Title: The Life She Wants (Granite Springs #3)
Author: Maggie Christensen
Published: March 9th 2020
Publisher: Cala Publishing
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
She’s a strait-laced, inhibited career woman. He’s an aging hippie who acts without thinking. What could they possibly have in common?
Fran Reilly has hidden a secret sorrow for the past thirty years. But turning fifty and losing her mother forces her to re-evaluate her future. Returning to her home in Granite Springs, she’s determined to make changes to her well-ordered life. However, there are more changes in store than she could ever have imagined.
When Owen Larsen applies for the position as Head of the new School of Music and Drama at the university in Granite Springs, his only concern is to leave the rat race of Sydney and find a more peaceful existence in the country.
Owen is the exact opposite of everything in Fran’s well-ordered world and reminds her of a past she has been at pains to forget. And Owen’s country idyll isn’t proving to be as peaceful as he imagined.
Can these two opposites find common ground and is there a future for them in Granite Springs?
‘He wondered what had brought her here – to Australia and Granite Springs – in the first place, and what had made her stay. He had the distinct feeling there was some secret in her past.’
Granite Springs welcomes back readers with open arms for a third time in The Life She Wants. A wholesome and tender tale, Maggie Christensen’s third issue in the heartwarming Granite Springs series is a story of past sorrows, new beginnings, second chances and life changes.
Fran Reilly leads the action in The Life She Wants. A career woman who carries a great deal of past grief, Fran has suffered many setbacks in her life. After the loss of her mother, Fran decides to go back to her roots and she returns to the township of Granite Springs. Despite the sadness in her heart, Fran is set on making some vital changes in her life, an overhaul of sorts. But in re-evaluating her life, some unexpected events are thrown Fran’s way, which takes her by surprise. Another new resident to Granite Springs is Owen Larsen. Owen has recently attained a lucrative position at the University of Granite Springs in the Music department. Owen is keen to make a tree change following his hectic former life in Sydney. When these polar opposites connect, something sparks between them. Life throws some unexpected hurdles, as Owen and Fran learn through their new lives in Granite Springs.
It was nice to be invited back to meet the crowd, old and new of Maggie Christensen’s Granite Springs series. In The Life She Wants, we reconnect with some familiar faces and we are also acquainted with a set of fresh faces. There is always a sense of familiarity and pleasantry that comes with a new Maggie Christensen novel and The Life She Wants was exactly what I expected.
The heroine of this new tale from Maggie Christensen is quite a hurt soul. As the book begins its journey we learn of Fran’s past hurts, losses and setbacks in life. It is no wonder that Fran holds back and refuses to give herself to anyone. I really didn’t blame Fran for staying guarded after learning more about her life experiences! As with many of Christensen’s stories, readers will most likely connect to Fran’s hardships and general experiences. There is plenty of realism to the situations the characters face in The Life She Wants.
The male lead of this tale is Owen Larsen. Owen struck me as a kind of alternative, hippy like character, who displayed plenty of honesty, care and appreciation as the story progressed. I really liked how Christensen deliberately chose to pit these two very different souls together, it seemed unlikely at first that Fran and Owen would make any kind of connection. However, in a surprising move, the two manage to prove us wrong and eventually love sparks. Christensen is no stranger to the second chance and mature age love story. Christensen pulls out all the stops and I’m confident readers will appreciate all this romantic story has to offer.
Underlying the romance is a hearty look at a number of further issues that the characters in this story must contend with. There is a strong focus on loss and grief, while Christensen also examines family dynamics, workplace issues, trust, friendship and tree changes. The impact of a local bushfire in the region provides the cast with more problems to contend with. The Life She Wants is book full of life challenges that we bear witness to as the narrative unfurls.
A quick nod to the spirited animals in this issue of the series. The goats really sole the show and I enjoyed meeting the local wildlife of the region, these inserts reminded me of just how appealing Granite Springs is, even though it is a fictional country locale.
Take a stroll back to Granite Springs if you are a return visitor, or take a chance on this picturesque and inviting country town if you are new to the series. The Life She Wants is another charming issue in Maggie Christensen’s feature series.
The Life She Wants by Maggie Christensen was published on March 9th 2020 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 Wants is book #85 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge