Tag Archives: romance

Summer Read: Page Turner Novel Takes Us to Australia–Then and Now

Destination: The Blue Mountains, Australia

Book: Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman (New in paperback, first published in 2014)


This book was just plain FUN!  Not that the characters were always having fun.  Au contraire, the life of an heiress in one of the parallel plots, set in the 1920s, was not as carefree as you might imagine. And the love story of the waitress in the tony resort where the heiress, her brother and her finance and his thugish pals were spending some away time, becomes a nightmare before the novel ends.

In the second plot, set in 2014, a young woman trying to escape her smother mother, flees to the same Blue Mountains where the heiress had vacationed. There she gets a job waiting tables in a cafe. The old resort is in ruins, but is undergoing restoration, so as the present day waitress fires up her own romance, she also finds hints of a 1920’s love affair that make her want to find out who was involved and how it turned out.

Just as in Lighthouse Bay, (the earlier book by Kimberley Freeman that I reviewed here), the two interwoven plots have us bouncing between the past and the present in one place.

While I recommended Lighthouse Bay for a summer read, I like this one even better. And talk about a book making you want to GO Somewhere, how would you like to stay at a glam resort in this location? (Just remember Australia seasons are reverse of U.S., so go in THEIR summer. Winter could be brutal (see the book.)

Blue Mountains Australia
Blue Mountains of Australia. This gorgeous picture is by Tony Fernandez, found at Flickr.com

We want to know to, and that’s what kept the pages turning, and the vacuuming undone, as I read-read-read about these delightful characters.  Australian writer Kimberley Freeman has a way with creating likable and interesting characters–each distinct–never sliding into romance novel stereotypes.

The setting is charming, and made me do a bit of research to find out where these remote Blue Mountains of Australia are. Turns out they are not so remote after all, their foothills spilling into the suburban enclaves of Sidney.  However, the area is huge and you can definitely get away from civilization–even living the life of the wealthy in the early 20th century in classic old resorts.

So dive in.  You don’t have a lot of time left for summer reading–but this romance- adventure-mystery visit to Australia is just the ticket for a fun read.

Here Kimberley Freeman talks about her inspiration for the book.

Note: This post contains links to Amazon, in case you’d like to buy one of these books. You should know that I am an Amazon affiliate, so anything you buy, although it costs you no more, earns me a few pennies.

The publisher provided me with a paperback copy of this book for review, which is standard practice, and in no way influences what I recommend to you.

COMING SOON: A book for Emily Dickinson fans and a book set in Germany during World War II that is possibly my favorite of the year. Stay tuned. Tell your friends they can subscribe for free updates, just like you do. You DO, don’t you? And you know that I would NEVER use your information for anything other than this subscription?

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Book Review: An Unexpected Guest

Destination: Paris

Book: An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi

Reading An Unexpected Guest is  like standing on the shore watching the waves.  As much as it seems to be just one single mass of water, it changes composition each time it comes in, stirring sand, moving shells closer to the land, and stealing things away as it rolls out again. Continue reading Book Review: An Unexpected Guest

Beach Read Time: Travel to Australia in Adventure Romance

Destination: Queensland, Australia, near Brisbane

Book: Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman

Beach Read: Australian beach
Port Douglas, Australia beach

What a perfect beach read. A sunken ship, buried treasure, a home on the beach by the lighthouse, sister relationships, adventure, and romance. Lighthouse Bay packs a lot into its two-pronged story.

Sailing ship wreckedThe two story lines swing between an unhappy young wife sailing from England to Australia in 1901, and a 40-year-old artist returning to her native Australia from work in Paris in 2011.  Isabella Winterbourne escapes the shipwreck without her husband but with a priceless mace created by the Winterbourne jewelers as a gift from the Queen.  In her story, we follow her shipwreck survival story and her adventures trying to find a way to get to American to be with her sister. Along the way she reveals her secrets to the lighthouse keeper who helps her.


Australia lighthouseLibby Slater has a fraught relationship with her sister, who now runs a bed and breakfast in their home town of Lighthouse Bay. Libby left Paris when her long-time (married) lover died. Also from the Winterbourne jeweler family, he had conveniently left Libby a home near the lighthouse, so she has a place to live.  His widow, oblivious about the affair, contracts with Libby to continue work with their jewelry firm. In Australia Libby meets a handsome and charming man who may become the new love interest in her life, but may just be trying to buy and develop her property.

The two stories of this beach read appropriately merge on a beach when a younger man who is camped out in the lighthouse helps Libby dig into the history of the mysterious cargo of the 1901 shipwreck, and they discover part of the story of Isabella.

As you can see from the brief summary, there is plenty going on here, and even though I predicted most of the outcomes as I read, the book tugged me all the way through. I wanted  to follow the stories of the  two appealing lead characters.  My complaint is that despite the hardships and problems they face, their survival always seems to depend on some incredible coincidence that makes the story seem less, well, credible.

As a traveler, it is interesting to have a beach read that nicely describes life in a small beach town near Brisbane, Australia. As a reader, it is nice to discover an Australian author, since Australian literature (even the lightweight beach read) unfortunately doesn’t often make it all the way across the Pacific to America.

So, have you discovered some Australian literature that we should add to a traveler’s library?

Pictures are used through Creative Commons license from Flickr.com. Click on each picture to learn about the photographer.  Affiliate links to Amazon are embedded in the book title and cover picture. This enables you to shop at Amazon and support A Traveler’s Library without spending any more. Magic! Thanks for your support.