Daughter of the Hunter Valley by Paula J. Beavan
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Madeleine has lost her mother and braved the seas to come to the hot, untamed Hunter Valley. Within a day of her arrival, she loses her father - and discovers that he has omitted many things in his letters home. There is no grand house. There is back-breaking work to be done, especially if she wants to hold onto her father's land and his dream. But help can come from unexpected places - and so can love.
A stunning debut novel - and I certainly hope it isn't Beavan's last. I stayed up way too late just to finish this, because I enjoyed the book so much (though now I wish I had savoured it a bit!). A lot of research went into this and it shows. The writing itself is superb and flows so well, which is part of the reason I couldn't put it down. I will admit that I was easily enthralled by the setting because my own ancestors arrived near the area at practically the same time as Madeleine!
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.