Rated Reads

Wildflower Hill

by Kimberley Freeman

Rated: Mild

Emma has loved to dance since she was a little girl. Now, after a successful career as a ballerina, she finds her world seemingly at an end because of a knee injury. When she goes back home from London to Australia, she learns that her beloved grandmother left her a house on her old sheep farm. She must go there to clean it out, intending to sell it.

Beattie, Emma’s grandmother, was a successful designer and business owner, but many years earlier she had faced heartache and difficult decisions after having an affair with a married man that produced a daughter. Wildflower Hill follows her story of struggling to keep her daughter and trying to provide for her in a small town in Tasmania, while being judged and treated harshly by many. She persevered, but her future family never had any idea of what she had to give up.

As badly as Emma is hurt by the blow dealt to her not only by the injury but by the breakup with her boyfriend just before it, she tries to keep herself isolated at Wildflower Hill. But slowly she finds herself involved with some of the locals, as she digs through boxes and discovers secrets about Beattie. Can she open herself up to a new life, new love, new possibilities? How can her late grandmother still help her?

As much as the current-day story focuses on Emma, this book is primarily about Beattie. Emma’s story is much briefer. The reader can’t help but feel drawn into Beattie’s story, into all the ways she is beaten down by circumstance and by some poor choices. But she reminds herself to keep going, to be strong for herself and her daughter, and she even finds love, but at great cost. I found myself unable to put this book down towards the end and just had to finish it late into the night.

Rated: Mild, for a few mild instances of language, some brief violence, and a few mild sexual references.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Wildflower Hill
  • by Kimberley Freeman
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: