Review: Simmering Season by Jenn J. McLeod

 

Title: Simmering Season

Author: Jenn J. McLeod

Published: Simon & Schuster April 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from March 30 to April 02, 2014 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Those who have read Jenn J McLeod’s debut, House for all Seasons, will be delighted to reunite with some of the characters met in the small Australian country town of Calingarry’s Crossing. It is however a minor character, Maggie Lindeman, that takes the lead in this, Jenn McLeod’s loosely linked sequel, Simmering Season.

When Maggie’s father fell ill, she and her teenage son, Noah, reluctantly left husband, and father, Brian, in Sydney with plans to sell the family pub in Calingarry Crossing and reunite in a few months. But two years on, with no-one showing interest in the motel, Maggie is warming to the idea of making the move permanent, if only Brian, obsessed with chasing fame, would agree to join them. Frustrated by Brian’s excuses to remain separated from his family, Maggie’s loyalty to her errant husband is tested when her teenage crush, Dan Ireland, returns to Calingarry Crossing for the school reunion. But Dan’s return isn’t the only thing troubling Maggie, her son is growing restless, Amber’s headstrong daughter, Fiona, is her guest for the summer, and as the season wears on, simmering secrets begin bubbling to the surface.

While I thought things were a little slow to heat up in the Simmering Season as the author establishes the back story for the three main characters, Maggie, Fiona and Dan, once the school reunion gets underway, the story begins to move forward with surprising revelations and some dramatic moments, prompting the characters to make decisions about their future.

As in the House For All Seasons, the major themes of this novel examines the need to make peace with the past in order to move forward and the importance of knowing what you need, and want, to be happy within yourself.

In trying to accommodate what Maggie thinks her husband and son wants from her, instead of what she needs, Maggie has grown increasingly resentful, but is unwilling to admit it. At times I was frustrated by Maggie, while her sense of loyalty to her husband is admirable, it is so clearly misplaced that her angst was a little wearying and in protecting her son from Brian’s failures, she made herself a martyr. It took her a while but I was relieved when Maggie began to recognise her worth as the events that unfolded during Simmering Season forced her to reassess her priorities.

Dan has been punishing himself for years for the part he played in a fatal accident. Returning to Calingarry Crossing is difficult for him but he has to decide to let go of the things he can’t change, and do something about those he can including dealing with his high stress job as a police car accident investigator, reuniting with his father and pursuing Maggie.

I most admired Fiona’s growth during the story, a spoilt, spiteful princess with a (not entirely unwarranted) chip on her shoulder to begin with, she learns some hard lessons about the value of family and responsibility. Fiona is affected the most by the secrets her mother, Amber, kept and when they are revealed, she is finally able to make peace with her past and move on.

An appealing novel about self discovery and second chances, I enjoyed Simmering Season and I look forward to revisiting Calingarry Crossing again next year in the Season of Shadow and Light.

Learn more about Jenn J. McLeod and Simmering Season by clicking HERE

Simmering Season is available to purchase from

Simon & Schuster Au  I boomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I Amazon US

  via Booko

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: AWW Feature: Who am I? by Jenn J McLeod | book'd out
  2. Jenn J McLeod | Simmering Season
    Apr 05, 2014 @ 19:54:27

    Again you have nailed the synopsis. I did set myself a challenge with this one. I purposely set out to create a story that would start as a slow simmer, building and bubbling away until it boils over. Sounds like I managed that. Yay! Thank you.

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