Sunday, January 8, 2023

Review: The Library at Wagtail Ridge

Title: The Library at Wagtail Ridge
Author: Janet Gover

Publisher: 30th November 2022 by Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA

Pages: 400 pages

Genre: romance, contemporary

My Rating: 4 cups


An unexpected and unusual inheritance sets a young woman on the road to discover her mother's deepest secret. A charming and heartfelt rural romance perfect for readers of Rachael Johns and Karly Lane.

When Lou Taylor inherits a quaint country cottage and a mobile library full of books from her birth mother, she heads to the small town of Wagtail Ridge to learn more about the woman she never knew. Curiously, the last piece of the bequest is a handwritten letter, the first of many Luca left scattered along the library's route in hopes of finally sharing her secrets with the daughter she had to give up.

The townspeople of Wagtail Ridge flock around Lou, wanting to share the stories of Luca's life, but she knows she must learn about her birth mother in the way Luca intended. Jake Barnes, her new neighbour, offers to help her follow the trail, but weighing on his conscience is a promise he made to Luca - a secret that now stands between him and the woman who's slowly capturing his heart...

As the kilometres fly by, Lou gradually untangles who her mother was and what lay behind the choices she made. At the same time, she finds herself drawing ever closer to kind, handsome Jake. But will it all be enough to keep her in Wagtail Ridge when she has another happy life waiting for her in the city?

A captivating story of love, family and belonging from award-winning romance author Janet Gover.

My Thoughts

The Library at Wagtail Ridge is a heartwarming story of Lou as she seeks to discover more about her birth mother and ultimately, herself. She travels to Wagtail Ridge where she has been bequeathed a cottage and mobile library. Throughout her journey, Lou is often angry and frustrated until, through a series of letters, she begins to understand the actions her birth mother made. Along the way Lou develops relationships (romantic and otherwise) with the local community who wish to welcome and embrace her. 

‘This was about who she was - and she really didn’t know the answer to that any more.’

All up this is a book with a number of themes, primarily one concerning the story of adoption. Through the anger Lou feels at the disruption to her life, she will learn to get all the facts about situations before jumping to any conclusions. The two main features in this read for me were twofold. Firstly, the mobile library. It was wonderful of Janet to shine the spotlight on these very remote communities and just how special and crucial such visits were. 

‘Library day was obviously something of a social occasion for the people who didn’t get many chances to just chat … The library was more than just a place to find a book.’

Secondly, the nod given - through the various letters Lou received from her birth mother - of wonderful Australian classics - The Shiralee, Seven Little Australians, Picnic at Hanging Rock, My Brilliant Career - just to name a few. I love these books and they are a part of Australian literary culture.

‘Knowing I could spend my life in that room surrounded by literally thousands of books was a gift … Then I was given the mobile library to run. What a perfect combination: books and the open road.’

The Library at Wagtail Ridge is an easy read with a focus on the importance of community and finding a home where you belong. In essence it is a dedication to these small rural towns and the binding love of all things literary. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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