The windows rattle. The roof leaks. Every surface cries out to be stripped, painted, or polished. But for writer Lisa Trumperton, the dilapidated manor house that once belonged to her great-grandfather is far more than the sum of its battered parts. It’s the chance for a new start on her own terms. The fact that it’s in the Melbourne countryside of her Australian homeland, far from the deceitful ex-husband she just left behind in New York…well, that’s a bonus.
Lisa sets to work refurbishing Trumperton Manor, assisted by her son, his friends, and a “Gray Army” of retired handymen. But it’s not just her ancestral home that’s being transformed. As she trades her chic Manhattan clothes for jeans and work boots, Lisa is changing and fortifying her relationships with her family and her sense of self. There are floods, fires, and catastrophes, but there are new allies too, including a one-eyed cat, a stubborn cockatoo, and a rugged landscaper with an irresistible grin. Piece by piece, the house is pushing Lisa beyond her old limits, daring her to embrace something bigger, braver, and more rewarding than she ever dreamed.
Rating: 4 Stars
I love a good mansion renovation story – all of those hardwood floors, original wallpaper, mouldy carpet, creaky stairs and ghosts… and, for me, this story only became that when the action moved to Trumperton Manor, instead of being in New York, where the book began. I think much of this earliest portion could have been dispensed with in favour of arriving in Australia—and the meat of the story—more quickly. Important details revealed in the beginning could have been mentioned at other appropriate moments as the story unfolded.
The story didn’t delve too deeply into the renovations, or really the history of the manor – and there wasn’t even the usual resident ghost, but was an engaging and flowing read. I enjoyed Lisa, the main character, and her supporting cast was interesting to read about, too. The gently romance was written well, although the two characters talking ould have resolved any confusion and provided a swifter resolution.
I loved the ‘feel’ of Australia in this book, and I could hear the accents when the characters spoke. Over all, it was a lovely read with a good conclusion.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.