Erlina of Whispering Pines by J.J. Burgess (♦♦♦½)

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Erlina (Gunn) Andersen is a determined, strong woman to whom life has dealt painful blows, first by losing both of her parents at an early age, and then losing both grandparents years later in a freak accident. At the time the novel starts, year 1880, Erlina has recently lost her husband to pneumonia. She and her children have the full support of her loyal friends and two of her servants, when she learns that she has lost her grandparents’ rather grand property Florette Manor because of her late husband’s gambling addiction.

As she learns from a trusted friend that she has inherited a modest property far away from Sydney Town, she readies for her new life at Whispering Pines in Van Dieman’s Land. To make a living, Erlina decides to train horses for racing, but she encounters serious opposition from local businessmen because she is a woman. Her partnership with Jason Caird--the man who bought Florette Manor and who also owns a neighboring property in Van Dieman’s Land—will prove useful for them both. Through the years, Erlina will uncover family secrets and also learn that her past and Jason Caird’s are intertwined.

I liked this book very much. It is very easy to read; the story flows. The first hundred pages are full of trivial aspects, but those are essential to set the pace and get to know the characters. As the book progresses, it becomes engrossing, so it feels effortless to empathize with all the characters. Family secrets, business rivalries and mystery are well incorporated to this concoction with fascinating results.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Erlina of Whispering Pines by J.J. Burgess as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.

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