Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tumbledown Manor by Helen Brown

I traveled to Australia this week to visit Tumbledown Manor.  A perfect beach read (or front porch read) that was a refreshing change of locale for me.  I haven't read too many novels set in Australia but I certainly plan on changing that soon.  

Lisa lives in New York City, a mother of two adult children, and happily married.  The story opens on her 50th birthday.  Her husband arranges for a surprise birthday party at their apartment, and so thoughtfully has a massive flower arrangement delivered to the party.  When Lisa reads the card, she discovers that the flowers were mistakenly delivered to her--and that they were meant for her husband's mistress.  Awkward!

Lisa is a successful author struggling through the second book in a trilogy.  This whole divorce isn't helping at all.  She decides to leave New York City for her native Australia.  She's starting over and leaves New York City with no regrets.  Once in Australia, she resists buying a townhouse in Castlemaine and instead buys Trumperton Manor, a falling-down house surrounded by neglected grounds and a spooky stable.  She has a connection to the house; her grandfather's family built the place and lived there.  In this space she will write her novel, and figure out her new life. 

There are plenty of characters in this novel that make it a fun read:  the Grey Army; a group of retirees who descend on the house to paint, rebuild, and refinish the home; Lisa's sister Maxine who is constantly bossy; Scott, the very handsome and slightly goofy landscaper who sets Lisa's heart racing; Lisa's son Ted and daughter Portia.  And of course her ex-husband Jake makes an appearance.  Lisa is surrounded by a great family and community.

Tuck this one into your beach bag or your purse when you take your vacation.

Rating:  7/10 for an enjoyable read with likable characters and a beautiful setting.  

Available in paperback and e-book.


  1. If you like Helen Brown I can recommend Cleo - the searingly honest true story about the loss of her young son in an accident. She manages to bring humour to what could be an otherwise harrowing story.

  2. I love books set in Australia and have read lots of them. Australian authors have some indescribable difference compared to American ones that I find suits me very well.

  3. Cleo is actually set in New Zealand in the days before Helen Brown emigrated to Australia. You should definitely give it a go :-)