Welcome to Cathryn Hein whose new book, Heart of the Valley has just hit the shelves. Having picked this book up in the airport on the way home, after my Purple Roads tour, it was luxury just to sink into it, while having four hours on interrupted flight time and just read.
Hi Fleur, and very warm hello to all your readers. I’m delighted to be visiting today and talking about my new rural romance, Heart of the Valley.
As the title intimates, Heart of the Valley is set in the glorious Hunter Valley, land of excellent vineyards, bucolic dairy farms, prestigious thoroughbred studs, sweet smelling lucerne and hay farms, and many other prosperous agricultural and horticultural enterprises. As beautiful as that sounds, I can’t admit to love at first sight.
My first view of the Hunter was in the early nineties when bushfires raged from Sydney across the Blue Mountains and around the Hunter. I’d left my family and a countryside I knew and adored to follow the man I loved to a place I knew little about, only to be welcomed by a landscape under threat, a horizon pulsing orange and dangerous, and a brooding sky filled with smoke and menace.
Despite that less than auspicious start, it wasn’t long before the region had me enchanted. I was lucky enough to have a job which took me all around the Hunter, visiting farms and rural suppliers, attending field days and other agricultural events, and experiencing all the delights of this very special part of Australia.
So it’s no surprise that I’d write about this land that I’d fallen so in love with. The second manuscript I ever completed was a romance set, like Heart of the Valley, in the Upper Hunter, but for several reasons the story didn’t quite gel. While the characters and landscape were well-developed, the book lacked a sustainable conflict. And when it comes to storytelling, you don’t get far without conflict. With plans of one day rewriting it, I filed the manuscript away and carried on honing my craft through other stories.
When Promises sold to Penguin I had to come up with another book idea quick-smart, and so I turned back to this early manuscript. It didn’t take long to realise it was unsalvageable, but as I read a new story began to stir in my imagination. A story also set in the Upper Hunter, featuring a young woman facing the loss of her dream – a dream she was going to damn-well fight to keep.
And so Heart of the Valley was born.
Brooke Kingston is smart, capable and strongwilled – some might even say stubborn – and lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley on her family property. More at home on horseback than in heels, her life revolves around her beloved ‘boys’ – showjumpers Poddy, Oddy and Sod.
Then a tragic accident leaves Brooke a mess. Newcomer Lachie Cambridge is hired to manage the farm, and Brooke finds herself out of a job and out of luck. But she won’t go without a fight.
What she doesn’t expect is Lachie himself – a handsome, gentle giant with a will to match her own. But with every day that Lachie stays, Brooke’s future on the farm is more uncertain. Will she be forced to choose between her home and the man she’s falling for?
A vivid, moving and passionate story of love and redemption from the author of Promises.
Thanks for popping over, Cathryn and I can honestly say, I enjoyed your latest release!