Books & Literature

Book Review: The Farm at Peppertree Crossing, by Léonie Kelsall

CONTEMPORARY FICTION: Accustomed to looking after herself, can Roni now embrace a different life gifted to her from an unknown aunt and a community ready to help?

A charming book full of strong, unforgettable characters.

The Farm at Peppertree Crossing is a heart-warming and delightful tale not only of self-discovery, history and family, but learning that family is sometimes the one you create for yourself.

Roni is a city girl who is struggling to make ends meet in the big smoke of Sydney. She puts up a tough front, having failed too many times in her past. Then one day, completely out of the blue, she is told she has inherited a large property in South Australia’s wheat belt from a long lost relative, Aunt Marian. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Doubtful and wary but in need of the money for a fresh start, Roni packs up her cat Scritches, and sets off to the farm at Peppertree Crossing. Set in the scenic Murray Lands, Roni discovers that if she wants to inherit the house, first she must complete a few of Aunt Marian’s tasks. How hard can they be?

The book unfolds through a series of letters from Aunt Marian, where Roni (and the readers) are taken on a journey to learn the history of the family and Aunt Marion’s plans for Roni. Along the way she meets the locals and it seems everyone carries a secret. Who can she trust?

With every task she completes, we see more of Roni’s walls begin to come down and more of her personality shine through. She begins to learn what matters most in life and that people can be kind, trustworthy and generous if you let them get close enough.

This is South Australian author Léonie Kelsall’s first book of this kind and she has nailed it. This book definitely delivers all the warm and fuzzy highs of a rural romance told with plenty of heart and humour, but it is not afraid to shy away from some darker subjects. The author’s career as a Counsellor no doubt has helped her to approach these topics sensitively and portray them realistically, giving the book a bit of extra depth to keep you interested.

The Farm at Peppertree Crossing is a charming book full of strong, unforgettable characters that you’ll fall in love with and that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

Reviewed by Karlie Naulty

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: July 2020
RRP: AUD $29.99

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