Published: 4th January 2016
Publisher: Random House Australia
Format: Ebook courtesy of Publisher & Netgalley. I’ve since purchased the paperback.
From the author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots and The Maxwell Sisters comes a captivating novel about best friends, family and fighting for what you want, against all odds. The grass always seems greener on the other side . . . until you get there.
For generations Bronwyn Stevenson’s family has thrived in the legal profession and a position at their prestigious firm is hers by right. Only problem is: she does not want it.
Her best friend Claudia has always dreamed of being a lawyer, but tragedy struck and she took up the reins of her father’s vineyard instead. It was supposed to be temporary . . . now there’s no end in sight.
Bronwyn wants Claudia’s life so badly. Claudia can’t imagine anything better than Bronwyn’s job. So the friends hatch a crazy plan to swap places.
Both are determined to be the person they always thought they could never be. But achieving your dreams isn’t easy – and falling in love with the men who oppose them is not a good idea…
Not happy with their lot in life, Bronwyn Edding’s* and Claudia Franklin make plans to swap jobs and lifestyles. After all Claudia is more suited to Bronwyn’s high flying legal life but is stuck in what she perceives to be a dead end job at the families’ failing vineyard; the vineyard that Bronwyn just happens to adore. When the two conspire to simple ‘swap’ jobs after a particularly bad day they come up with a plan that looks easy, and soon discover life is anything but and the grass is always greener on the other side.
“It was a great plan from both our perspectives and it would have been perfect -“
I absolutely adored this book. Loretta Hill is a masterful story teller who never ceases to entertain, but also deals with some more serious underlying issues in a subtle but clear and coherent manner. Take this book for example, every single character is dealing with their own sense of identity and place in the world on some level. There’s the obvious choices of Bronwyn and Claudia who both believe they are suited to another life only to find out it’s not as simple as they might expect it to be. Claudia’s father Horace has recently retired due to medical reasons, but he isn’t willing to give up yet and their entire family is struggling how to find their place in the changing family business. Jack the prodigal son literally gets shipped off overseas and thinks it’s his duty to find himself, or a better version of himself, while his younger brother Chris is disabled and still learning how to adapt some five years later. Sebastian, the cocky lawyer who proves to have a bigger heart, doesn’t know how to let people in. Elsa keeps getting passed around by owners but never loses her playful soul. Bronwyn’s parents never quite adapted to parenthood and have very strict ideals for what Bronwyn’s life is and will be. And the list continues on.
While all of that above seems seriously heavy, the book is anything but. Hill has managed to blend the perfect balance between the heavier moments with her trademark wit and humour, and some truly fantastic writing and descriptions that place you right in the moment and with the characters. Despite the more dramatic moments of the narrative, nothing seemed contrite or forced, but rather the narrative flowed effortlessly. I for one couldn’t read it quick enough.
For a lot of the book I couldn’t decide which best friend and life I liked better as Hill was able to insert me as a reader so effortlessly and realistically into each of these characters lives and footsteps that I was totally hooked and 100% there with the characters. Bronwyn is a kind hearted soul who can’t help but help those around her, while Claudia is the go getter of the two, who lives for the adrenaline rush and challenge of the courtroom and her fiery boss Sebastian Rowlands. When the book started I was instantly more fond of one character more than the other – Claudia. She was hilarious and instantly stole centre stage hands down with her wise cracks and fiery attitude. I loved her interactions at the law firm, especially those with one tall, dark and handsome stranger she had to call boss – one of my all time favourite scenes in this book is the grocery shopping scene! Read the book and you’ll totally understand. But then there was Bronwyn with her put upon dog Elsa, who (Bronwyn) was more complex and bad arse then first thought and she really grew on me. So at times I was even wishing that the plot line I was reading was going to continue longer because I naturally loved Claudia and Sebastian so much. But then Hill would switch the scene and story back to Bronwyn and Jack and I’d fall hopelessly and helplessly in love with their story all over again and never want to leave them.
Personally I loved the dual setting of the busy city life of Perth vs the calm, but not always comfortable, idyllic country atmosphere of the wine region. Having read Hill’s previous books, I loved returning to the wine country and all the references and cameos from Hill’s previous book, The Maxwell Sisters.
The Grass is Greener has it all. Great personalities and character development, chemistry that sky rocketed off the charts and subtle mix of romance, friendship, mystery and intrigue with a good dose of humour that makes you smile and want to track these people down for a drink!
I highly recommend The Grass is Greener to anyone looking for a great summer read. It’s the perfect book to relax to at the beach or in your own backyard. Hill’s characters are larger than live and their story transcends the page; as a whole it’s:
Easy to fall in love with. A devil to forget.
I loved this book so much that after finishing the ebook, I made sure I picked up a physical copy on the day of its release.
*Please note, that the book has Bronwyn’s last name listed as Eddings not Stevenson and Claudia as a Franklin.
To purchase a copy of The Grass Is Greener visit the following online retailers:
Random House Australia | Booktopia | iBooks AU | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Kobo | Boffin Books |