This is quality women’s fiction at its best. Looking for a great new book to read over the holidays. You may have just found it!

The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns is a remarkably good read. I was fascinated to read in the preface, that Patterson’s Curse, that blue, ever so pretty but invasive weed of the Australian countryside, was the trigger for the Patterson name and the involvement of the curse which is central to the story.

I loved the setting too, the Patterson girls were brought up in the motel in the Meadow Brook, a fictitious town in the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia. As with many girls I know who were brought up in very small towns, the girls couldn’t wait to spread their wings, and spread them they did.

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Madeleine as an obstetrician to Baltimore in the USA and Lucinda as a teacher in Perth. Then there is Charlotte (Charlie) the ‘alternative one’, or the one with a chip on her shoulder who lives in Melbourne. She works as a barista and exercise instructor. Abigail as a violinist in London.

“It was as if the moment Mum died, the rest of their lives had started to unravel as well”

Each girl speaks with her own individual voice and each has her own unique secrets and struggles. The sisters all return home to help their father with the motel for his first Christmas after the girls’ mother’s sudden death six months previously.

It was quite frightening yet exciting to hear of the curse as revealed by the wondrously flamboyant Aunt Mags, soon after the girls had found out about it. The development of the main characters and those of their love interests was done beautifully and with great sensitivity. The men were pretty gorgeous too.

Rachel Johns discusses her new book

Why read it

I was surprised to find myself smiling, crying and smiling again as I was reading it. What a super twist in the tale. What a beautiful resolution! What wonderful people to have met and come to know! This is a beautiful truly Australian read about family, about loss, about love, about life. I just loved it! Looking for a great Christmas gift for a friend who loves to read? Get 20% OFF* here! *While stocks last.

Book club reading notes

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What are your favourite books to read when you want to relax? Join the conversation!