Book Review: Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman

23 Aug

Genre: Literary fiction

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pub date: 23 Aug 2011

Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab


1920s, Glasgow – Beattie Blaxland is in love with Henry, a married man.When she becomes pregnant with his child, her family abandons her. Beattie and Henry, very much in love, run away to Australia to start a new life. But Beattie’s life doesn’t turn out the way she had hoped it would.

2009, London – Emma Blaxland-Hunter is prima ballerina who has hurt her knee and finds out that she may never be able to dance again. When she goes home to Australia to heal and figure out what to do with her life, she finds out that her grandmother Beattie has left her Tasmanian sheep farm to Emma.


Emma’s life was all about dancing. Now that she can’t dance anymore, she finds it impossible to picture her life or her future. When she goes to the sheep farm that her grandmother had left her, she finds out something about Beattie that no one in her family knows.

Beattie is of course a character who is easy to root for. As Emma finds out more about her grandmother’s secret life before she married her grandfather, we also find out about Beattie’s story. From an unmarried pregnant women to a single mother, Beattie uses her smarts and tenacity and becomes the owner of a sheep farm. But prejudices of the time threaten not only her farm but also her happiness.

Emma has to now figure out what she wants to do with her life. When she first came to Wildflower Hill, all she wanted to do was fix up the place, get rid of the stuff that had been collected over the years and sell the property. But having time to heal and think, and getting more curious about her grandmother, she also becomes more involved in the community. Discovering the story of her grandmother and helping the people around her makes Emma shake out her self-involved shell and come into her own.

Beattie knew that the lessons that she learnt through her life would be lessons that Emma would some day need. In learning about her grandmother’s life, Emma learns to overcome bad luck and make her life what she wants it to be.

There is something about a story that centres around a fight for a home that immediately calls to me. I could have done without some of the romantic parts in Emma’s story, but overall, I loved this inspirational story about finding oneself and figuring out what is important in life.


Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys stories about overcoming odds and finding true happiness. Fans of women’s fiction will also enjoy this story about strong women.

Rating: 4.5*

*See my Rating policy

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3 Responses to “Book Review: Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman”

  1. Shivanee @ Novel Niche August 27, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    You know, this sounds like one of those gently unwinding, pastoral romances that would translate so well to a picturesque little film. I really wouldn’t be surprised if a screenplay gets optioned based on it. I confess I don’t read much, if anything, from this genre of fiction, as I’ve found it to be heavy on weepy sentimentalism and low on actual writing talent in the past, but I might give this one a try.

    (P.S. I hope you’re finding Dotrice’s narration less overbearing — I didn’t listen to much of the ‘A Game of Thrones’ audiobook before I switched over to the print version, but what I heard, I liked. I found his characterization surprisingly apt.)

    • stargazerpuj August 27, 2011 at 8:13 am #

      Absolutely, this would translate very well into film. I’m wary of this genre as well, but I really liked the strong grandmother in this one. The granddaughter’s story was a little more predictable and sentimental, I thought. Let me know what you think if you do try it.

      (I’m enjoying the audiobook overall – but I still can’t get used to the strange pacing that he uses. Breaks to breathe in the middle of compound adjectives and the like still annoy me! But I will finish the first book and then decide. I find that I can get through huge books faster on audio)


  1. 2011: Bookish Snapshots « Stargazerpuj's Book Blog - December 30, 2011

    […] State of Wonder by Ann Patchett The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill The Taker by Alma Katsu Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma This Burns My Heart by Samuel […]

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