Flame Tree Hill by Mandy Magro: Review

October 2, 2013 Reviews 0

Flame Tree HillKirsty Mitchell is ready to come home. After a tragic accident that left her scarred, she fled overseas. Now, three years later, she’s finally returning to Flame Tree Hill, her beloved family farm.

But at twenty-five Kirsty isn’t prepared for the terrifying new challenge ahead: breast cancer.

Kirsty’s never been a quitter and that’s not about to change. But can her budding romance with local vet Aden bear the strain?

As she battles with chemotherapy and as her past threatens to overwhelm her, Kirsty realises you can never take anything – or anyone – for granted. Drawing strength from her family and the beauty of Far North Queensland, Kirsty finally understands what she must do.

A lyrical and heart-warming testament to the power of love – and forgiveness.

I had a four-hour flight ahead of me to Perth for this year’s Romance Writers of Australia conference, so I thought I’d get a good start on Flame Tree Hill (I’d been wanting to read it for a while).

Well…..by the end of my flight, I had sore eyes, I hadn’t slept but boy howdy, I did not care a bit. Oh my God! I loved every minute of this book.

Kirsty Mitchell has been living with the deep memories of a fatal car accident which took her friends and left her with emotional scars. After years of hiding out in London, she’s decided to come home to her beloved Flame Tree Hill. She is finally getting her life in order and discovering love with longtime crush (and her brother’s best friend), Aden – who’s also returned home from life in the city. Things could not appear better if they tried. Then the bottom falls out of Kirsty’s world – she has breast cancer.

A fighter to the core, Kirsty battles hard against the illness with the unwavering love and support of her family…and Aden. But fear of the unknown and the pain of her past threaten to overwhelm her and put a premature end to her relationship with Aden. Kirsty’s reactions are exactly what you would expect – fear, frustration, anger, hopelessness – when confronted with something such as this.

It’s a pretty brave thing to do, giving your heroine a potentially fatal illness. However, I think Mandy Magro did such a wonderful and honest job of portraying Kirsty’s journey – having had many of my nearest and dearest affected by cancer, I could totally understand the sense of powerlessness and confusion that comes along with the diagnosis. I’ve seen others say that Aden was almost too nice and understanding, but I just saw him in the same way that I saw my mum when my dad had cancer – if you love someone enough, you are willing to do all that you can to make sure that they get through their battle.

Now when it comes to the secret in Kirsty’s past that comes to light, I think it was handled really well. I can understand that others may believe it to have been papered over a bit, but I didn’t feel this way. I had a feeling from rather early that the truth was what it turned out to be, and it was handled as well as it could have been within the context of this story.

Despite the parts of the story that deal with dark and emotional issues, Flame Tree Hill is not an issue book. Yes, it was emotional, but there was also a real lightness and humour about the story as well. The relationships in this story are strong and beautifully written, and the way in which Mandy Magro describes the life of the town and the land is really visual and lush. Ms Magro has such a lovely voice, her work at times taking on an almost lyrical quality. You could sense that she has a real knowledge and love for the locations about which she writes, and after reading this, I just want to go visiting in Far North Queensland again.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it until I’m blue in the face: Australian writers produce some of the most imaginative and original romances out there, and rural romance authors are right there in the forefront. So please do yourselves a massive favour and get out there and support the Australian romance community! With books like Flame Tree Hill on offer, it shouldn’t be too hard 🙂

My rating: 5 out of 5

Release Date: 22 May 2013

Purchase Links: Amazon – Booktopia – Penguin – Kobo

Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Penguin Books Australia via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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