Cover Image: Homestead on the River

Homestead on the River

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Member Reviews

What a debut story this one was for me, I could hardly put it down, there is a little intrigue that called to me and the strong characters, and the harshness that can be life on the land whether it be Ireland or Australia, yes it is a long story but one that called to me, one that I loved.

Kathleen grows up in India and times are hard during World War 2, there is heartbreaking loss of lives and then a new future in Ireland at the beautiful Rathgarven in County Kerry with her husband James O’Sullivan and their four children Ronan, Lillie, Marcus and Freddie, but betrayal and life in Ireland at the time push the family to make a move across the world to Eureka Station Australia, a horse stud in New South Wales, owned by close friend Finn Maloney, but when they get there more heartbreak awaits them. It is now the 1960’s and life throws a lot more at them as this family moves on with life.

Ronan and Lillie the eldest two children and they struggle with life at first but soon settle in to their new schools and discovering life in Australia, it is not long before a family friend comes to stay and love starts to grow, but this brings out more lies and hurt for the family, and the intrigue continues, the Vietnam War brings more hurt and heartbreak to this family and they had a lot to contend with and they showed their strength over and over.

This was a very moving story for me, I really fell for all of the O’Sullivan family and what they went through, they were strong no matter what came at them, the betrayal and lies and loss bought heartache to them all, but in the end things work out and life moved on. This is a story that I highly recommend, yes it is a long one, but I loved the settings and the journey that this family has and there were some beautiful HEA’s.
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Book blurb...
An unforgettable tale of love, loss and betrayal from an exciting new Australian voice in historical fiction. 
In stark contrast to her own childhood during the last days of the Raj in India, the spectacular beauty surrounding their home, Rathgarven in Ireland has proven to be a happy place for Kathleen O'Sullivan and her husband, James, to raise their four children. But Kathleen is no stranger to heartbreak, and when the family is faced with losing everything, she knows they will need to adapt to survive. Even if that means leaving their beloved home and moving to Australia to start afresh. 
Lillie O'Sullivan knows that her mother and father haven't been entirely truthful about the reasons for their move to Australia. But as they settle into their new home in rural New South Wales she is willing to give it a chance. That is, until the secrets her parents have kept for so long finally catch up with them.
Secrets that have the power to destroy their family and ruin their future. 
From the vibrant colours of India to the meadows of Ireland to the harsh but beautiful Australian land, a family fights for their future. 

My thoughts… 
I loved the look of this family saga story, the title, the cover, the era. But the plotting failed to hold my attention for the duration. The most Interesting part for me was the family's move to Australia and the resulting struggle to survive. 
I would have preferred the story focus more on the homestead on the river! I like my Australian fiction set in Australia. I felt the descriptions of Raj in India and the time in Rathgarven in Ireland, while important, dragged me away and I couldn’t wait to get back to the Australian story. This is a very personal comment. I’m sure many readers love the Irish threads. I found they slowed the pace - for me.
Overall, I was keen to follow the story of the family when they were in Australia and the plot was well thought out.
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A somewhat epic family saga spanning around the world, from Ireland to Australia and set in the 1960s. This tale centres around a family who have to give up their family estate in Ireland and are forced take up a new adventure in outback Australia.

Whilst it seems appealing, there is a lot going on with this book trying to do too much in my opinion. There is a large cast of characters with backstories to match, full of many dramas.  However, few are dealt with in a way to engage the reader sufficiently despite the 500+ page reading. There really is not that much set in the last days of Raj, India which is rather disappointing - a cryptic prologue to try and engage the reader is about it. We then move to Ireland where the father loses the family estate which all seems rather unbelievable and out of character. There is this ‘mystery’ held over the reader for the entire book and it is not until the last 10% of the book that anything really happens with regards to a few key plot lines. 

The story of two generations contains love and loss, secrets and betrayal with their  impact upon many of the family members. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot on offer with this read, but I felt that a condensed version focused purely on certain characters would have produced a more engaging and in depth read - certain sections were just too simplistic with the writing lacking depth. It rambles on a bit with some passages and interactions either irrelevant or drawn out for far too long. 

The characters are, however, relatable and engaging (although I did have a real problem with Lillie’s reaction to her shock twist towards the end, as once again it seemed out of character) as it sweeps over many drama filled moments 1960s style.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.
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An okay family saga, set in the 60's in rural New South Wales. The O'Sullivan family have been forced to relinquish their family home in Ireland and travel to Australia to take up a position with a family friend on a horse stud. This follows their story over several years, their loves, lies and betrayals, where secrets have a way of catching up with you. 
I did quite like this book, it was easy to read and enjoyable, but tended to ramble on a bit too long. Some scenes the author drew out a little too much, trying to build suspense I suppose, but they tended to be annoying and I was wishing she would simply get to the point. Other scenes were just awkward. Yet the characters were warm and believable for the most part, though I would have liked more of the horses in the storyline. All in all not a bad novel, but I think at over 500 pages it was too long.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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