Title: Five Bush Weddings
Author: Clare Fletcher
Published: August 2nd 2022
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
As a photographer, Stevie’s been to enough bush weddings to last a lifetime. When’s it going to be all about her?
With her ex soon to be married, her mum back on the dating scene, and her best friend threatening to settle down with the Most Boring Man Alive, Stevie is feeling left behind.
To top it off, her old uni mate Johnno West, whom she hasn’t seen for years, keeps turning up as best man at Stevie’s jobs. And he is looking so good.
Perhaps their youthful pact – that if they were both still single in their early thirties they’d get together – is not so crazy after all?
Then the enigmatic Charlie Jones walks into the frame …
Capturing the heartbeat of rural Australia, Five Bush Weddings is an uplifting romantic comedy about looking for love, second chances, and what really matters when the bouquet has been thrown, the swag’s been rolled up and the party’s over.
Clare Fletcher is a debut author who has drawn on her personal experiences of growing up in regional Queensland to pen her first novel Five Bush Weddings. A story of love, life, challenges, second chances, celebrations and community, Five Bush Weddings is an enjoyable Aussie yarn.
Five Bush Weddings follows Stevie, a photographer who specialises in country weddings. We meet Stevie at a point in her life when she is grappling with the impending marriage of her ex, her mother’s new dating adventures and her best friend’s mundane love life. Stevie feels as though the whole world is getting on with things, while she is stuck in a love rut. Stevie is taken aback when she is reacquainted with Johnno, a man from her past. Johnno soon catches Stevie’s eye, but a vow they made many years ago comes back to haunt this potential couple. But another possible suitor enters Stevie’s life at the same time that Johnno reappears. Who will Stevie choose, or will she continue her solo journey?
It’s great to see another new writer on the rural romance block pop up this year. Clare Fletcher is an author who has made an impact on the rural fiction, contemporary romance and women’s fiction scene thanks to her fresh new release, Five Bush Weddings. This rich Australian read is one that will make your heart beat just a touch faster.
Fletcher has situated her book in a place that she knows extremely well, as the action in Five Bush Weddings moves between the city and regional Queensland. Clare Fletcher’s own life experiences have been carefully filtered into this novel. I immediately felt a sense of ease, understanding, credibility and authenticity thanks to Fletcher’s setting base descriptions. What I loved about Five Bush Weddings was the focus on community and real-life pressing strains experienced by our country towns, such as the lengthy drought periods. Books such as Five Bush Weddings act as great platforms to make readers aware of how our bush communities are struggling. This was an important and well covered aspect of Five Bush Weddings.
I’m a big fan of weddings in general, which has been with me since I was a young girl as all I wanted to be was a flower girl! Consequently, my interest in weddings seems to have flowed into adulthood, so I still have a weakness for stories that feature weddings. Clare Fletcher’s book does showcase more than a few weddings and celebrations. The opening pages were particularly memorable and funny. I enjoyed following wedding photographer and lead character Stevie on her wedding adventures. Fletcher integrates the wedding aspects of her novel extremely well into this second chance/love angst style novel. I was keen to see if Stevie would remain single, or choose one of the possible suitors in this tale.
Stevie is quite prickly, so I do have to be honest and say I was a little at odds with her at times. However, the rest of the cast are a great bunch to get to know. The sense of unity and comradery is strong in this novel and Fletcher really does turn on the country charm. A well fashioned happily ever after rounds off Five Bush Weddings, which ensures this novel is completely satisfying. Clare Fletcher has composed a great debut novel and it is genuinely nice to see another new face appear in the thriving category of Australian rural fiction.
Five Bush Weddings by Clare Fletcher was published on 2nd August 2022 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Five Bush Weddings, Clare Fletcher visit here.
*Thanks extended to Penguin Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.