Title: The Life She Deserves (Granite Springs #1)
Author: Maggie Christensen
Published: October 9th 2019
Publisher: Cala Publishing
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Two old friends. A new relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
Growing up in the small Australian country town of Granite Springs, Jo and Col have been lifelong friends.
Following Jo’s divorce and the death of Col’s wife, the pair find comfort in their common grief. But as they tentatively explore their new relationship, they have little idea of the challenges that lie ahead.
What they haven’t bargained for is Jo’s interfering ex, along with their three children, all of whom have their own agendas.
Can Jo ride out the storm? Will she be granted the life she deserves?
Maggie Christensen is an author who has strived to carve out a niche in the publishing world. Christensen writes honest, realistic and highly relatable stories, with older protagonists in mind. Her latest work of contemporary women’s fiction is the first in a new series. The Life She Deserves heralds the beginning of three books set in the fictional rural town of Granite Springs.
The Life She Deserves takes the reader to the small country township of Granite Springs and introduces Jo Slater, a woman who tirelessly supports her children and grandchildren, which leaves little time for herself. When Jo loses her best friend, she grows closer to her friend’s husband, as they lean one another in the grief process. Slowly, the two begin to see that their connection is more than a simple friendship, it has blossomed into love. However, as soon as they begin to explore a possible relationship, there are roadblocks and challenges to negotiate. An ex returns on the scene, causing trouble and heartbreak. While the demands of Jo’s children seem to escalate, causing Jo to take a step back from her burgeoning relationship with Col. The Life She Deserves is a story of responsibilities, obligations, choices and gaining the upper hand over what you truly want in life.
It was nice to be reacquainted with the writing of Maggie Christensen, via her brand new rural based series. The Life She Deserves is the first book in an new exciting collection, with two more stories to come. Regular readers of Christensen’s work will find much to enjoy in the introductory book of this country based series. There is a sense of sincerity to Christensen’s work that I am sure will draw in loyal readers and new audience members to this series.
Jo is the central protagonist in The Life She Deserves. As a mature age character, Jo is outlined well by Christensen. I am confident that many readers will find aspects of Jo’s life and personality are reflected in their own lives. I was able to see a number of parallels in Jo’s predicament to the older female figures that are a part of my life. The focus on the expectations and pressures that children place on their parents to care for grandchildren struck a chord with me. Likewise, I could sympathise with the reservations Jo had about jumping into a new relationship, with the baggage that followed her and Col, her prospective new partner. Jo experiences a significant issue with her ex-husband, which again allowed me to cast my mind back to the situations experienced by more than one female figure in my immediate family. It was heartening to see these issues played out on the pages of this novel and I’m sure these areas it will provide a sense of comfort and connection to many readers.
Christensen tackles plenty of emotional and relevant themes in this novel. Christensen is inherently aware of what issues are in the hearts and minds of her readers. From family politics, relationships, separation, loss, friendship, second chance love, independent living and life choices, each is touched on with a strong sense of understanding, as well as mature insight. The accompanying storyline and dialogue compliments these themes, and Christensen is mindful of including plenty of surprises in her narrative along the way. It all culminates in a poignant and life affirming ending, which is in keeping with the overall tone of the novel.
My parting word on The Life She Deserves is to praise the country based setting evoked by Maggie Christensen. I loved this aspect of the book, it really drew me completely in to the locale base of Granite Springs. I found joy in the landscape descriptions and references to our Australian wildlife in the novel. This was a great depiction of a typical Australian country town setting. I look forward to a return visit! Kay’s story is next up, to be released this week.
The Life She Deserves by Maggie Christensen was published on October 9th 2019 by Cala Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
For more information on Maggie Christensen, check out her website here.
*I wish to thank the author, Maggie Christensen, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Life She Deserves is book #149 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge