Katie and Tom’s marriage is in trouble. As is their bank account.
So when Tom tells Katie that they need to talk, she knows it must be about one of two things. Either he has found out about her kiss with her best friend’s husband, or they are in even worse debt than she thought.
What she was not expecting was for him to tell her that his boss is sending him to Australia. Permanently.
Which is how she finds herself on a plane to the other side of the world with two small children and no idea when she’ll be able to return. She doesn’t know what she’s dreading more, the heat or the spiders.
Trying to make the best of a bad situation, Katie throws herself into making their shabby rental house homely and helping the kids to settle in. But with Tom being away on business so often, Katie’s life as a stay-at-home mum seems almost as bleak as her constant homesickness. To make matters worse, she is pregnant.
So when she hears the news that, on top of everything, Tom has been unfaithful, she reaches breaking point.
A holiday in England and the chance to catch up with her family and friends seems to be exactly what she needs, yet it somehow doesn’t feel like home anymore, and, even more surprisingly, she finds herself looking forward to returning to Australia, with its glorious beaches and beautiful Jacaranda trees.
Can Katie find a way to forgive her husband and patch up their marriage? And which side of the globe will she decide to call home?
Katie’s perfectly happy with her life in the UK. She has a gorgeous husband, two adorable little boys and a nice kitchen – what more could she want? There is the small matter of her sudden attraction to her best friends boyfriend, Adam, but that’s only a minor glitch. Plus nothing happened.
However, Katie’s life is thrown into chaos when her husband Tom reveals exactly how much debt the family are in – and that the only way they can dig themselves out of this financial hole is by moving to the other side of the world so he can start a new job.
Not really having much choice, Katie packs up her life in the UK and says goodbye to her family and friends, whilst dreading what Australia has in store for her.
Things don’t get off to a great start when she has her chocolate digestive biscuits confiscated at the airport. Then there’s the heat, their shabby accommodation and worse – THE SPIDERS.
Katie and Tom’s marriage is put to the test as they attempt to completely re-build their lives. However, with Tom away so much with work, an unexpected arrival and a dash of infidelity – things soon start to fall apart.
Katie is left with some tough decisions to make. What really makes a home? Is where you live actually that important, or is it more a case of who you live WITH that determines your true home?
I absolutely adored this fast-paced adventure of a story. You get to experience the highs and lows of Aussie life along with Katie as she desperately tries to make the move a success for the sake of her family.
I really sympathised with Katie but soon came to realise that maybe the life she was leading back in the UK wasn’t as glorious as it first appeared. It just takes time for Katie to come round to that way of thinking for herself, but it’s a wonderful, exciting journey to join her on.
There’s not one thing Katie is looking forward to about moving to Australia – and on first thoughts you can hardly blame her. The oppressive heat, the insects, the overall massive difference from life in the UK, dealing with two young children, missing your friends and family and generally feeling further away from your dream life than you’ve ever felt before.
I really disliked Tom for the first three quarters of the story. He didn’t seem to care about Katie’s feelings and was constantly dishonest with her. There were times when I wanted her to tell him where to go and run off into the sunset with hunky diving instructor, Blake. (Hmmmm….)
I loved how Kendra has created her characters within this story. She demonstrates that first impressions aren’t always accurate and I was way-off with my judgement of some of the characters. It just goes to show that you can never judge people on how they come across as you don’t always know what’s going on inside. This is especially true in the case of Katie’s friends Ann and Naomi.
It was great to experience the move to Australia through the eyes of a typically British woman who is dead set on hating pretty much everything about her new life. However, I loved how Katie’s ideas and aspirations gradually start to change throughout the novel as she starts to realise what’s really important in life.
There’s plenty of drama to keep you hooked on this story too; whether it be involving spider bites, snakes, entanglements in a store cupboard or taking a dive with some sharks, there’s always lots happening. You’ll quickly find yourself becoming absorbed in the action and desperately wanting to learn more about these characters…And I’m not just talking about Katie and Tom, either. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Katie’s friend Lucy back home, I was worried about Gramps, I wanted to know what was really going on with Ann and I had a feeling there was more to Naomi than first meets the eye. Importantly, the characters are all really believable too and you’ll have no trouble identifying with them.
Kendra Smith writes with warmth, humour and emotion, making Jacaranda Wife a real page-turner of a novel. If you’re after a book that will have you laughing one minute and then sobbing the next then I think this book pretty much meets the criteria. Insightful, thought provoking and beautifully written, Kendra Smith is definitely an author to keep your eye on…
A huge thank you to Kendra Smith for sending me a copy of Jacaranda Wife to read and review. ♥
Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space but quickly made the leap to editorial – and went on to work on several women’s magazines in both Sydney and London. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children. ‘Jacaranda Wife’ is her first novel. Find her on http://www.aforauthors.co.uk or http://www.kendra-smith.co.uk – or follow her on Twitter, @KendraAuthor.