I do love spotting Aussie romance books on the shelves, and when I heard Clare Fletcher had a new rural romcom on the way I couldn’t wait to get my hands (eyes) on it! Love Match picks up right where Fletcher’s debut novel Five Bush Weddings left us, but this time we’re following the stories of minor characters from that book – Sarah Childs (who we saw Johnno West leave for Stevie in Five Bush Weddings) and Mabel Peters (aka the Bush Telegraph). I have to admit I’m an absolute sucker for a book that returns me to a familiar setting but with an emphasis on different characters. Check out the synopsis below then scroll down for my review
What is Clare Fletcher’s Love Match about?
Sarah would happily keep to herself on their property, Dunromin, for the rest of her days. But now her parents are refusing to put her in charge until she spends a year getting more involved in the local community and, yes, dating. Well. She’ll show them community spirit. She’ll be Miss bloody South Star if that’s what it takes. How hard can it be?
Under small-town surveillance Sarah rekindles neglected friendships and throws herself in the dating deep end (recruiting the Bush Telegraph, Mabel Peters, to matchmake for her). She joins a new women’s rugby team, the Pink Cockatoos, and even the bristly new cop in town, Sergeant Smith, can’t slow Sarah’s race to keep up appearances as the perfect daughter, citizen and girlfriend.
As Sarah moves in with Mabel to help catalogue her vast wardrobe – bringing up memories of Mabel’s beauty pageant past and long-lost friend Rose – vintage fashion might not be all that comes out of the closet.
My review of Love Match by Clare Fletcher
I really enjoyed this one! Sarah was a fun character to spend time with, and it was particularly good to get inside her head after her short and pretty awkward appearance in Five Bush Weddings. I liked that she was thrown in with so many people who she didn’t really know well, or were completely new to her and that we got to know the rest of the team along with her. I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Smith develop as they learned more about each other (and themselves!).
While I liked Sarah’s parts of the novel, the highlight for me was really the story from Mabel’s past, and the clever way Fletcher used Mabel’s wardrobe to connect it with the present time. There was just something so touching about Mabel’s innocence and joy, and I found her story so moving (there were definitely a few tears as it unfolded!). I am a big fan of historical fiction, and I thought that visiting the past with Mabel and her dresses was such a good way to bring an element of that to a contemporary romcom style story – it was a perfect blend for me!
One more detail of the novel that I want to mention is how much I enjoyed it being set around a women’s sports team. I am a long-time supporter of women’s sport and have loved seeing the boost that has come from the AFL and NRL adding women’s competitions, more focus on women’s cricket, as well as the obvious excitement around the Matildas this year. I loved seeing the women of South Star getting together to start the rugby team, and then also the way the men at the club also got behind them.
I feel like the way Love Match sort of straddles contemporary romance and historical fiction AND rural romance makes it a really good all-rounder that I think anyone looking for a sweet Aussie romance story might enjoy this one. Let me know in the comments if you have read Love Match or have it on your tbr.
Ooh, I also want to comment on my photos for this post – I made Love Match cookies inspired by the cover and kind of loved them! I’m totally keen to make more book inspired cookies soon – let me know if you have any suggestions for good books to provide inspiration!
Love Match by Clare Fletcher
Out now from Penguin Books Australia
Source: The lovely team at Penguin kindly sent me a copy to review
Category: Aussie contemporary romance fiction
Love Match on Goodreads
Read an excerpt from Love Match here.
You can keep up with the latest from Clare on her website here.
My review of Clare Fletcher’s previous novel, Five Bush Weddings