Wildflower Hill

Friday, March 30, 2012

Title: Wildflower Hill
Author: Kimberley Freeman
Audio Narrated By: Caroline Lee
Pages: 544
Audio Time: 16 hours, 28 min.
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
Audio Publisher: Bolinda Publishing
Pub. Date: August 23, 2011

I probably wouldn't have picked this book up if it hadn't been for all the great blogger reviews I read. I saw it on at least a few "best of 2011" lists. My super high expectations may have caused the subsequent disappointment I felt after reading (listening to) this. Looking back, I did enjoy Wildflower Hill and its listening experience, but I didn't love it.

Wildflower Hill simultaneously tells the story of modern day Emma and her grandmother, Beattie. Emma inherits her grandmother's property in Australia upon Beattie's passing. Emma then goes to Australia to recover from an injury that prevents her from her work as a ballerina. While cleaning up the house, she learns more about her grandmother's past and unearths some long buried family secrets.

Overall, I thought the story was nice. The plot itself wasn't that original, and I found there wasn't much specific about Emma for me to relate to or to like about her all that much. I did like Beattie and her story, but there were some things she did that I didn't like. There was one big plot point that was supposed to be this huge turning point for Beattie, but I really didn't like it. It saddened me, really. Her story, however, was definitely much more interesting as she experienced and overcame, or had to cope with, various struggles. We also get a glimpse into what life was like back then and all the judgments and stereotypes placed upon her and her situations.

I listened to the audio version and for the most part I think that was a good way to go. This was a long book but it seemed to go fast when listening to it. While the story didn't blow me away, I did like the audio production. It sort of reminded me of a tv movie that absorbs me for a couple hours. The narrator has an Australian accent which I loved, but she also did a great Irish accent.

Check out these other reviews for Wildflower Hill:
Write Meg
Raging Bibliomania
Mrs. Q: Book Addict


Sandy Nawrot said...

If a book is over 300 pages or so, I definitely fare better with an audio. I actually ordered the book from the library but never got to it (probably because of the size!). Plus it came in the middle of my reading all those UCF books which pretty much took over my life for awhile. Speaking of which, see you tonight!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the cover - too bad the book didn't work out!

Zibilee said...

I liked this one, but didn't love it. The dual narrative was interesting, but I preferred the grandmother's story by far. It was one of the only books I had ever read that took place in Australia, which was nice. It sounds like your feelings were much like mine. Very nice review today. Can't wait to see you soon!

Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I really enjoyed this one. Sorry it wasn't as good as you were expecting.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review. Glad to hear the narrator was good with accents. That's always nice.

Meg said...

Oh, this was one of my absolute favorites last year -- but I can definitely see how high expectations can change a reading experience. I've pushed this one into my sister's hands since finishing, and I keep recommending it! Listening would have been interesting, and I definitely fare better listening to long books on audio than "in print."

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