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From the author of the bestselling Bella's Run comes another captivating rural romance set in the rugged, beautiful Australian bush. Hope's Road connects three very different properties, and three very different lives a Sixty years ago, heartbroken and betrayed, old Joe McCauley turned his back on his family and their fifth-generation farm, Montmorency Downs. He now spends his days as a recluse, spying upon the land - and the granddaughter - that should by rights have been his. For Tammy McCauley, Montmorency Downs is the last remaining tie to her family. But land can make or break you - and, with her husband's latest treachery, how long can she hold on to it? Wild-dog trapper, Travis Hunter, is struggling as a single dad, unable to give his son, Billy, the thing he craves most. A complete family. Then, out of the blue, a terrible event forces the three neighbours to confront each other - and the mistakes of their past a


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Tammy McCauley is kept busy running Montmorency Downs the family property situated in East Gippsland in Victoria. This property has been in the family for many generations. As well as working **** the farm, Tammy is also having to deal with her abusive husband which is starting to take its toll on Tammy. So the day her huband comes home and announces he's moving out, Tammy should be relieved, but she's not. Tammy must now come to terms with the fact that her marriage has failed and she could now lose the family farm.

Joe McCauley lives like a hermit and has nothing to with anyone including family. It was sixty years ago when when, Joe walked away from the family farm and he never went back. Living on his own all these years has turned, Joe into bitter and cranky old man. Joe lives within spying distance of the farm, but no matter what goes on over there he never goes back.

Single father, Travis Hunter is a wild dog trapper who finds it hard bringing up his son, Billy on his own. What Billy really needs is a family which is something, Travis is unable to provide for him. Travis spends a lot of his time away from home whilst trapping dogs which means, Billy is left to fend for himself a lot.

On the day day that something terrible happens in the area all three neighbours come together, but just how will, Joe react when he comes face to face, Tammy? Will Joe let his guard down and let, Tammy into his life or will he return to his lonely and isolated life? And will, Tammy keep the family farm or will it be torn away from her?

A fabulous and very entertaining read by Aussie author Margareta Osborn. A story about family, domestic violence and loss. A truly enjoyable read and one in which I have no hesitation in highly recommending

Joe and Thomas McCauley both fell in love with the same young woman, and Mae chose Tom, as he was the elder of the two, and would inherit the property, Montmorency Downs, in the beautiful East Gippsland area of Victoria. Joe was devastated, and walked out the door, never to speak to or contact his family again.

Now, sixty years later, Joe is old, tired and lonely. He lives on the hill, high above the property which should have been his, and spends his days with his beloved dog, Boots, on the verandah of his old shack, spying on the property and shooting rabbits.

Tammy is Joe’s grand-daughter, and she runs Montmorency Downs basically on her own. Her husband of ten years is a drunk and a loser, and is also having an affair with the local publican, Joanne. He belts Tammy when he feels like it as well, and she’s finally had enough! Tammy has been having some help around the farm from ten-year-old Billy, the son of wild-dog trapper, Travis Hunter. She feels sorry for Billy, as his father seems to have no time for him, and his mother abandoned him when he was a baby. Billy revels in Tammy’s kindness and love, and enjoys the small things she lets him do at the farm.

Tammy’s property adjoins Travis’, as well as old Joe’s via Hope’s Road, and Travis has been checking on Joe now and then, just to make sure the old man is alright. But his gestures of kindness are rebuffed…Joe is a cranky old coot, and doesn’t need anyone’s help! Until the day he does….

I really enjoyed this novel, with the back stories on Montmorency Downs, the struggle by Tammy to keep the farm going, keep her cattle fed. The attraction between Travis and Tammy, and their struggle for denial of their feelings .. her battle with the husband, and the help of her friends. But I particularly liked old Joe, and his interaction with Billy, along with their love of Boots.

I received an eARC from Random House in exchange for this review, but my thoughts are my own. I deliberately haven’t read anyone else’s reviews yet either!

I am quite ‘into’ Aussie rural lit at the moment, having been introduced to it recently by both publishers and family who gave me books for Christmas! I always thought I knew it all about the country, being a former resident, but I’ve changed my mind. There’s so many different types/areas that make up rural Australia and in this book, Margareta Osborn has introduced me to a different kind of farming region in Victoria. This is a place where there’s a lot of rain, things are green and the type of farming is cattle. But don’t think that this book is all about farming. Oh no. The characters will stop you in a second.

Our protagonist is Tammy McCauley, stuck in a rapidly unravelling marriage and trying to make it on her farm with little help. On the hill, she’s watched over by her estranged great uncle, Old Joe. A rift in the family has now become a feud that’s lasted generations. New to the region is dog trapper Travis Hunter and his son Billy, who are haunted by their own past.

Although the story is told predominantly from Tammy’s point of view, we get to see inside Travis’ and Joe’s minds to learn their backstories and what they want – companionship and love – not too different from what Tammy’s looking for. As the story unfolds, both good and bad events bring these characters together. Tammy is very believable as a heroine I can relate to – she’s grounded, not supermodel gorgeous and has just enough flaws to be real. Old Joe is a crusty old character, grumpy but lovable. Billy is a sweet kid (portrayed very intelligently and becomes part of the group of the main characters – not always something you see with child characters) and Travis – well, he’s a nice guy and not just to look at…

These characters are supported by some incredibly funny friends – Lucy, a nurse with multi-coloured hair despairs at the thought of ever finding a man (or woman) while the way Jacinta (“call me Cin”) throws herself at Travis is hilarious, even risking her tiny car on a bush track! The villains are also heinous through their actions (one particular scene left me shocked), but they don’t always win.

As for plot, I found it believable and ultimately heart-warming, restoring my faith in the goodness of people (there’s not much goodness in peak hour rush, where most of my reading was conducted!). It reminded me of an Australia we don’t see much of anymore – mate helping mate and caring beyond what’s reasonably expected. The writing has a beautiful Aussie flavour to it too. It’s a little slow to start with, establishing the scene and each of the characters, but the ending is full speed ahead. I defy anyone to put down the book during the last 70 pages!

I look forward to reading Margareta’s other book, Bella’s Run, which I received for Christmas.


In Hope's Road, Margareta Osborn's second novel, she returns to the Victorian highlands and the rural community she knows so well. Montmorency Downs is home to Tamara McCauley who inherited the dairy farm upon her grandparents tragic death. Tammy loves the land and is proud of her heritage but when her marriage breaks down Tammy risks losing her family legacy as her faithless husband tries to force a sale. High on the hill at the boundary of the property lives Joe McCauley, sixty years ago he walked away from Montmorency Downs and cut all family ties when his brother married the woman Joe had fallen in love with. When the elderly Joe is injured, Tammy surprises herself by volunteering to care for the old man, along with wild dog trapper and Joe's neighbour, Travis Hunter. Forced to keep company, a fragile bond is forged between Tamara, Travis and Joe, cemented by the needs of Travis's young son, Billy, but as their pasts threaten to overwhelm them, they risk losing everything.

Vivid, authentic characterisation is becoming a hallmark of Osborn's writing. I feel as if her characters could easily walk right off the page and slot neatly into my local community. Tamara McCauley is gutsy, intelligent and hard working but not without her vulnerabilities after years of insidious abuse from her husband. The portrayal of Travis Hunter as a single father out of his depth is well done, and his son, Billy, is just adorable. Curmudgeonly Joe McCauley evokes sympathy, despite his temper and his inability to let go of a sixty year old grudge. These are complex characters that demonstrate real growth as tentative connections are made and strengthened through shared adversity.
Osborn's minor characters are equally colourful personalities, from the eccentricities of Tammy's best friend, Lucy, to the flirty desperation of local school teacher Jacinta Greenaway, whose single minded pursuit of Travis provides some amusingly awkward moments. Even the abusive Shon Murphy, Tammy's husband, is a man who also inspires some pity when it would have been simpler to simply paint him as a villian.

At it's core, Hope's Road is a contemporary romance but the storyline also touches on issues such as domestic violence, abandonment and elder care. The connection with family and the need to belong is a major theme illustrated by the relationship between Tamara and Joe, and Travis and his son. As rural fiction, the connection between the characters and the land also plays a vital role.
I really like the way in which Osborn approaches rural life in Hope's Road. The romantic view of farm life cedes to the reality of dairy farming, graphically depicted when Tammy's cows suffer bloat, and newborn calves come under attack from a wild dog.

I find Margareta Osborn's writing style particularly appealing though I am not entirely sure why I connect with it so strongly. I think because I find her characters so believable, her plot's have a realism I appreciate and her stories are well grounded in settings that are familiar to me. I enjoy the author's sense of humour and feel the narrative flows well. The dialogue is authentic, though fair warning, it may be a little coarse for some at times. I thought the pace was good, firmly establishing character and back story before introducing the conflicts. I love that Osborn slips in a mention of the characters of Bella's Run connecting the two stories, even if only peripherally.

Hope's Road is a fine example of contemporary rural fiction. It's no wonder the genre is enjoying a surge in popularity with such appealing characters and engaging stories capturing the readers imagination. Hope's Road will definitely be on my favourites list for 2013 and I am happy to endorse it.

When Margareta Osborn's first book, Bella's Run, came out she came and visited my local bookstore. Bree and I went to the signing and chatted with Margareta for ages. I duly bought the book, which Margareta signed, and that was that. I never actually got around to reading the book. Now, having read Hope's Road, I am pretty sure that I am the one who has missed out by not having read Bella's Run and I will be rectifying that as soon as I can! I feel like I should apologise profusely to Margareta! Sorry, sorry, sorry!

Hope's Road focuses on three people who live on three properties near each other that are connected by Hope's Road in the Gippsland region of Victoria. There is curmudgeonly old Joe, his estranged grand niece Tammy and neighbour Travis Hunter who lives with his young son Billy. All three of them are used to living pretty much alone and always self reliant. While for Joe and Travis this is pretty much a lifestyle choice, for Tammy this has come about as a result of being in an emotionally and, more recently, physically abusive marriage all the while trying to keep the family farm going.

Tammy was married to Shon Murphy for years. While her grandparents were alive, he helped around the farm, but once they died and the property was specifically left to Tammy only he became resentful and that resentment only kept on growing. Now, he has moved on to someone else and he wants a divorce straight away. The fact that the farm is Tammy's and has been part of her family for generations is no concern to him. He wants a payout and if the only way for him to get it is for Tammy to sell up, then so be it. One of the few things I wasn't sure about in this book was the way that the divorce, and in particular the property settlement, had to happen so quickly. It is a minor qualm though.

Travis Hunter has bought his mother back to her home town with his son Billy in tow. Travis is a feral dog trapper (the dogs being feral, not Travis), a solitary job for a solitary man. Trav is doing his best for his son, but to say they are just getting by is probably about all. He has no clue about creating the emotional connection to his son that Billy requires. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of those reasons is that when his wife walked away from the both of them when Billy was just a toddler, Travis left his son with his mother and continued to do his job, leaving her to practically raise her grandson. Now that his mother is no longer capable of being the main care giver, Travis has to work out how to go about that, and he needs to learn quickly.

Joe is an embittered old man who walked away from his family 60 years before because of a woman and never spoke to any of them again - not the woman, or his brother, or his niece or even his grand niece (unless you count yelling at her when she was a small girl to get off his land as talking). He can see the house that was once his home from his front verandah through his rifle scope and has a regular series of informants, so he usually knows what is going on at Montmorency Downs but that is as close as he wants to get to his grand niece. He is content to do what needs to be done on his own property and to sit on his verandah and watch the world go by.

Billy soon becomes the glue that starts to unite these three strangers. He often finds himself up at Joe's place or down at Tammy's house helping out and also using the computer because his father refuses to recognise that he needs one for his schooling. Tammy can see that Billy is desperate for his father's approval and she isn't shy about letting Travis know. In fact, Billy is desperate for any kind of family relationship, as evidenced by his hope when his mother turns up in town. I felt so much for Billy many times throughout this book. He was a great kid who just needed a bit of attention, not least of which to attend to an undiagnosed medical condition, and who was desperate for love where ever he could find it.

One day, Billy is up at Joe's place when there is an accident which leaves Joe with a broken hip. When the doctors tell him that he can not go home until he is healed and that he will have to live in the nursing home in the mean time, he is horrified and reacts badly. Both Travis and Tammy offer to help look after him. At first Joe refuses belligerently, pretty much because he is a stubborn old coot, but given the choice of the nursing home or the help of strangers, he relents.

Slowly but surely the relationship between the three of them grows. Tammy begins to get to know her Uncle Joe without actually knowing why it was that her only blood relative has always been a stranger. Joe and Travis begin to recognise that they share quite a lot of traits which can be seen as both good and bad. And for Tammy and Travis there is a strong attraction that is growing between them. But with Tammy's divorce proving so difficult, Trav's ex-wife in town, a fragile trust growing between them all and Mother Nature determined to throw in a big curveball too, there are a lot of challenges for this group of people to deal with.

I really enjoyed Hope's Road. With three different backstories to include in the book, including establishing several peripheral characters, there were times at the beginning of the book where it felt a bit slow, but once it got going ... boy, it got going. I was trying to read this yesterday before I went out but I didn't quite make it, so I ended up taking it with me to the pool. It was boiling hot and I really needed to go for a swim but I couldn't do that before I knew exactly what was happening with these characters! I had to know!

I have a big list of jobs that I would never do. These include things like being a childcare worker or a nurse, a cop and more. After reading some of the things that Tammy had to do on her farm (bloat...ugh!), I am pretty sure that you could add farmer to that list.

The rural lit genre is one that seems to be growing and growing here in Australia. For the most part, I have been really pleased with the books I have read. They represent a side of life that I as a city dwelling Aussie wouldn't normally see as much but I can still find the characters relatable. They also often have a really strong sense of Australia in the humour and the language and this book is no exception!

Now, where did I put my copy of Bella's Run?

Rating 4/5

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