Jenn J. McLeod has a knack for transporting her readers to far-flung Australian locations so that we almost feel we’re there with her lovable characters. Her latest sweeping love story, A Place to Remember, is no exception.
When 27-year-old Ava Marchette escapes life in the city and her tumultuous past, a country B&B called Ivy May at idyllic Candlebark Creek seems like the perfect escape. But when she is smitten by the owner’s son, larrikin grazier John Tate, it all goes pear-shaped. Ava and John share a passion for good food and cooking, and despite being seven years his senior, there’s an instant spark between the pair. But John is informally promised to the girl next door, Katie, by his domineering mother, Marjorie.
Thirty years later, a fifty-something Ava returns to Candlebark Creek seeking to resolve some of the unfinished business from all those years ago. Now, with an adult son and daughter, a phenomenally successful bakery business and a frightening medical prognosis, there are too many unanswered questions and secrets buried in the past.
But when Ava and John Tate parted many years before, John suffered his own medical emergency that left him unable to remember many years of his life. Now a reclusive painter, John is can’t remember anything about his beloved Ava.
When John’s son Blair and Ava’s daughter Nina chance upon each other, the past catches up to the next generation, and deeper secrets than ever suspected, surface. The older generation must make amends for the past so that the new generation can learn to forgive and forget.
Jenn J. McLeod describes her fifth novel as her ‘most ambitious’ yet and indeed, in A Place to Remember she has woven a rich tapestry encompassing four generations of Queenslanders. Without being over sentimental, the story of thwarted love is believable and imaginative, and the richly drawn characters get right under your skin. It’s an intricate and intriguing story of families and the secrets that can lurk within for years. Things that are simply never discussed.
McLeod captures the sense of place in the dry and dusty cattle country of Queensland so wonderfully, that’s it’s almost hard to believe that Candlebark Creek is not real. It was however inspired by a real place, also awesomely hot and beautiful.
As good as a night at the cinema with a box of chocolates, A Place to Remember is perfect for curling up with over the weekend (in your PJs) and not easily forgotten.
After leaving the corporate working world, Jenn J. McLeod decided to travel Australia in a fifth-wheeler caravan and fulfil her lifelong ambition to write. She has since published four novels.