Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Granite Springs #3

The Life She Wants

Rate this book
She’s a strait-laced, inhibited career woman. He’s an aging hippie who acts without thinking. What could they possibly have in common?

Fran Reilly has hidden a secret sorrow for the past thirty years. But turning fifty and losing her mother forces her to re-evaluate her future. Returning to her home in Granite Springs, she’s determined to make changes to her well-ordered life. However there are more changes in store than she could ever have imagined.

When Owen Larsen applies for the position as Head of the new School of Music and Drama at the university in Granite Springs, his only concern is to leave the rat race of Sydney and find a more peaceful existence in the country.

Owen is the exact opposite of everything in Fran’s well-ordered world and reminds her of a past she has been at pains to forget. And Owen’s country idyll isn’t proving to be as peaceful as he imagined.

Can these two opposites find common ground and is there a future for them in Granite Springs?

The Life She Wants is the third book in the Granite Springs series set in a small Australian country town.

If you enjoy heartwarming second chance tales of love in later life, you’ll love this book.

Kindle Edition

Published March 9, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Maggie Christensen

34 books121 followers
After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her frequent visits to family in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them.
From her native Glasgow, Scotland, Maggie was lured by the call ‘Come and teach in the sun’ to Australia,where she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!
She continues her love of books as a volunteer with her local library where she selects and delivers books to the housebound.
A member of Queensland Writer’s Centre, RWA, ALLi, and a local critique group, Maggie enjoys meeting her readers at book signings and library talks. In 2014 she self-published Band of Gold and The Sand Dollar, Book One in the Oregon Coast Series, in 2015, The Dreamcatcher, Book Two in the Oregon Coast Series and Broken Threads, and in 2016, Madeline House, book Three in the Oregon Coast Series

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
92 (61%)
4 stars
43 (28%)
3 stars
11 (7%)
2 stars
2 (1%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Sharon.
969 reviews187 followers
October 27, 2020
Just when I believed this series couldn’t get any better, along comes The Life She Wants. I simply can’t seem to get enough of this series (Granite Springs). Aussie Author Maggie Christensen is one gifted lady who really knows how to draw her readers in.

If you love reading books set in small country towns, then I suggest you take a look at this series. A truly delightful and very entertaining read which I thoroughly relished. Highly recommend.

Profile Image for Brenda.
4,027 reviews2,628 followers
March 2, 2020
Fran Reilly had just arrived back from London where she’d spent six months caring for her mother in her final days. Now back in Granite Springs and preparing to return to work at the University, she was surprised with an offer to become PA for the new – as yet unfilled – head of the School of Music and Drama which was almost completed. The Head and staff were being selected, but Nick, her boss at the university, was keen to have Fran in the role.

Owen Larsen had applied for the position in the small town of Granite Springs. He liked the sound of it all but thought he would dispense with the title of Professor – his laid-back persona meant he wasn’t too keen on being addressed by his title. When Owen was notified of his success in achieving the role, he happily packed up his belongings and left Sydney for the country, his only regret leaving his daughter Pia behind.

Would Fran and Owen be able to work together? Fran didn’t think so when she first laid eyes on her new boss. With the heartache from thirty years prior threatening to re-surface, Fran wasn’t sure what was happening in her life. But with Kay and Jo closing ranks around Fran, it might be time to welcome change…

The Life She Wants is the 3rd in the Granite Springs series by Aussie author Maggie Christensen and once again, I loved it. Ms Christensen’s characters are real; they’re the people we pass in the street every day; the people we have coffee with at the local café – they’re you and me (if you’re the right age 😉) A novel of second chances set in rural Australia, The Life She Wants is one I recommend highly.

With thanks to the author for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews.
1,878 reviews266 followers
July 23, 2020

‘He wondered what had brought her here – to Australia and Granite Springs – in the first place, and what had made her stay. He had the distinct feeling there was some secret in her past.’

Granite Springs welcomes back readers with open arms for a third time in The Life She Wants. A wholesome and tender tale, Maggie Christensen’s third issue in the heartwarming Granite Springs series is a story of past sorrows, new beginnings, second chances and life changes.

Fran Reilly leads the action in The Life She Wants. A career woman who carries a great deal of past grief, Fran has suffered many setbacks in her life. After the loss of her mother, Fran decides to go back to her roots and she returns to the township of Granite Springs. Despite the sadness in her heart, Fran is set on making some vital changes in her life, an overhaul of sorts. But in re-evaluating her life, some unexpected events are thrown Fran’s way, which takes her by surprise. Another new resident to Granite Springs is Owen Larsen. Owen has recently attained a lucrative position at the University of Granite Springs in the Music department. Owen is keen to make a tree change following his hectic former life in Sydney. When these polar opposites connect, something sparks between them. Life throws some unexpected hurdles, as Owen and Fran learn through their new lives in Granite Springs.

It was nice to be invited back to meet the crowd, old and new of Maggie Christensen’s Granite Springs series. In The Life She Wants, we reconnect with some familiar faces and we are also acquainted with a set of fresh faces. There is always a sense of familiarity and pleasantry that comes with a new Maggie Christensen novel and The Life She Wants was exactly what I expected.

The heroine of this new tale from Maggie Christensen is quite a hurt soul. As the book begins its journey we learn of Fran’s past hurts, losses and setbacks in life. It is no wonder that Fran holds back and refuses to give herself to anyone. I really didn’t blame Fran for staying guarded after learning more about her life experiences! As with many of Christensen’s stories, readers will most likely connect to Fran’s hardships and general experiences. There is plenty of realism to the situations the characters face in The Life She Wants.

The male lead of this tale is Owen Larsen. Owen struck me as a kind of alternative, hippy like character, who displayed plenty of honesty, care and appreciation as the story progressed. I really liked how Christensen deliberately chose to pit these two very different souls together, it seemed unlikely at first that Fran and Owen would make any kind of connection. However, in a surprising move, the two manage to prove us wrong and eventually love sparks. Christensen is no stranger to the second chance and mature age love story. Christensen pulls out all the stops and I’m confident readers will appreciate all this romantic story has to offer.

Underlying the romance is a hearty look at a number of further issues that the characters in this story must contend with. There is a strong focus on loss and grief, while Christensen also examines family dynamics, workplace issues, trust, friendship and tree changes. The impact of a local bushfire in the region provides the cast with more problems to contend with. The Life She Wants is book full of life challenges that we bear witness to as the narrative unfurls.

A quick nod to the spirited animals in this issue of the series. The goats really sole the show and I enjoyed meeting the local wildlife of the region, these inserts reminded me of just how appealing Granite Springs is, even though it is a fictional country locale.

Take a stroll back to Granite Springs if you are a return visitor, or take a chance on this picturesque and inviting country town if you are new to the series. The Life She Wants is another charming issue in Maggie Christensen’s feature series.

*I wish to thank the author, Maggie Christensen, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Life She Wants is book #85 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge
Profile Image for Kathleen.
874 reviews
July 28, 2021

*Special thanks to Maggie Christensen for an ARC of her novel, THE LIFE SHE WANTS, which enabled me to read it and write this unbiased review.

THE LIFE SHE WANTS is the third book in THE GRANITE SPRINGS series by Maggie Christensen. I enjoyed the previous two novels in this series THE LIFE SHE DESERVES, and THE LIFE SHE CHOOSES. So, I was pleased to revisit Granite Springs, a fictional country town in New South Wales, Australia and get "caught up" with what was taking place in the lives of some familiar characters like Joanna and Colin Ford, Kay Jackson, Professor Nick Kerr and Magda.
Maggie Christensen is 'the queen of mature age fiction' and her characters are so realistic and well developed that they "step off the page". I liked Fran Reilly, Owen Larsen, his daughter, Pia, Kay, Joanna, Professor Nick Kerr, the Golden Labrador Scout, Oscar and Lucinda the cats and the kitten Stormy. I disliked Owen's bossy and interfering ex wife, Brit, Pia's obnoxious lawyer boyfriend, Darren, and Ron Harris, a sarcastic music professor with a chip on his shoulder.
This very moving story touched themes of grief, trust, revenge, love, friendship, families, premarital pregnancy, and second chances.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fast paced story and highly recommend it to all who like heartwarming stories of second chances.
5 stars ⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️

Posted Goodreads
Profile Image for Helen.
2,183 reviews12 followers
March 6, 2020
I do love visiting Granite Springs, this fabulous small town in New South Wales, there are such lovely people living here and catching up with friends is always fun, this time we see Fran Reilly long -time resident of Granite Springs meet the man who will steal her heart, help her see how good life can be, I hope you will come along for the journey.

Fran has lived here for many years after an accident changed her life and she decided to stay, she has always felt comfortable here, but closely held her secrets, she has a good job as PA at the university, but when she has to dash back to England to care for her very ill mother on her return she decides that making a change in her life is what she needs to do and into her life walks her new boss Owen Larson.

Owen has applied for a new job as the head of Music and Drama at the Granite Springs University, this will be a big change for Owen who has always lived in the city, but he has been divorced for many years and his daughter is an adult in her own relationship so time for a change. He is thrilled to get the position and decides that living on acreage is what he wants, this is done when he gets to house sit for six months he meets lots of new people who become friends and he is very drawn to his new PA, Fran and really wants to get to know her better.

MS Christensen really knows how to bring her characters to life, they are very easy to become friends with to feel their emotions and to be cheering them on, feeling their joy and their ups and downs. Fran and Owen are so very different but very attracted to each other, it is not long before Fran is opening up like she has never done before and to see their love grow had me turning the pages. It was lovely catching up with Jo and Col and Nick and Kay in this visit and I am really looking forward to more stories set in this fabulous town where mature people find their soul mates and the happiness that they all deserve, thank you MS Christensen for another keeper. I do highly recommend this story and the series.
2,837 reviews19 followers
March 4, 2020
Can Fran stop fixating on a tragic past she can't change?😕

I really took to this slight departure from Maggie Christensen's typical story about mature women splitting their energy between their family and new prospects for love. Fran, the heroine here, is a mature single woman who is still mired in the devastation of losing her youthful love, their unborn child and the possibility of ever having children.

Christensen's picture of a woman drifting through an anesthetized life to prevent more hurt is moving, as is the way Fran faces her fears and starts cultivating new friendships and letting a new, vibrant man in her life after an extended trip to her native England. That's not to say family woes don't crop up as Owen, Fran's new boss, is divorced with a grown daughter with issues and annoyingly persistent ex.

I really get caught up in these interconnected stories about the over fifties living in small-town Granite Springs. The main characters of the two previous Granite Springs novels are back in supporting roles, but they fit seamlessly into Fran's standalone story which can easily be read without reference to the prior books. A bush fire provides a realistic, dramatic and timely touch, leaving some scars in the community, but it does not dominate the story.

An enjoyable and thoughtful novel from one of my favorite authors of women's fiction. The Australian setting makes it that much better in my book!🤗
Profile Image for Janine.
587 reviews28 followers
October 15, 2020
We return to Granite Springs this time with Fran who recently returned back home after an extended period in the UK following the death of her mother. She is looking forward to returning to her role as a PA at the University but when she comes back she is informed that she has another role within the University as PA to a new Professor in the new Music and Drama campus.

Whilst initially being a bit taken back by this she soon gets to meet Owen who arrives very disheveled and disorganised but she is the consummate professional and looks on this new role as a challenge! She soon starts to see Owen in a different light and the sparks eventually fly between them.

Fran has secrets from her past that still torment her and she has shutdown herself to a lot of people around her, but makes new friends and helps Owen move into a 6 month farm housesit as well. Throw into that a jealous colleague, a pregnant daughter, a bushfire and a potential takeover of the local choir and you had a story that kept me turning the pages until the very end.

Nice to return to Granite Springs and also catch up with the characters of the previous two novels as well.
173 reviews
March 11, 2020
Heart warming is a perfect description of this book and series. This is the 3rd book in the Granite Hills series and every bit as great as the first two stories. Granite Hills is a small country town but very busy and keeps including new comers as it's own. Somehow I feel I can visit this place even though I know it's fictional. Maybe I just want to visit! The characters are exceptional and I feel at home with them all. They come with problems from the past and are dealing with old and new issues with exceptional grace. Could be this makes them even more real.
I love this new series, it seems like home. Fran and Owen's story is well done. I can't believe Maggie Christensen has chosen an aging hippie and a reserved woman as the topic and tucks them together seamlessly in a story I didn't want to end. I'm really looking forward to the next in this series, "The Life She Finds".
Profile Image for Lena West.
Author 14 books3 followers
March 4, 2020
This beautifully crafted book, while a great read for any age group, is particularly relevant to the Baby Boomer generation who've 'been there, done that' and are still leading full, active lives; as are Fran and Owen and their friends in Granite Springs. Life, and especially love, don't come to a halt when the magic 50 is behind us, as Maggie illustrates in her stories of second time around romances, sea-changes and tree-changes.
Her characters and settings are so true to life, they are instantly familiar to the reader. I'm sure I've been to more than one real-life Granite Springs, and can't wait to read the next book in this heart-warming series.

I received an ARC of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
724 reviews
February 26, 2020
Maggie C has done it again. In this third book of the Granite Springs series, we meet Fran, the impeccably dressed administrative assistant with ramrod straight posture and an outward demeanor that implies "don't get too close.". Much to her dismay, she is appointed by the university vice chancellor to work along side Owen, the newly head of the new School of Music and Drama. He's nothing like Fran pictured - he's actually a disorganized, hippie type with a man bun! But Owen's outgoing, kind and refreshing ways begin to work their magic into Fran's heart.

As a senior aged woman, I can relate to these friends of Fran's whom we've met in the previous books - still loving life, still loving their families, and still wanting an intimate relationship. It's not too late. All of these people have emotional baggage. Fran's been carrying her baggage for almost 30 years while Owen seemingly moved on from his, or has he? You just can't live 50+years without it, but it's how you choose to get beyond it that's so vitally important. Maggie C is brilliant at turning lonely souls into vibrant, resilient people whom I'd like to have as friends. I truly love her writing and heartily recommend this book!

(The author's inclusion of a Bushfire is certainly timely. May we all support and pray for those who have been affected.)
722 reviews
March 17, 2020
Another excellent story by one of my favorite authors! Ms. Christensen always creates characters that I wish were real and I could hang out with. Her stories are considered second chance romances, but they are so much more. The friendships that develop in addition to the main storyline are what keep me coming back for more. I never read her books fast, because I want to enjoy them as long as possible.

I received an ARC from the author so I could provide a review.
Profile Image for Craig / Phil.
1,254 reviews45 followers
September 25, 2020
Opposites attract in this mature age love story of taking a chance and moving on from the past.
Fran Reilly has just returned to Granite Springs from London after caring for her dying mother.
Back at work at the University she has been offered a new position as a PA for the head of Music and Drama.
Owen Larsen is starting a new job and is the exact opposite of the very organised Fran and moving from the city to the country is everything Owen’s been waiting for.
After a rocky start, can these two new lovebirds have a happy ever after or are they too different ?
Granite Springs, the little country town where there’s friends and drama and it’s always a pleasure to visit.
Walking down the main street you will bump into Jo and Col, Nick and Kay from previous books and most of the community.
It’s like returning to a warm cup of tea that you have been enjoying.
It’s great to get all involved in these interconnected older love tales that are original, relatable and full of realistic issues and situations.
A fast paced heartwarming story that proves at any age it can be stormy and complicated to get your forever love.

105 reviews
February 23, 2020
Renew your acquaintance with pass characters and immerse yourself into the lives of Fran and Owen. You will not want to put down this more mature couples’ journey.
392 reviews17 followers
February 25, 2020
I loved this book , it was an easy read , with interesting well rounded mature characters. Maggie Christensen takes the reader to a small university town where Owen is appointed to set up the new music department, shifting out of Sydney to take up the position . He and his PA Fran find themselves drawn to one another but obstacles get in the way of their relationship developing and it appears they have no future together. The author has included a bush fire in the story and this makes the book very real after the devastating fires throughout Australia this year.
I am grateful to receive this e copy of The Life She Wants in return for a review and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a family story , and it was particularly pleasing to be set in a more remote area , as so many books are set in cities. I loved the antics with the animals , just interesting things which happen to those of us who have animals, but also the concern of the owners of the animals surrounded by the fire was so realistic .
A thoroughly good read and the cover is stunning.
Profile Image for Janet Graham.
2,081 reviews3 followers
March 1, 2020
Finding Love at Fifty
This is a sweet and clean piece of Women's Literature that was a joy to read. The story has some very deep aspects that all of the characters need to contemplate. The story is quite believable. The many characters are so alike many people of my acquaintance. As an older reader, I can relate to much of the story. I received this ARC from the author for free. This is my honest review.
February 27, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this book, but then I have enjoyed all of Maggie Christensen’s books, they are well written, and always heart warming with good story lines.

Fran Reilly returns to Granite springs after recovering from a major accident where her boyfriend Ben was killed and where she also suffered injury. She resumes work in the university there and the story follows her life, work and love in a country town.

This is the third book in the series in the fictional town of Granite Springs and I am very happy to recommend it
Profile Image for Anne.
1,776 reviews
June 1, 2020
I very much look forward to my visits to Granite Springs – the university campus, the cafes and shops, the smallholdings in the surrounding countryside are beginning to feel like home, somewhere I feel comfortable and happy. And I now think of some of its residents as my friends too – every book in this lovely series can be read quite happily as a standalone, but I particularly enjoy meeting again characters from earlier books that I feel I now know so well. It’s like spending precious time with friends, and there are few things that are much better – particularly when it’s been impossible real-life friends for a while.

And now I have two new friends in Fran and Owen. If you read The Life She Chooses, you might remember that Fran was Nick’s PA, taking leave of absence to deal with her mother’s death – and on her return, rather than resuming her previous job, she’s assigned to support the incoming professor in the newly built School of Music and Drama (immediately dubbed “the MAD house” by its students). Rather than choosing an internal candidate for the job – which creates quite a stir, and sets up a few nice bits of internal politics and downright skullduggery – they choose Owen, an external candidate keen to start a new life in a rural setting. He might not make the best first impression – but shared morning coffee and croissants soon see Fran relaxing a little, and their relationship slowly starts to build.

I really liked Fran – she’s a little broken, with real sadness in her past, and protects herself and keeps her distance by constructing a hard shell around herself, letting few people in. But shells can crack and shatter, and I liked the way her friendships were slowly built every bit as much as the way the central relationship developed. And I liked Owen too – there’s a lovely warmth and enthusiasm about him, and a gentleness that’s perhaps not at first apparent, well developed in his tentative steps closer to Fran and in his relationship with his troubled daughter. I liked very much the ease with which the author explored both characters, sharing their thoughts, making them very real and multi-faceted, people you grow to really care about.

The setting is so wonderfully drawn – I felt present in every scene, could feel the heat of the sun and breathe the air, as I sat with Owen watching the antics of the herd of goats or enjoyed seeing the lorikeets feed on the spikes of the grevillea. And when there’s a natural disaster that causes a threat to both life and property, that’s incredibly vividly described too, with a real sense of danger that has you on the edge of your seat.

The emotional content is excellent – Fran slowly unbuttoning and unfurling, sometimes struggling with the shadows of her past, Owen’s reactions to every new challenge wholly real and easy to sympathise with. And it’s always good to see the baggage that always accompanies a later life relationship, so easy to identify with, so realistically portrayed.

Character-driven stories do rather depend on the believability and strength of the characters, and there are few writers who do it much better than Maggie Christensen. I loved this one: if you haven’t yet discovered her writing, I’d really recommend you spend some time in Granite Springs. I think you might just like it there as much as I do.
17 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2020
Book 3 of a great series

Another great instalment of this fantastic series set in Granite Springs, Fran's story does not disappoint. This series has the potential to go on & on and I would not get bored with it at all.
7 reviews
April 6, 2020
Excellent Read!

Maggie has done it again. Great storyline with interesting characters. The background of each person was explained while telling the story. Hard to put down.
August 27, 2021
The Life She Wants

I truly enjoyed all three of her novels so far; however, the ending of all three were too abrupt. It was life falling off a cliff with parachute.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.