that I didn’t see coming for this rural romance series!
Maya Linnell absolutely has me dreaming of running away to the country, baking all day and getting mixed up in small town life with this series. I love the escapism I get by diving into her books & I can’t wait to read the remaining two books, BOTTLEBRUSH CREEK & MAGPIE’S BEND - and anything else that Maya writes!
~ I do love a story set in a rural community. I didn't grow up on a farm but I did grow up in and small rural town. I also moved away to a 'city'. There were many moments and characters I could connect with. @maya.linnell.writes sure has a way with words allowing her readers to visualise what they are reading with carefully crafted similes and metaphors. You feel like you are a McIntyre right there on their farm living and breathing their struggles. Penny is a strong female character who you will admire. The family dynamics anyone could connect with. There is tragedy, drama, and love. Told from different perspectives. I also love how their thoughts are included in cursive. A great story. Read it.
What a fantastic debut novel from Maya Linnell. The pace doesn't drop for a second in this story about family, rural life and new beginnings. I particularly enjoyed the depiction of Penny, and the description of her recovery from a mystery illness while coming to terms with a major change in her career, love life and revisiting a past she had thought she wanted to leave behind. I loved how the crescendo built with a level of intrigue, a great unexpected plot twist and a little bit of the thriller about what had first seemed a cozy rural novel. My only tiny regret was (and it's very personal, so no loss of stars here), I would have loved the relationship between Tim and Penny to have got a little more time on the page. But I have to admit my bias of being a complete romance junkie here. Maya Linnell is a fresh new talent in the Australian rural romance genre and I can't wait to read her next novel.