The Other Side of the Season by Jenn J McLeod

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The Other Side of the Season by Jenn J McLeod

In The Other Side of the Season by Jenn J McLeod family secrets are exposed, but will discovery bring about devastation or a happy ending?

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About the Novel

season 4 jennEverything has a reflection…And there’s another side to every story

When offering to drive her brother to Byron Bay to escape the bitter Blue Mountain’s winter, Sidney neglects to mention her planned detour to the small seaside town of Watercolour Cove.

Thirty-five years earlier, Watercolour Cove is a very different place. Two brothers are working the steep, snake-infested slopes of a Coffs Coast banana plantation. Seventeen-year-old David does his share, but the budding artist spends too much time daydreaming about becoming the next Pro Hart and skiving off with the teasing and tantalisingly pretty Tilly from the neighbouring property. His older brother, Matthew, has no time for such infatuations. His future is on the land and he plans to take over the Greenhill plantation from his father.

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill plantation. One stays – trapped on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is, until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and …

there’s another side to every story.

My thoughts

McLeod delivers a story packed with pathos, Aussie wit and a great sense of place. At the heart of this story are children—wanted or unwanted, loved or discarded. The treatment of children in care and the way unwed mothers were treated thirty-five years ago is woven into character and story in a way that gets under your skin.

In The Other Side of the Season the main characters are vibrant and so real you feel you could sit down and talk with them—or, as is the case with Tilly, give them a talking to. Tilly is one of those characters who will be great fodder for book group discussion. Her decisions have far reaching implications and once we learn more of her early life those decisions do seem plausible, if so obviously wrong you want to shake some sense into her. That’s all I’m going to say about Tilly. And I’m not going to mention the one thing that made me yell ‘Oh, no!’. You have to read the book. McLeod does likes to pluck at your emotions and play with your expectations.

Told across two time periods the complex backstory is woven throughout, often with such a light touch that a few times I had to read back to see if I’d missed something. I hadn’t. Sidney’s story is one that may be familiar. Many of us will recognise the issues between mother and daughter. As the tagline states, there are two sides to every story, and this is a story that will generate a lot of discussion about the characters’ choices.

I have been a fan of Jenn McLeod’s writing since the very first novel. Each book just gets better. The character of Alice (in Season of Shadow and Light) was a hard act to follow, yet through the combination of setting, dual timelines and the blend of secrets held and lies told, McLeod has made The Other Side of the Season an irresistible tale.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Australia for my review copy.

Read a guest post by Jenn J McLeod about writing The Other Side of the Season.


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