Thursday, July 23, 2015

Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer ~ Review & Giveaway

Title: Heart of the Country
Author: Tricia Stringer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1st May 2015
Pages: 512
Book Source: Harlequin Mira

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.

My Thoughts:
My first time reading Australian author Tricia Stringer and Heart of the Country appears to be her first foray into adult historical fiction. Historical fiction being one of my favourite genres to read and me being a self-confessed-fussy-cow I gotta say, Tricia Stringer nails it!

Heart of the Country is set in the mid 1800's during pastoral settlement of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. We follow young Thomas Baker as he strikes out for 'Penakie' and a new life. 

There's a wide cast of characters to love and loathe but I particularly adored Thomas and Lizzie, Gulda and Daisy and Lizzie's brothers Zac and Jacob. I laughed and cried along with them as life and the land dished out joys and hardships. I giggled at Thomas's embarrassment getting a boil lanced on his backside, sighed at the sheer vastness and beauty of our country and wished a 'bad' end on a few vile characters HA. 

Stringer captures the wild beauty and ruggedness of our country, the harsh conditions and isolation, the scorching heat, drought that brings the country to its knees, the loss of livestock, the very human toll but also the camaraderie between (most) properties despite the distance. I loved the respect shown to the culture of original land owners but I also appreciated that Stringer didn't gloss over the often negative and shameful encounters between white settlers and indigenous Australians.  

Heart of the Country is authentic, vibrant and colourful, full of tension, and tender moments. 500 pages flew by. No hardship reading this one ... I loved it!

I loved that Heart of the Country had a satisfying ending, no cliffhanger to torture me for a year and I can't wait to see what awaits the next generation. 

Maybe a little Tricia Stringer rural romance while I wait for the 2nd installment?



Connect with Tricia Stringer











Giveaway: 
I'm excited ... up for grabs 3 copies of Heart of the Country for readers of my blog. Just leave a comment telling me how Heart of the Country calls out to you? 

2 x print copies - Australia
1 x eBook copy - international (Amazon gift)

Extra Entries: 
+ 2 tweet giveaway and leave a link

Giveaway ends 2nd August and winner will be announced on my blog. Good luck everyone!



23 comments:

  1. Oh this sounds delightful. I love the setting and time period. I am a suckered for these type novels ;)

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    1. YAY .. good luck in the giveaway KImberly

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  2. I have been aware of Tricia Stringer but haven't read anything by her. Have just added it to my Goodreads and wishlist at Amazon. I have her Queen of the Road in mind too for this year as it starts with Q! That's contemporary, this historical one sounds good too. Oh dear! I am a sucker! Great review.

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    1. Me too Kathryn, I have Queen of the Road on my kindle. Heart of the Country being a winner was just the incentive I needed to read her backlist :)

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  3. I have always loved to hear the tales of how & when my family came to Australia. I think that in particular I will find this story most relates to how my English Grandmother found Australia. She struggled.

    Love that we will be reading about a number of generations over the books.

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    1. I have my grandfather's diary Mary, he came out on a ship from England and settled into farming the land. It's a tough life ... still is.

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  4. This sounds WONDERFUL!! I love me a great historical book!!!!!!

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    1. I hope you get to give it a try Julie, it's your cup of tea for sure :)

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  5. Bought it. Read it. Loved it. A great read by a great Australian author!

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    1. yay so glad you loved it too ... really looking forward to book 2 :)

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  6. Must be so much of history in this book. Please count me in for this e book! Thank you for making it open to all. Much appreciated.

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    1. I don't read a lot of Australian historical fiction so was a nice change. Thanks for stopping by Mystica :)

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  7. As a city girl, anything country calls to me! meredithfl at gmail dot com USA

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    1. I love your reason, it's like getting a 'sea change' lol

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  8. This sounds a great book. Historical fiction set in rural South Australia really appeals to me.

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    1. I'm sure you'd love Heart of the Country Odette!

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  9. This sounds like a book I would love to read.I love stories of early Australia.

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    1. I hope you love this one as much as I did Jo

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  10. I love historical fiction. I always learn something!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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  11. Winners announced on Monday post ... 3 days to respond or new winners will be drawn. Hope you all love this one as much as I did :)

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