#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · romance

New Release Book Review: A Good Life by Leanne Lovegrove

Title: A Good Life

Author: Leanne Lovegrove

Published: October 15th 2021

Publisher: Leanne Lovegrove

Pages: 311

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4 stars

Greta Johnson made a dreadful mistake. A two million dollar mistake. Unemployed and afraid she flees to her eccentric old aunt, a noted artist living in a ramshackle cottage in secluded rural hinterland. Life has never seemed more difficult. Brodie Quade is her aunt’s protégé. Born and raised in the region, he paints controversial pieces that depict life’s injustices while working at his parent’s caravan park. He’s going nowhere, but dreams of changing the world. Greta represents everything Brodie detests about our greedy and shallow society. Yet in the tranquillity of her aunt’s home, they learn to accept each other, and begin to heal old wounds. When all they’ve gained is threatened by the sudden return of Greta’s past, they are forced to face the truth. Has Greta really learned from her mistakes? Is Brodie man enough to do more than confront the wrongs of the world and challenge his own beliefs? A Good Life is a moving story about forgiveness, acceptance and choosing the right path.

Review:

Leanne Lovegrove loves to pen stories about family, love, loss and secrets. A Good Life is Leanne Lovegrove’s latest release and it contains all of these connective elements. With a strong narrative focus on redemption and making amends for life changing mistakes, A Good Life is a highly relatable read from generous Australian storyteller Leanne Lovegrove.

Leading the way in Leanne Lovegrove’s A Good Life is Greta Johnson, a woman who has made a terrible mistake. In the wake of this serious error of judgement, Greta decides to take refuge at her kooky Aunt Millie’s rundown cottage, nestled in an isolated country locale. At Millie’s Greta hopes to come to terms with her awful mistake. When Greta encounters Brodie, a man who has been working closely with her aunt Millie, who is a talented artist, she begins to view her life differently. Brodie is a man torn between his passion of painting the world as he views it and his work at the local caravan park, which is owned by his parents. Brodie is stuck in a rut, but he has big dreams. Initially Greta and Brodie do not see eye to eye, due to their different lifestyles, but eventually they appreciate each other. Together, they work through their issues and struggles, but this comes to a head when Greta is confronted with a huge problem from her past.  Can Brodie and Greta come to a mutual sense of agreement in regards to their beliefs? Will they choose the direction that is right for them in life and love?

A Good Life represents the fourth novel I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing by Australian author Leanne Lovegrove. Lovegrove’s stories are always engaging, sympathetic and very well written. I found this was exactly the case when I picked up A Good Life to enjoy over a working week.

Lovegrove sets her new book in a stunning Australian rural hinterland location. I could easily picture dear Millie’s ramshackle cottage, thanks to Lovegrove’s most giving descriptions of this vivid locale. I think it was the perfect setting to compliment the overall storyline, about an artist, her protégé and a woman seeking to make up for a devastating mistake. For those who are fans of contemporary rural fiction and small-town country stories, A Good Life is exactly what you are looking for setting wise. I know I felt safe, secure and at home with the setting sequences, they were carefully realised on the pages of this moving novel.

The work of an artist and the life of someone who aspires to be an artist is explored well by Lovegrove. This is a profession that I am personally very interested in learning more about and I’m glad I had the opportunity to glean more about the day-to-day life of an artist through the character of Millie.  With plenty of air time devoted to this one-of-a-kind character with a colourful profession, I am sure all readers who come to this book will find this element of the tale a highlight.

A good deal of A Good Life is directed towards female lead character Greta Johnson’s rather rocky and tumultuous pathway to atonement. Lovegrove utilises this character to explore a number of serious issues. With fear, hope, decisions, misdemeanours, morality, loss, abuse and other trying personal problems leading the way, this makes for an emotional read. Lovegrove’s approach is full of empathy, honesty and compassion. Above all, this author in unafraid of presenting less favourable characters. Lovegrove has inserted a prime protagonist who has obvious flaws and issues to overcome. Greta’s involvement in the storyline in general makes us see that we are all human and sometimes we can make truly dreadful mistakes.

With a generous romance storyline and tender themes of family leading the way, A Good Life is an affective and meaningful contemporary romance novel. Leanne Lovegrove’s latest is perfect for fans of life literature and rural fiction.  

A Good Life by Leanne Lovegrove was published on 15th October 2021. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of A Good Life, Leanne Lovegrove, visit here.

*With thanks to the author, Leanne Lovegrove, for providing me with a copy of this novel, in exchange for an honest review.

A Good Life is book #104 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge 

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