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Publisher's Summary

Flora's teenage crush, Mitch, is standing at the altar when his bride has a sudden change of heart. Decades earlier, in the same church, a similar story of heartbreak played out. From the rolling green hills of the Tablelands to the crowded streets of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War, this beautiful romantic saga asks the question - do we ever get over our first love, and is it ever too late to make amends?

©2017 Barbara Hannay (P)2017 W.F. Howes Ltd

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Wedded Bliss for Hannay and Hartman

I loved this story so much that I finished it within 3 days. Disclaimer: Barbara Hannay has been my favourite author for 10 years so I am biased. With every novel, I fall more deeply in love with her writing, her characters and settings. Hannay has a knack for suprising her readers and this novel has surpassed my expectations. I deliberated over subscribing to Audible and now I am very pleased with my decision as it means I can enjoy excellent readings and excellent novels in my changed and busy life.

I was instantantly fond of Hattie, Flora and Rose. By the end, I wanted to call them and find out how they are now. All of the women are strong and sophisticated female protagonists which I find essential to my enjoyment.

The leading ladies, coupled with the settings of Burralea, Shanghai and a short stint in Devon and Brisbane were very memorable. I can still see the Frangipanis in North Queensland, the quaint countryside in England, cosmopolitan Soithbank, and the bustling streets of Shanghai. Hannay always has the ability to transport the reader to the location and make us want to stay in our imaginations for much longer. I was also fascinated by the descriptions of food, violins and decor.

I not only adored the theme of romantic love, but also the bittersweet feeling of losing a first love, love of a fulfilling career and the love between parents and children. As a high school teacher and a new mum I relished the sweet sorrow of each of the three plot lines. I was also fascinated by the infusion of historical and crime genres.

Kathryn Hartman did a marvellous job as narrator. I was in awe of the different voices she used to portray the plethora of characters. She clearly has a gift of increasing tension. My only recommendation would be to emphasise a few less word as I was on the edge of my car seat for most of the story (to the point that I had to turn the recording off a few times as it was a tad distracting). Also I was a little exhausted by the extended heighented tension. However, I am really looking forward to listening to another narration by Hartman as I admire her intonation, pitch, expression, change in pace and volume.

I suggested this story for my book club and I cannot recommend it enough for anyone who likes the sweet romance genre with crime and historical genres cleverly interwoven. I cannot wait for Barbara Hannay's new novel to be released on the 30th of July 2018, "A Summer of Secrets." I really hope Kathryn Hartman will narrate it as she knows how to do a story great justice.