#20BacklistIn2020 · #aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · rural fiction · small town

#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Simmering Season by Jenn J. McLeod

2020 backlist challenge graphic

In a desperate bid to reduce the books that are collecting dust on my TBR shelves, I have decided to collaborate with another avid reader and fellow book reviewer, Nicole from Certified Book Addicts. The #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge is a self paced challenge hosted by Jaylamm.ReadsReading and Sunshine, and Cassidys.Bookshelf. The overall goal of this challenge is to read 20 titles from the backlist books that are currently sitting on your TBR pile. For this challenge I will be reading non review books and taking my selections directly from my chock-a-block TBR bookcases (there are two shelved back to back). I will be publishing my reviews of these books on my blog and social media sites on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

Back in Calingarry Crossing to sell the family pub, Maggie Lindeman has no idea a simmering season smallperfect storm is heading her way until her past and present collide with the unexpected.

Maggie once had a crush on Dan Ireland, now a work-weary police crash investigator, still hell-bent on punishing himself for his misspent youth. Dan has ample reason for not going home to Calingarry Crossing for the school reunion, but one very good reason why he should.

Maggie is dealing with a restless seventeen-year-old son, a father with dementia, a fame-obsessed musician husband, a dwindling bank account and a country pub that just won’t sell.

The last thing she needs is a surprise houseguest for the summer. Fiona Bailey-Blair, daughter of an old friend and spoilt with everything but the truth, whips up a maelstrom of gossip when she blows into town.

This storm season, when a school reunion brings home more than memories, Maggie Lindeman will discover there’s no keeping a lid on some secrets.

Estimated TBR Shelf Life: 5 years


Simmering Season by Jenn J. McLeod is a 2014 Simon and Schuster publication. It is a tale of heated secrets, small town politics, connections and reconciling the past with the present. It also sees a return visit to Calingarry Crossing, the appealing rural township from McLeod’s debut novel, House for all Seasons.

Simmering Season allows Maggie Lindeman to take to the floor. In this new tale based in the familiar setting of Calingarry Crossing, Maggie’s return to sell her family’s business  sees her grapple with the past and the present. Maggie has a lot on her plate when we meet her, she has a teenage son on the verge of adulthood testing the limits, an ageing father, a trying husband with big aspirations and financial woes. Maggie knows she must relinquish her family’s local business as soon as she can, but nothing seems to be smooth sailing for Maggie. An old crush, a house guest, a high school reunion and plenty of shenanigans get the whole town talking. It proves to be one tempestuous season for Maggie to contend with.

I was prompted to read Simmering Season, which has been hiding away on my shelves since 2014, after I read Jenn J. McLeod’s latest release, House of Wishes. These two books are lightly tied together, but both can be read as standalone novels. Simmering Season will definitely give some essential grounding if you plan to read House of Wishes.

Simmering Season is a fabulous example of a distinctly Australian small town novel. In Simmering Season we are taken right into the epicentre of this intricate locale. We meet both the insiders and the outsiders of Calingarry Crossing, and we are fully immersed in their daily activities. McLeod portrays the good and the bad aspects of living in a rural township. From the unconditional support, to the gossip, the highs and the lows. McLeod portrays this way of life – warts and all.

Maggie’s journey was an interesting one and I enjoyed following her trials. There was a lot of pressure on her, which I could appreciate, but she also earned my frustrations at times! Maggie’s story is offset by Dan’s perspective, her former crush and Fiona, a pal from way back. Both these characters add colour and diversity to this unfolding tale. McLeod opens up a bevy of themes within Simmering Season. Within the depths of this novel, McLeod explores the complexities of relationships, care of parents, ageing, illness, parental issues, policing, road safety, blame, friendship and love.  The past is a formidable force in this novel, acting as a strong impetus for change, but it also helps the characters to see that they must value the past in order to venture forward into the future.

Simmering Season is an embracing style of novel, it envelopes the reader in cache of secrets, contemporary issues, relationship strains and community relations. Jenn J. McLeod has captured the true air of small town Australian life in her second novel, this heartwarming read will appeal to a wide audience range.

****  4 stars

Simmering Season by Jenn J. McLeod was published on 1st April 2014 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Simmering Season, Jenn J. McLeod, visit here.

Simmering Season is book #6 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge


8 thoughts on “#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Simmering Season by Jenn J. McLeod

  1. That is so funny, I have that book on my TBR shelf, its the only one of Jenn’s that I haven’t read yet. Seeing that I was fortunate enough to read an early draft of House of Wishes, I haven’t re-read it yet but will now read Simmering Season first! Is that Book 2 in the 20 book challenge for you?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes what are the chances! When I looked at the publication date I was astounded that this one had been sitting on my shelves for 5 years! At last I can say I have read all for Jenn’s work – to date! Yes it is book 2 of the challenge, I like the way you were recording yours, perhaps I need to do the same!


  2. I love this challenge idea. It’s one I need to get involved in….. one day. I have Simmering Season on my shelf also. I’m happy to see you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Veronica. I would love for you to join me on this challenge, there is still time. Just pick books from your tbr shelves, publish a review anytime and use the hashtag! It seems a few of us still have Simmering Season on our shelves! I can’t believe it was five years! I’m happy to say now I have completed all Jenn’s work – to date.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, I loved this book and I really enjoy seeing what you choose every fortnight.
    Was a very busy day today so my backlist book will be up tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoyed your buy and productive day! It was a spur of the moment decision to add this review yesterday as I have a few banked up from the holidays. I can now say I’ve read all of Jenn J’s works!


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