Magpie’s Bend by Maya Linnell. (2021).
**4 out of 5 stars**
**Thank you to the author (and her publisher Allen & Unwin) for getting in contact and sending me a free copy of this novel, I am very appreciative; published 1 June 2021**
Bush nurse Lara and rural journalist Toby are thrust into the limelight when an accident puts the beating heart of their community in jeopardy. The small country town can’t mandate without their general store/post office, and Lara struggles with the idea of out-of-town buyers changing it completely. She is also unsure where newcomer Toby’s allegiances lie in this fight. Loyalties are put to the test as the locals attempt to save the shop; with personal agendas, old grudges and misunderstandings threatening their best efforts.
I was excited to receive this book after really enjoying the author’s previous book, Bottlebrush Creek (which was about Lara’s sister Angie). In this one we get to experience Lara’s story. What I love about this book is that while I am a suburbia girl, I feel like I get to experience this rural small town vibe where everyone is connected in some way. The concept of a whole community banding together to save their general store is just lovely, as is the closeness of Lara’s family. I also love that this author has nailed the right percentage (for me) of domestic drama and light romance. It’s really easy to read and engaging; you’ll find yourself hoping Lara and Toby get together and that the town has a happy ending with the store.
Overall: I would happily recommend this novel for those that enjoy Australian rural fiction featuring some drama and romance.