Blog Tour & Review: The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades

Author: Joy Rhoades
Published: June 28th, 2018
Publisher: Vintage Books
Rating: ★★★★
Find the Author: Goodreads 

Disclosure: I received this ARC in exchange for an impartial review. As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

As the war draws to a close, one woman faces her greatest battle . . . 
Australia 1945. Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on Amiens, her family’s sprawling sheep station in northern New South Wales. The horrors of war have for the most part left her untouched. But with her father succumbing to wounds he’s borne since the Great War, the management of the farm is increasingly falling on Kate’s shoulders.
With only the sheep-rearing book The Woolgrower’s Companion to guide her, Kate rises to the challenge. However the arrival of two Italian POW labourers unsettles not only the other workers, but Kate too – especially when she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.
Then she receives devastating news. The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess. Given just eight weeks to pay the debt, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.
‘A heart-breaking tale beautifully told . . . This compelling story of war and love, of family and prejudice is magical’ Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help

First Thoughts…

I usually stray from any type of Historical Adult Fiction, but there was something about The Woolgrower’s Companion that enticed me from the get-go. It had this simplicity-meets-heartbreak kind of feel and I was so delighted when offered to be on Joy’s tour!

My Review…

Kate has always led more or less a sheltered life in Australia, on her family’s sheep farm. We’re introduced to her life in 1945, wavering the line of the second World War. Her father, a veteran of the first war, has been struggling. From the despair of his wife’s passing and from age, and now with the farm, it’s been difficult. So the responsibility falls to Kate, her only helping hand the sheep-rearing book called The Woolgrower’s Companion, hence the title.
She’s thrown into the grueling everyday tasks of taking charge, but when some Italian POW laborers arrive and she finds out her Father has been hiding things from her to do with the Farm, it all comes crashing down around her. So when she finds herself drawn to the Italian Luca, she doesn’t know how to deal with the newfound ways her life is changing. With the Farm almost bankrupt, it’s a race against time. She loves the Farm and everything it’s provided for her, but losing it is only a blink away.
Overall, The Woolgrower’s Companion really did surprise me. There was of course the beauty of the story, the landscape and the romance aspect. The plot – and some of the choices the characters chose – did keep me on edge and despite not agreeing with everything Kate chose or did, I couldn’t help but be hypnotized by the ways the story kept me reeled in and turning pages faster and faster. It’s heart-breaking and moving to-the-max and despite not being a huge Historical-Lit fan, I thoroughly devoured the book in just a few sittings. If you’re like me, and need a break from reality and a change of pace, The Woolgrower’s Companion will be the breath of fresh air you need. Truly such a beauty of a story! 4 stars.

I grew up in a small town in the bush in Queensland, Australia. I spent my time with my head in a book, or outdoors – climbing trees, playing in dry creek beds, or fishing for yabbies in the railway dam under the big sky. Some of my favourite memories were visiting my grandmother’s sheep farm in rural New South Wales where my father had grown up. She was a fifth generation grazier, a lover of history, and a great and gentle teller of stories. My childhood gave me two passions: a love of the Australian landscape and a fascination with words and stories.
I left the bush at 13 when I went to boarding school in Brisbane. I stayed on there to study law and literature at the University of Queensland. After, my work as a lawyer took me first to Sydney and then all over the world, to London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and New York. But I always carried in my head a strong sense of my childhood: the people, the history, the light and the landscape. Those images have never left me and they would eventually become The Woolgrower’s Companion. It’s a story I’ve felt I had to tell.
I currently live in London with my husband and our two young children. But I miss the Australian sky.

Have you read The Woolgrower’s Companion?

Let me know in the comments, on twitter @LittleMemoirs or using the hashtag #TheWoolgrowersCompanion!

happy reading!

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