The Friendship Tree ~ by Helen J. Rolfe

RATING: 8/10 📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖

GENRE: romantic novel

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BOOK DETAILS: Link to book details on Amazon.com  ~ Amazon.co.uk

SYNOPSIS:  Tamara is single. After a two year relationship with Bradley, she decides to run away from the UK for good. To Australia, where her parents have lived in the past decades.

Jake is Australian. He is a veterinarian with a major secret, that he doesn’t want to share, for the sake of his beloved. No sentimental complications were to be counted, until he meets Tamara and everything changes.

MAIN CHARACTERS: Tamara (orphan with a sweet caring mother and stepfather; an annoying ex; and a new bunch of wonderful new aussie friends) and Jake (with a mistery in his life, another woman whom he shares his house with, and a supportive local community).

SETTING: Brewer Creek – Sydney (Australia) – the UK

POINT OF VIEW: 3rd person narration (omniscent)

HOW I MET THIS BOOK: I remember seeing a tweet from some romantic writers, and I thought to fire a question: “In search for a good relaxing read, what do you suggest?” Ms. Rolfe answered with a link to a Sunday readings list. That was the time when I purchased Handle me with care. After that I decided to read all her novels. They give me a sense of peace, they are so real, tangible and solid.

SOMETHING NEW I LEARNT FROM THIS BOOK:

A Huntsman is also… a spider!

For an EFL learner, I learnt a lot of Aussie English, for example: G’day; arvo; stoked and many many more!

HOW THIS BOOK WON ME OVER (quotes from the book):

When you read one of Ms. Rolfe’s books, you can sense  you are reading something for real. Scenes and places seem so concrete and tangible. Ms. Rolfe is great at respecting  readers’ perceptions and expectations. That is what I appreciate most. Sometimes it is annoying to read romantic books that are so far away from real life.

The author is also a master when it concerns sentimental tension. As a reader I could feel the inner struggles Tamara and Jake were going through.

I really loved this novel! I gave 8/10 book icons, just because I skipped some pages here and there, and personally some scenes could have been cut. But this is just my humble opinion. And all in all, her other novels are even better!

Here some excerpts from the book:

[…] I’d say you hit the jackpot with your family. Parents who let their kids follow their own path in life and support them all the way are the best people in the world.

“Stop being so defensive; stop walking away when things don’t work out as you expected.” (Jake to Tamara)

“You ran away. When the going got tough, you left”.

“Back then, the friendship tree was a means of getting the community together. It had names and addresses, but obviously non phone numbers or email addresses […].””You know, Mum, I think that’s one of the things that I really love out here; that sense of community.”

~ ~ ~

ADDRESS TO THE AUTHOR: Your debut book is amazing. Unfortunately, I did the other way around, reading your last novel then your second and then your first. I firmly believe your writing is fantastic, and you improved a lot from the very beginning, I can see it from comparing your first to your third novel.

I somehow miss some humor here and, I am honest, I skipped some pages. Don’t take me wrong, it is only that personally I like to read some witty and British humored lines in between chapters. Your stories are definitely so full of actual social  topics and contemporary issues, that sometimes I need, as a reader, some light lines. Just to unwind a bit.

Nevertheless, I really love your “Britishness” set in Australia. As wisdom says it is better to write about experience you have lived in life, and with your novels I could really “feel” Australia, because I could sense it was all a result of your life experience. I really hope to go there once in my life.

Your novel gave me a marvelous sense of place and family, which I have been missing all my life.

I am definitely looking forward your new release (Magnolia Creek 2 I am waiting for you!).

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