Author: Fiona Palmer
Genre: Rural Romance
Publication Date: 23rd September 2015
Book Source: Penguin Books Australia
Synopsis: Schoolteacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.
When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.
As Nat's school comes under threat of closure, and Billy's estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she's really made of – and where she truly belongs.My Thoughts:
My first time reading Fiona Palmer, surprising, since I'm actually familiar with a few of her titles. Anyway, not only was this a delightful rural romance with wonderfully endearing characters, The Saddler Boys has substance, highlighting topical issues of domestic violence, single parenting, rural school closures and small town viability.
Set in the actual town of Lake Biddy in Western Australia, 22 year old Nat leaves her family and boyfriend Greg in Perth to take up her first teacher's posting at the small country school. While unfamiliar with remote rural life, she's enthusiastic, genuine about embracing the experience and she's warmly welcomed by the locals ...
None more so than 8 year old student Billy who blossoms under Nat's instruction and compassionate nature. My heart melted at the first mention of little Billy and when we learn of his Nana's death from metastatic melanoma, I was undone. My boys had a beautiful bond with their Nana who died from Melanoma 7 years ago.
Palmer's passion for the rural landscape is vivid on the page, farming, shearing, seeding, P&C fundraisers, the genuine sense of community, neighbourly generosity and compassion. I loved that almost as much as I loved the bond developing between Nat and the Saddler boys, Billy and hardworking single dad, Drew. The Saddler boys, big and little won my heart!
Family, friendship, love and community with a thoroughly authentic Australian flavour.
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