Published March 2013 by Hachette Australia
Paperback, 368 pages – I own a copy
Shaken after a tragic incident in the city hospital where she worked, Daniella figures that the small north-west Queensland cattle town of Ryders Ridge is just the place to hide. Caring and dedicated, she quickly wins the trust of her patients, and the attention of handsome station heir, Mark Walker. As their relationship grows, Daniella begins to think she could make a new life for herself in Ryders. But country towns have their own problems.
Under the big outback sky, Daniella discovers that the local rumour mill can threaten both friendships and careers, and that like the city, Ryders Ridge also has secrets. Mark, too, is a complication – as good as they are together, how can a doctor maintain a practice and live on a cattle station?
Just as Daniella considers running away for a second time, a terrible accident forces her to face the secret she left behind in Brisbane, and risk losing Mark forever.
Ryders Ridge is the debut novel of Charlotte Nash, an Australian author who I’m sure we are sure to see a lot from in the future.
Ryders Ridge is a contemporary take on Rural Fiction with a unique twist. Like Loretta Hill who took the established genre of rural fiction, and tweaked it by setting her story in the Pilbara rather than an on a farm, Charlotte Nash has taken the genre of rural fiction and given it a new direction and voice. Rather then repeat some of the many story lines and tropes that are cropping up now a days in rural fiction and Chook lit alike, Nash has kept the rural setting, but added a secondary genre and spun a tale centred around the problematic issues of rural medicine.
The twist on the modern stable is not only refreshing, but also invigorating for the reader and really throws Nash as a debut author into the spotlight. Her writing is clear and crisp, her settings vivid and her characters strong and loveable. What’s more the situations her characters get themselves into are endless and you can never really tell where the story is going to go exactly.
With a team of vibrant and cheeky secondary characters, Nash’s cast of characters really come to life and spring off the pages.
Lively supporting cast of characters that range from the adorable dinosaur obsessed Jamie to Dave, to the snarky and downright controlling Stephanie and Maria Morgan who view Ryders Ridge as their own personal stomping ground, and Mark Webber as their property alone.
With family dramas and personal issues as far as the eye can see, the narrative is compelling and quickly draws the reader in from the very first page. To Nash’s credit, the narrative and her writing is neither angst-y or over the top, rather the characters and setting blend nicely together creating a coherent and inspiring story that is sure to pull at the readers heart strings.
I could go on and on about this book, and while I feel as though I’ve gushed a fair bit already, I don’t want to give too much of the story away. I urge you to pick up this brilliantly crafted, inspiring and compelling story for you will not be disappointed. By creating such a strong debut, Nash has not only proven her talents as a writer but also firmly presented herself as a must watch (and read) author who I am sure we will hear a lot from (and about) in the future.
Ryders Ridge is ideal for readers of rural fiction/Chook lit, but also readers of more medical type narratives. Full of small town politics, big city ideas, human spirit and love, Charlotte Nash’s debut Ryders Ridge is a novel not to be missed; I very much look forward to reading this authors work in the future.
This novel was read as part of my Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2013, and in conjunction with my Romance Appreciation Challenge 2013.