Culture Street


House for all Seasons by Jenn J McLeod

On February 19, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

In 2004 Jenn J McLeod left the corporate world of Sydney for a tree change. She now runs a B & B on her property in NSW. McLeod’s love of the country is evident in her writing. House for all Seasons is the perfect book for a rainy weekend, once started it is hard to put down.

Four friends are forced to return to their home town of Calingarry Crossing after a twenty year absence. An incident on school muck up day led to the estrangement of the four friends, each one left the small country town of their birth as soon as they were able. None of them kept in touch.

After the death of Gypsy, a woman they all took refuge with during their teenage years, the four women find themselves sitting in the offices of a solicitor discussing her will. Gypsy has bequeathed her home, Dandelion House, to all four estranged friends. She asks each one of them to return home for a season before they decide on the fate of the house.The four women agree to adhere to Gypsy’s wishes. Each one feels guilty for the death of Gypsy’s daughter, Willow, but none of them understand why Gypsy has left the house to all four of them.

Sara is in fragile health, having battled numerous medical conditions. Her husband has left her and she lives for keeping fit and staying healthy. Turning up at Dandelion House she is thrown back into her old life. She finds herself slipping back to her old self and forging new relationships with friends she once knew.

Poppy is an award winning journalist with no interest in heading back to a place she once hailed from, but after finally winning a much lauded award she decides it might be the right time to go back to her roots. She discovers a story in the unlikeliest of places and gets a glimpse of the love that has eluded her for most of her life.

Amber is a typical only child, beautiful, spoilt and self centred. Her father quickly hustled her out of town when he discovered she was pregnant at the age of 17. She landed on her feet, married to a successful plastic surgeon, but her life is unfulfilled. She is bored of fundraisers and charity events. Deep dark secrets from her past begin to unravel when she returns home to a mother she referred to as being ‘dead’.

Caitlin has gone into the family business, following the hopes and aspirations of her parents by becoming a doctor. Coming back to Calingarry Crossing gives her a new outlook on life, with aspirations of her own. As Caitlin finishes her time at Dandelion House she uncovers the secret to Gypsy’s dying wish.

McLeod wraps her book up nicely tying off all loose ends with a clean resolution. This story of renewal is carefully drawn, with vivid descriptions of country NSW. Readers will enjoy House for all Seasons, an endearing debut novel which offers hope and renewal to four friends.

House for all Seasons is released on March 1.


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