Tag Archives: Jennifer-Scoullar

The Lost Valley – my review on Amazon

I wrote about Jennifer Scoullar’s latest novel here, and so I thought you might be interested in the 5 star review I left for it on Amazon.com:

I’ve read a number of Jennifer Scoullar’s novels now, and I’ve enjoyed all of them, including Fortune’s Son, book 1 of The Tasmanian Tales but…The Lost Valley turned out to be something a whole lot more.

This is the most powerful story Scoullar has ever written, imho, and her characters almost jump off the page, they ring so true. Tom, the gentle twin who dreams of flying like a bird. Harry, the troubled twin who’s desperate to reclaim the family fortune lost by his father. And Emma, a working class girl who dreams of becoming a doctor in pre-World War II Australia.

Life, and the war, turn all their dreams upside down and inside out, especially when Kitty, a gorgeous Hollywood starlet walks into their lives. But weaving through the entire story is a thread of quiet joy – the secret of the Lost Valley.

I can’t say anymore for fear of spoiling it for everyone, but I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Scoullar’s attention to detail and obvious love of the Australian bush, make the storytelling sing, but it’s her characters you’ll grow to love. All of them, well except for maybe one. Her you’ll hate. 🙂

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of The Lost Valley but would happily buy it for myself it’s that good.’

If you’ve read The Lost Valley, please leave a review on Amazon. And please follow Jennifer while you’re at it. It makes such a huge difference to a writer, not just because it helps us sell our work, but because we don’t actually get feedback all that often. I don’t think there’s a writer alive who doesn’t get a thrill when someone says ‘I like this’. 🙂



Guest post on Pilyara with Jennifer Scoullar

I have 3… yes, THREE chocolate mouse cakes in the fridge – two that turned out well and one ugly duckling – and I’m knackered [translation : tired] so I’m going to make this short.

Jennifer Scoullar, a very lovely Aussie author and blogger, asked me to guest post on her blog. So I did. 🙂

If you want to read some background on me, and some interesting titbits on the writing of Vokhtah, please pay her a visit at Pilyara.

-waves- Thanks for inviting me Jennifer!

And now to go taste the dud. I think it’s going to be a good brew. 🙂

Goodnight world!


p.s. We’re staying over for the wedding so I won’t get to reply to comments until Sunday.

Wednesday update

Yes, it is Wednesday here in lovely, downunder Australia. The sky is overcast but the sun is shining through, in spots. In other words, it’s a typical spring day in the southern part of Oz. When I look out of my office [read broom cupboard] I can see the alpacas gorging themselves on the spring grass. Just for now, the grass is winning as it’s growing faster than the alpacas can chew.

My fruit trees are also doing a wonderful job of embracing spring’s call to go forth and multiply. At last count I have 3 peach trees covered with tiny green fruit, one apricot, one quince, one fig, and if I’m very lucky, maybe one apple as well. This year’s crop of garlic is promising to be twice as lovely and smelly as last year and my deck garden is blooming. The only thing that is looking a little sad is the large pot of watercress – the cats seem to enjoy sitting there. Ah well…

There is growth happening in my digital world as well. My blog for readers – The Books your favourite Authors read – has grown with the welcome addition of Jennifer Scoullar, author of Brumby’s Run. Jennifer is another aussie, like me, and her love for and understanding of this ancient, peculiar land informs every word she writes.

In other news, I’ve just started reading a book called, ‘Hello, My Name is Cancer’. This book is not a novel. I wish it were. Instead it is the very real story of Lady Julia Prosser [wife of Lord David Prosser of My Barsetshire Diary fame’]. Anyone who has read any of Lord David’s books will know her as ‘Lady J’. I’ve never met Lady J but I feel as if I know her. She is feisty, witty, an animal lover – especially when it comes to horses – and she is one of the bravest people I have ever come across.

Lady J has pancreatic cancer but her book is inspiration rather than gloom because she talks with great courage about how to live with this deadly cancer.

A couple of years ago I had a brush with cancer myself, a very treatable cancer and I’m 99.9% sure it won’t get me. But that little bit of fear is always there. It’s not something I talk about because, like Lady J, I am more concerned with life than with the possibility of death. After all, none of us have any written guarantees that we won’t be run down by a bus or suffer any one of the many possible accidents that life can throw at us. So living is what matters. Each day. Every day. As well as we can, and with as much kindness and generosity as we can muster.

So, to anyone who has poor health of any sort, I say read Lady J’s book, and let yourself live. It really is a wonderful world out there people. 🙂




Brumby’s Run – more than just a romance novel

Life is full of little surprises. How else can I explain why I would spend most of the weekend reading a romance novel when I don’t even like romance novels? After all, aren’t romance novels all about some gorgeous young thing falling in love with some other gorgeous young thing, having a few ups and downs and then living happily ever after? At 59 I know that is about as likely as winning the lottery.  So how could someone so cynical [and old] find herself unable to put Brumby’s Run down?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that Brumby’s Run is what is called a ‘rural romance’ novel. The story is set in country Victoria, the second most southern state in Australia and the state in which I happen to live. That alone would have been enough to pique my interest but the author, Jennifer Scoullar does more than just set the story in a place that I am familiar with, she makes that place come alive. She makes the brumbies come alive as well and I have loved brumbies since I was a child.

For those who are not familiar with our aussie terms, a brumby is a horse that owes its lineage to the intermixing of hundreds if not thousands of feral horses that have roamed the high country since white settlers came to Australia. Brumbies are not purebreds but they are amazingly hardy, intelligent, resourceful horses. They have to be to survive in a landscape that did not evolve with horses in mind. Brumbies can also be incredibly beautiful and it is obvious from her loving descriptions that Jennifer Scoullar knows them well. She loves horses of all kinds and it is her love affair with them and the land in which they live that makes this novel so compelling.

If I’m to be honest I have to admit that the human characters in Brumbies Run are very likable as well. The story centres around identical twins, Sam and Charlie. The names are masculine but the twins are actually eighteen year old girls. Until the beginning of the story they have never met each other because they were separated at birth. Their biological mother Mary had the twins as a teenager and knew she could not raise both of them so in desperation she gave one of the twins – Samantha – up for adoption. Sam was raised by a wealthy family from Melbourne and grew up with all that money could buy. She had her own horse, the best schooling, an elegant home, trips overseas. In short, she had the lot. The only thing Sam did not have was a happy family life.

Charlie, the twin who stayed with Mary, grew up dirt poor on the run down property her mother had inherited and could not manage. Charlie grew up wild with a huge chip on her shoulder but she did have the freedom to do what she wanted to do and that was to work with horses.

The twins might never have met had Charlie not become ill with cancer. Only her identical twin could save her but Sam did not even know she was adopted. And so the scene was set for the development of some very interesting relationships.

Without giving the whole storyline away I’ll just say that I found the relationships between the twins and their two sets of parents very satisfying as Scoullar depicted all of the adults as flawed human beings and that made them seem very real. She made the twins seem very real as well, although there were some things that made me raise an eyebrow. For instance when Sam arrives at her biological mother’s property, Brumby’s Run, she is completely on her own in a run down house with no electricity. She has no light and no way to store fresh food or cook [the stove is electric as well]. Yet this city girl settles in without a qualm and even copes with the outdoor dunny [toilet] and a water-tank full of mosquito ‘wrigglers’.

As a city girl myself I’m pretty sure I would have got in my car and driven to the nearest motel but then again I am a bit of a wimp. In the story though Sam’s make-do attitude seemed right somehow and made her gradual transformation from city girl to country girl more believable.

And now to the romance. There is quite a bit of romance in Brumby’s Run and it did not make me pull a face. The male love interests were recognizably aussie ‘blokes’ and had their strengths and weaknesses, just like the girls. Drew was perhaps just a tiny bit too ‘nice’ at times but even at his nicest he never descended into the perfect man that so many romance novelists create. None of the males in Brumby’s Run were cardboard cut-outs and for that Jennifer Scoullar has my undying gratitude!

Last but not least a word about the craft of writing. I know that the author had a professional editor for Brumby’s Run but, having read an unedited short story she wrote I can say with all honesty that the beauty of the prose is all hers. Crisp, clean, evocative. Brumby’s Run is a rich, layered, well-written story that just happens to be a romance.

I apologize for my very obvious bias and would just like to finish by saying that despite my bias I enjoyed Brumby’s Run immensely and would recommend it to anyone, even guys. 😀



Tell me about yourself award

Mary Ann from Mypenandme just left a lovely comment on my blog saying that she had nominated me for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award. I’m rather stunned because I’m still very new to blogging in general and awards in particular. To me just logging into wordpress and seeing those bright orange numbers up there is an award in itself and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, or may write in the future! My special thanks though go to Mary Ann who has talents in the poetry department that I wish I had.

Now, according to the rules of these awards I have to write 7 things about myself that I haven’t revealed before and then I have to nominate 7 other bloggers for the same award. Oh and copy/paste the proudly displayed award into your own blogs! I hope you guys are paying attention because I know I messed up on the instructions when Daud [aka Lord David Prosser] nominated me for my very first award so try to get it right 😉

Ok, here we go. 7 things I haven’t yet revealed.

1. This is a biggie – I’m 59. That is just one year away from the big six-o when I officially leave the ranks of the late middle aged and become a baby oldie.

2. I’ve learned many things over the last 59 years but none of them has made me grow up, not properly. I can pretend to be dignified for about five minutes but after that I tend to revert to my true age which fluctuates between 10 and 35.

3. I used to ride motorbikes in my twenties and I still love them but I lost my nerve years ago. I blame my Kawasaki 400 which was so big I couldn’t put both feet on the ground at the same time, even on tippy toes.

4. I’m short – see 3 above.

5. When I was younger I used to wear 4″ heels to make me look 5’8″. Being short is hell!

6. I’m an absolute softie when it comes to kids and animals. I do however draw the line at spiders. Nothing with 8 legs need apply.

7. I don’t believe in god or in any religion but I do believe in goodness and I venerate life in all its forms. I justify my stance on roast chicken and spiders as hypocrisy with extenuating circumstances.

Phew, that was actually quite hard. Be warned my lovelies!

Now for the easy part – Seven bloggers I nominate for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award :

–  Jennifer Scoullar.  Jennifer is another aussie but I’m nominating her because she can write like crazy.

The Pink Agendist.  Because this is a man with a big heart. And he can cook!

Courtney Bluebird.  Bluey is not an aussie but she could be 🙂  She is also teaching me about poetry and deserves a medal of valour for that.

Maggie O.  Maggie is funny and kind, she is also funny and loves animals. Oh and did I say she was funny? Well she is 🙂

Alex Laybourne.  Alex writes horror but it’s his understanding of human nature that is his greatest talent.

Caressingthemuse.  Stephanie is a whiz at marketing and shares her knowledge with great generosity. She also has a way with words that makes learning fun.

Sable City.  M. Edward McNally creates worlds I want to visit and has a sense of humour that hits all the right buttons with me.

I have dear friends I haven’t nominated this time around but DaudCandy, Metan, SweetMother, I love you all!

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