#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · new release · romance · rural fiction

New Release Book Review: The McCalister Legacy by Nicole Hurley-Moore

Title: The McCalister Legacy

Author: Nicole Hurley-Moore

Published: August 4th 2020

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 328

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Rural

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

Someone is hiding a secret-one that could change Berry’s life, and alter her tragic past.As a child, Berry McCalister’s family was torn apart by shocking violence. Eleven?years on, she returns to the small town of Harlington, determined to confront the past and, finally, to cut all ties and sell the family farm.

Complicating her desire to get out of Harlington, Berry is drawn to her childhood crush, Nate Tarant. He never knew she existed back then, but things change, and this time Nate seems to be very much aware of her presence.

Berry begins to question the long-believed story of what happened to her family. Will she ever find out the truth? And can one old rumour shed light on the real events of that night?


‘Nate was right, it was a sad place, and it was filled with ghosts – but they were her ghosts and she alone had to confront them.’

With half a dozen rural fiction novels to her name, Australian author Nicole Hurley-Moore returns with another blockbuster small town family mystery novel. An age old legacy, family secrets, a tragic and a quest to confront the cold hard truth defines The McCalister Legacy.

The McCalister Legacy unveils the tragic story of a family torn apart by a terrible act of violence. Berry McCalister has been unable to move from the pain that haunts her following the loss of her family, due to a shocking incident. Despite over a decade passing since this heartbreaking turn of events, Berry knows she cannot continue to lock away the past. In an act of true courage, Berry decides to return to her home town of Harlington to close the book on her family’s rural property. But just as Berry decides to finally say goodbye to the past, she is faced with a barrage of emotions. Berry’s childhood sweetheart Nate re-enters her life and old feelings are rekindled. As Berry makes some all important steps to putting her past behind her, fresh allegations and new revelations implore this tortured soul to finally uncover the truth behind her tragic family story.

Nicole Hurley-Moore is really becoming a force to be reckoned with the rural fiction field. This valued author has amassed a great collection of novels for those who love Australian country based stories, with a touch of romance and hint of suspense. This time around Nicole Hurley-Moore has branched further afield and she has incorporated a historical thread to her novel. I really enjoyed this aspect of The McCalister Legacy.

As we have come to expect and enjoy from Nicole Hurley-Moore’s releases, small town country living plays a big role in the proceedings of the book. In The McCalister Legacy we are fully immersed in the general way of life in the area of Harlington in rural Victoria. I really enjoyed this country based sojourn. I also appreciated Nicole Hurley-Moore’s representation of her focal rural property. From the day to day operations of a farm, the small town rumor mill and the sense of community that comes from residing in rural areas of Australia, Nicole Hurley-Moore has her finger on the pulse.

Berry McCalister is the central character in this new novel from Nicole Hurley-Moore. Berry is both strong and vulnerable in the same breath. I had a great deal of respect and sympathy for Berry. I also dearly wanted Berry to finally put the past behind her, but I had high hopes that Berry would find the answers she so desperately required around her family’s tragic past. Nicole Hurley-Moore does a good job of suspending the mystery side of things in this area and the reader is deliberately kept in the dark until the parting stages of the novel. I did find the book gratifying in the sense that the culprit of this act of violence is apprehended, allowing justice to be served.

What I enjoyed most about The McCalister Legacy was the different timeline avenues Nicole Hurley-Moore applied to her novel. From a present day timeframe, to a more recent past based focus (2007), through the turn of the century (1906) thread, I thought these eras were weaved stitched together very well. I loved the 1906 based narrative so much that I could have easily enjoyed many more chapters from this time period. The gold rush mystery and the lost boy greatly appealed to me. I do hope Nicole Hurley-Moore has plans to delve into the historical field in future books.

Nicole Hurley-Moore wins her readers over again with this fetching new tale of family turmoil, concealed truths, tragic acts, small town living, age-old legacies, second chance romance and restitution. The McCalister Legacy is a staple read for rural fiction fans.

The McCalister Legacy by Nicole Hurley-Moore was published on 4th August 2020 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The McCalister Legacy, Nicole Hurley-Moore, visit here

*I wish to thank Allen & Unwin for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

The McCalister Legacy is book #105 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge 

4 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: The McCalister Legacy by Nicole Hurley-Moore

  1. Another excellent review! I own a few of Nicole’s books though unfortunately still unread. I am looking forward to reading her debut book next year, I’ll have so much more time as I will be only participating in one reading challenge and that will be our one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great you own a few of Nicole’s books. they are lovely easy reads. I’m sure you will be able to get to them in the new year. I think I have just one on my unread pile, a signed one from the West Coast Fiction Festival. I never seem to get to those signed books!

      Great to hear you will be doing just one challenge next year – that’s our international women’s one right?

      I too will be reducing the challenges next year. I won’t do Pop Sugar and Book Bingo.


      1. Yes, our international women’s challenge – looking forward to it! I’ve found a few books so far and they’re already sitting in my trolley.

        Good idea reducing the challenges – no more stress lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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