The Whole Bright Year by Debra Oswald. (2018).
*4 out of 5 stars*
This story is set in Australia in 1976 on a stone-fruit orchard where Celia, a widowed single mother, lives with her 16 year old daughter Zoe. Sheena and her 18 year old wildchild brother Kieran come to work as fruit pickers on the orchard. Sparks fly between Zoe and Kieran which could lead to strife as Kieran has a troubled past and Celia struggles with anxieties and stress for her daughter.
It’s a very easy read, I finished it in about 3 hours. The story starts slow and then picks up pace about halfway through. As a mother myself I found Celia’s anxieties for her daughter were relatable and I could easily imagine stressing about your 16 year old daughter, particularly your daughter experiencing first love with a young man who doesn’t seem to be the best influence. All of the characters in this novel are well written and each had quirks/struggles that made them human with vulnerabilities.I liked that the story was plausible and had a realistic ending rather than finishing in the usual happily-ever-after ending that one may expect.