Title: Mothers’ Day
Author: Fiona McArthur
Published: April 2nd 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Australian, Romance, Rural
Rating: 4 stars
Burra District Hospital’s maternity unit is under threat and will close for births unless a new obstetrician can be found. Midwife Noni Frost needs a miracle.
A single mum, Noni lives with her young son, Harley, and her Aunt Win, a free spirit and the beating heart of Burra Guest House. Noni’s world is disrupted when Iain McCloud and his pregnant teenage daughter Jacinta move into the guesthouse to await the birth of her baby.
There’s instant chemistry between Iain and Noni, although he has no plans to stay on in town. But when Jacinta shares explosive family secrets with Noni and an unexpected crisis occurs, everyone’s lives come crashing down around them.
Set among the white gum trees and flowing waters of the NSW northern rivers, this is a heartfelt and dramatic story about new babies, new friends and new loves, which shows that when strong women come together in a time of crisis, they can overcome even the greatest odds.
Australian author Fiona McArthur leads the way in terms of medical romance set in various rural locations across our country. After taking a look at her backlist I was astounded to see just how many books she has to her name. Fiona is back, just in time for Mothers’ day, with a brand new title named after the day when we honour our mums with, Mothers’ Day.
Mothers’ Day is set in Burra, a small country town in rural NSW. It revolves around Burra District hospital, which is under the threat of closure. It reveals the lives of three different women. The first is Noni Frost, a midwife and a single mother to young son Harley. We witness how Noni’s life is significantly changed when newcomer Iain McCloud arrives in Burra, with his pregnant daughter in tow. Although Iain’s stay in Burra is only temporary, when he develops a strong affection for Noni, he begins to have second thoughts about leaving Burra so soon. Linked to these two characters is Jacinta, Iain’s teenage daughter who he has recently been reunited with and desperately wants to help. With a baby on the way and single, Jacinta needs all the help she can take. The final and third player in this tale is Win, the owner of Burra’s local guest house, who goes out of her way to help Iain and Jacinta. With a stunning country backdrop in the distance, Mothers’ Day is the gentle and emotional tale of love, life and birth in tough times. Fiona McArthur and her endearing characters show us what counts.
It has been at least two years since I last read a Fiona McArthur title and I’m not sure how that happened as I love Fiona’s work! Anyhow, when the opportunity presented itself to read and review McArthur’s latest release, I found myself very excited about the prospect of delving into Mothers’ Day. The excitement I put into wanting to read this book was definitely warranted, I enjoyed this book very much and I am sure many loyal and new readers to McArthur’s work will too.
Mothers’ Day encompasses of a rich narrative that weaves its way around three core female figures and a strong male protagonist. It is told via shifting chapter perspectives as we become fully invested in the involving lives of Jacinta, Noni and Win. The way in which the narrative is structured, dividing the reader’s time between these three women, ensures that the audience is able to develop a connection to all three women. While I soon developed a fondness for Noni and Win, my relationship with Jacinta was much harder to forge. Although she grated on me a times, I ended up feeling very sorry for her. I also got quite taken in with her secrets, which McArthur gently released as the book progressed. There is no denying the fact that each of the women in this novel have their own fears, insecurities and faults, but underneath they each have a heart of gold. I loved their individual pathways taken in Mothers’ Day, which is a reflection of McArthur’s solid storytelling skills.
Supporting Noni, Jacinta and Win is male lead Iain. A successful doctor and a man adjusting to instant fatherhood of a seventeen year old pregnant daughter, makes Iain’s journey a fascinating one to follow. Overall, I found Iain a nice guy but he did have his moments when he became quite single minded. However, by the close of the novel, the situations Iain becomes involved in and the way in which he responds to these situations allowed him to occupy a bigger place in my heart.
For those who are not aware, Fiona McArthur has strong background in the medical field, specialising in midwifery. She uses this to her advantage in all her novels and Mothers’ Day is no exception. All the medical scenes in this novel come across as credible and highly informative. I found myself casting my mind back to my own pregnancy, the births of my two children and the ante natal classes I attended through the experiences presented by Fiona McArthur and the characters of Mothers’ Day.
Romance is a big theme in this novel and it comes in the form of Noni and Iain’s instant attraction. When these characters collide on the pages of this novel, sparks always seem to fly. The heat and attraction is obvious and I liked the progression of their relationship. For those who enjoy a sizzle or two, there are a few sexy scenes in Mothers’ Day to keep you entertained!
Mothers’ Day explores some great themes. The medical environment underpinning this novel allows McArthur to explore issues such as birth options, staffing pressures and threats of closure to district hospitals. This is all done with composure and professional insight. I also liked how McArthur chose to focus the novel on connection, reconnection, friendships, second chances, building bridges and gaining trust. On the whole, I feel love, family, friendship, trust and loyalty are what best defines this new novel from Fiona McArthur. There are smiles all round by the close of the novel, after the rocky road travelled which each of these protagonists. Mothers’ Day is a novel full of emotional drama, but plenty of heart to keep you balanced.
The best gift you can give to mark the occasion of Mothers’ day is a book and Fiona McArthur’s new novel, aptly titled Mothers Day’, would make the ideal present this May.
Mothers’ Day by Fiona McArthur is published on April 2nd 2018 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Mothers’ Day, Fiona McArthur visit here.
*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Mothers’ Day is book #29 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge