Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Billabong Bend by Jennifer Scoullar

Title: Billabong Bend
Author: Jennifer Scoullar
Genre: Contemporary Rural Fiction
Publication Date: 28th May 2014
Pages: 312
Book Source: Penguin Books Aust & NetGalley

Synopsis: For Nina Moore, the rare marshland flanking the beautiful Bunyip River is the most precious place on earth. Her dream is to buy Billabong Bend and protect it forever, but she's not the only one with designs on the land. When her childhood sweetheart Ric returns home, old feelings are rekindled, and Nina dares to dream of a future for both of them on the river. But a tragic death divides loyalties and threatens to tear apart their fledgling romance.

This star-crossed rural romance sets Nina, a floodplains grazier, and Ric, a traditional cotton farmer, on a heart-rending collision course, amid the beauty of northern NSW. 

My Thoughts: 
I was lucky enough to discover Jennifer Scoullar's gorgeous writing in 2013 with Currawong Creek. This year it's Billabong Bend and I am crushing on the loveliness. Jennifer Scoullar's love of nature literally oozes from the pages, the beautiful descriptiveness puts you right there, soaking it all in. 

The dawn chorus of birdsong and the smell of dew-damp leaves. The steam curling from the reedy river. The hushed expectancy and mysterious early landscape of shadow and light. 

Cotton farming, water stealing and drought necessitate a different approach to farming and Nina is doing that and more with her property Red Gums in the Murray-Darling Basin region of NSW. She's a floodplains grazier, passionate about rehabilitation of the Bunyip River and her land and preserving the wetlands of neighbouring Billabong Bend as a wildlife sanctuary. 

Ric returns to his father's cotton farm bringing with him the daughter he's only just met. Sophie is a precocious, endearing 9 year old. It was easy to understand the bond quickly forged with Nina over a mutual love of animals and a thirst for learning about nature whilst the connection between father and daughter was a little more challenging to establish.    

Billabong Bend is a delicate balance of family dynamics, river stories, environmental issues and romance. The re-kindled relationship between Nina and Ric felt authentic, both the chemistry and the stumbling blocks to their happiness. 

I love Jennifer Scoullar's passionate and respectful approach to the environment; rehabilitation, conservation and sustainability and it was impossible not to be caught up in Nina's love of all the species dependent on the wetlands.  

There were so many tender, sigh-worthy moments that had me tearing up ... the rare magpie geese being taught to fly and Guddu's story being just two. 

I'm not ready to say goodbye ... any chance of a sequel??

PS. with yet another beautiful story Jennifer Scoullar goes on my auto-buy list. 

Connect with Jennifer Scoullar

Purchase Billabond Bend
@Penguin Aust


  1. This read sounds delightful Teddyree. I am grateful for your review because this is an author I've not come across before. Definitely adding to the TBR pile.

    1. You have to read Jennifer's books Karen, I know you'll love them. You can borrow Currawong Creek, I have it in paperback :)

  2. Replies
    1. totally recommend both Jennifer's books I've read Julie :)

  3. Replies
    1. I'll have to check when it's available internationally in print, I know you're not a fan of ebooks.

  4. Nice! Sounds like a great read. And with a main character that has the same name, you can't go wrong. Lol. :) Great review.

    1. haha absolutely Nina, you are meant to read it ;)

  5. I love when stories incorprate nature preservation into the plot! Looks good.

    1. In that case Stacy, Billabong Bend would be perfect for you :)

  6. Sounds like a great story and by an author I've never heard of. Looks like I must go book shopping.


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