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Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman
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Wildflower Hill (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Kimberley Freeman

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187None62,753 (4.09)3
Member:bookofsecrets
Title:Wildflower Hill
Authors:Kimberley Freeman
Info:Touchstone (2011), Edition: Original, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:historical fiction, women's fiction, contemporary fiction, Australia, Tasmania, family drama

Work details

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman (2011)

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  1. 20
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (imager)
    imager: Family secrets
  2. 00
    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (fueledbycoffee)
  3. 00
    A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford (silva_44)
    silva_44: The character Beattie from Wildflower Hill is incredibly similar to Emma in A Woman of Substance. Both women face daunting circumstances but strive for excellence despite many severe setbacks.
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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This novel is a great read for a quiet weekend filled with hot tea and an empty agenda. It has an almost dreamy quality at times, especially when we are carried back into the past with Beattie.

The story will mean different things for different people and I think it will depend on generation and life experiences. I identified strongly with Beattie and loved her as a character almost from the very beginning. I had a harder time embracing Emma.

Emma to me is a typical example of the millinial generation. She is very confident and goal driven. She is traveling on a one way road that is her idea of success and fulfillment, until the she takes a mistep and has to reroute her life.

Beattie is almost the complete opposite. Although she had youthful dreams of fashion design she was more heavily influenced by all the people and events in her life. She made room for people on her journey. She did attain success and fulfillment but it was a winding road filled with painful challenges, roadblocks and detours.

( )
  Angelina-Justice | Feb 3, 2014 |
I have a huge heart space for books with a little of everything: present day to past, family, historical, romance, mystery, drama, a laugh or two. I'm just happily lost.

Kimberley Freeman's Wildflower Hill is just such a book. I've seen comparisons to Susanna Kearsley and Kate Morton and I would definitely agree. Freeman's writing is detailed without becoming tedious, expertly leaving details along the way for the reader to scoop up, "ooh" and "ahhh" with each revelation to piece together a story: How we can make things happen even in the worst of circumstance.

This quote below flew off the page at me when I first read it. I didn't realize it would also become a key point in the book.

"There are two types of women in the world, Beattie, those who do things and those who have things done to them. Try to be the first type."

In the 1930's, Beattie was a slip of a girl armed with enough courage to push past her fear through the best and worst of times, who took control of the things done to her, and made things happen. I think her strength surprised even her own self, faced with seemingly huge obstacles. Frying pan to fire. Love and tragedy. A new beginning. A new country. Heartbreak. Hard work and determination. Her inherent strength, passion, and drive are subtle like I find most of my own friends. They don't realize how strong they are until they get through it and in hindsight can say, "I'm a badass!"

It's not overpowering, simply blossoming as her life is carved out by her own blood, sweat, and tears. You see her regrets. We all have a few or ten... but also the bittersweet, the loveliness of spirit even until Beattie's death in her old age. She's a woman you'd love to sit down with and have a glass of lemonade, just to hear her sage observations on life.

In the present day, Beattie's granddaughter, Emma has an inner drive, a first love that seems to afford her a sole focus to the detriment of others and even more so, to herself. It's not a man. It's her love of dance. Dance is her own emotional outlet - and occasionally used as a weapon to punish herself or push others away.

Emma's drive to dance and through a series of events, Emma finds her life taking an abrupt and difficult downturn. And this just after her grandmother passes. Now we see Emma deal with a different crutch. It's not pretty but it is clear Emma doesn't even know what she wants, let alone what she has become.

I liked that Emma was imperfect and not infallible. To the point where, when Emma did start to question her own self, she became introspective and honestly objective. We see Emma slowly mature. To see clearly what this new path in life was giving her. Learning of her grandmother's life through family memories, photos, and flashbacks, we see Emma discover a personal strength mirroring her grandmother. We see an emergent fortitude to determine what, where, and who was important to Emma.

There is a swoony, sweet man in the present and you don't even realize you are rooting for him until you are white-knuckling the book and saying, "NO! WHA...YOU CANT...WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?" (maybe just me, then?)

I had a few details I would have loved to have seen completely fleshed out. The book is certainly a stand alone, however I could easily see another book to this story. Overall, I very much enjoyed this gem. ( )
  fueledbycoffee | Dec 3, 2013 |
Audible Book - Picked this little treasure up on a 1 day sale with audible and I am SO glad that I did.

The story interweaves the present life of Emma, a Prima Ballerina living in London and past life of her grandmother Beattie. The story moves smoothly back to the early 1930's when Beattie was a young woman in Scotland who gets pregnant by her boyfriend (whose married to someone else) together they flee to Tasmania to live as a married couple. Emma's career ending injury begins her journey of unraveling the secrets of her beloved grandmother and finds purpose for her life to move forward. Excellent, Excellent Excellent! ( )
  booklovers2 | Nov 5, 2013 |
* My 2011 Favorite Book of the Year *

Wildflower Hill is a poignant tale of two women living in different decades but whose lives are strongly intertwined. I dearly loved this book! The story of Beattie and her granddaughter Emma was completely absorbing. Beattie was a Scottish immigrant who moved to Tasmania, Australia, at the start of the Great Depression. Someone had told her once that "there are two types of women in the world...those who do things, and those who have things done to them." As a poor, unwed mother, she kept that thought in the forefront of her mind as she struggled against poverty and prejudice. Against insurmountable odds, she became the owner of a prosperous sheep farm in rural Tasmania, though it was not without great hardship and heartache.

Set in 2009, Emma's story is effortlessly woven in with Beattie's. Emma is a prima ballerina in London. Proud of her success as a dancer, she didn't realize how it had totally consumed her life until a knee injury put an end to her career. Left with no other options, she returns home to Sydney. Emma is told that she has inherited a farm in Tasmania that her grandmother ran in the 1930s. Beattie had not been there for many years and used the place for storage, so Emma decides to head south to clean out the place in order to sell it. Upon arrival Emma finds boxes and boxes full of Beattie's old possessions, including letters, photos and business records. As Emma sorts through everything, she slowly uncovers family secrets buried for decades.

I have not been moved by a book quite so much in a very long time. I really enjoyed the author's writing style, including the rich descriptions of the settings. It was easy to picture myself there too. Wildflower Hill stirred up many emotions for me - heartache, joy, anger, and frustration. Ultimately it is a very inspirational story about the power of perseverance and realizing what is truly important in life. Both Beattie and Emma were strong female characters written in a way that I felt like I was sharing their experiences with them. I loved how important parts of the story were told through old-fashioned letters. The last letter written by Beattie that Emma finds had me sobbing. The ending was bittersweet and very satisfying. I would highly recommend Wildflower Hill to fans of women's fiction. It is a story that will stay with me for a long time.

Review copy courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  bookofsecrets | Dec 26, 2012 |
I dearly loved this book! The women, Beattie and Emma, have such amazing lives. I could relate better with Beattie's story. She endured hardship but came out on top even though she lost the most precious thing in her life. Emma has struggles of her own, having lost the most important thing in her life as well. Instead of dwelling on it she went on to help another young girl achieve her dream and in the process learned a valuable lesson and found out that what she had loved was not that important after all. ( )
  GrannyNanny | Oct 26, 2012 |
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Kimberley Freemanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ina Bakke KickstatTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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for Janine, who is precious
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The girl danced.
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Emma Blaxland-Hunter, a prima ballerina from London, must re-evaluate her life after doctors declare her knee unfit for dancing. At the behest of her mother, Emma returns home to Sydney, where she discovers her affluent and loving grandmother, Beattie Blaxland, has left her an inheritance: Wildflower Hill, an old sheep farm in Tasmania. When Emma settles in temporarily to clean out Wildflower Hill and sell it, she discovers a photo of her grandmother with a mysterious child.… (more)

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