I love to read Australian historical fiction and two of my absolute favourite books in this genre are Alison Stuart’s Maiden Creek books, The Postmistress and The Goldminer’s Sister. I knew there was a third book coming so I’ve been keeping an eye out and when The Homecoming was announced for release this month it immediately made it onto my list of most anticipated 2023 releases. The team at Harper Collins kindly sent me an early copy and I’ve been looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you. Check out the synopsis then read on below for my review.
What is Alison Stuart’s The Homecoming about?
1892. It has been almost twenty years since Charlie O’Reilly left Maiden’s Creek, the town where she once knew only injustice and fear. Now she returns as acting matron of the local hospital, determined to prove her worth – and to escape the attentions of a man she would rather forget.
Despite his wealth and busy practice as a criminal lawyer, Danny Hunt has never found contentment. He is still haunted by memories of his childhood in Maiden’s Creek and the strange and desperate man who was his father.
When a court case goes wrong and Danny’s life is threatened, he seizes the opportunity to visit Maiden’s Creek with his friend Robert, whose sister, a nurse at the hospital, is the only woman Danny has ever proposed to.
But danger follows Danny and Charlie and when a nurse is violently murdered, they are thrown together in a desperate bid to prove the innocence of a friend. When a devastating storm hits, threatening the hospital, old hurts and secrets come to the surface.
Both can see that they make the perfect team, but Charlie is committed to her work and has one secret she plans never to reveal …
My review of The Homecoming by Alison Stuart
Honestly, I adored this book. I absolutely loved both previous Maiden Creek books and I feel like there is always that little bit of apprehension when you’re starting a new book in a beloved series, or by a favourite author, but I think The Homecoming might even be my favourite. I feel like The Postmistress and The Goldminer’s Sister worked really well as companions – the stories sort of touch, without one really flowing on from the other. The Homecoming could certainly be read as a standalone story, but one of my favourite things about it was the way Charlie and Danny’s stories draw on the pasts of their families in Maiden Creek, as told in those other books. Having that background made the characters feel so real and dear to me, as well as giving me a feeling of nostalgia as I read their story which just made it such a lovely experience. This was a perfect holiday read for me, and I just wanted to stretch it out as long as I could!
Fan-girling aside, this really is a lovely read. Both Charlie and Danny feel fleshed out and genuine, with pasts and families, and the development of their friendship is lovely. I enjoyed all of the other characters that we meet throughout – I love a town full of side characters and the way they help make the world feel full and real. As always, Stuart gives us a setting that I felt transported to as I read, both in terms of location and time. I found the plot engaging too – Charlie and Danny are given a few mysteries to unravel, and I enjoyed being along for that ride as they worked together and navigated the challenges thrown up in front of them.
Obviously I whole heartedly recommend picking up The Homecoming, and the entire Maiden’s Creek series. I think if you’re looking for Aussie historical fiction with fab characters, engaging stories, and some romance then this is a great place to start.
The Homecoming by Alison Stuart
Out now from Harper Collins (HQ Fiction Au)
Source: Free copy sent to me by Harper Collins (thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: Australian historical fiction romance
Format: Paperback (448 pages)