Book review: Lake Hill by Margareta Osborn

This story opens with a teenager leaving her baby on the doorstep of an older friend who has longed for a child of her own for years. At that moment the distraught girl leaves a childhood of abuse, as well as her baby, behind her and steps on a train bound for Melbourne and hopefully, a new beginning.

Over the next few years Julia Gunn establishes a new life for herself, first with a job, then finding new friends in the city. Eventually she marries a staid, older man, who provides her with the security she craves, although the marriage proves to be somewhat dull. At the age of 36 however, when Julia is widowed unexpectedly, she finds herself ready for a more adventurous life.  

Her plan is to travel northeast to the seaside resort of Lakes Entrance, Victoria with a view to starting her new life as a café owner and operator. As fate would have it, Julia never arrives in Lakes Entrance, thanks to an inconvenient rock slide which damages her car and ultimately changes her destiny.

Julia is rescued from the situation when she is offered a lift to the nearest, if somewhat remote township of Lake Grace, where she is forced to wait days while her car is repaired. Julia had grown up in Lake Grace. She meets an array of quirky characters in town, including the man with whom she once shared a brief romance as a teenager many years ago. Suddenly her well-laid plans are thrown into disarray.

The story takes some dazzling twists and turns as Julia decides to settle in Lake Grace when she finds the café of her dreams is up for sale. She meets her new challenges head on with grace and courage, but is confounded when her past inexorably catches up with her and threatens to annihilate everything she has hoped and worked for.

Margareta Osborn has written an imaginative love story encompassing some of life’s toughest challenges, with which many of her readers will readily identify. The characters are cleverly and realistically drawn and she captures well Aussie outback humour in all its laconic glory. A light and entertaining read with plenty of surprises for devotees of the chick lit genre.

Lake Hill

Margareta Osborn

Bantam Press