TITLE - A Country Practice
AUTHOR - Judith Colquhoun
TO BUY - Click here for UK readers/here for US readers/ or here for Australian readers
A heart-warming, poignant and engaging tale about the doctors, nurses and patients of the Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital, and their friends and neighbours.
A Country Practice follows the dramas, loves, secrets and dilemmas of the people in an Australian small country town. There is romance, humour and tragedy for the medical staff of the local hospital, and the rural community it serves.
A desperate woman arrives at the Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital in the final stages of labour. Can Dr Terence Elliott overcome his demons to save both mother and baby?
Simon Bowen, the newest doctor in town, is frustrated at being seen as an outsider by the tight knit country people. Will he succeed in winning them around ‒ especially young vet Vicky Dean?
Vicky’s mum, Sister Shirley Dean, is courted by widowed police sergeant Frank Gilroy. But is he the man for her?
Young married couple, Brendan and Molly Jones arrive in Wandin Valley. Are they prepared for the realities of country life?
Meanwhile, a teenager in love clashes with her father and a serious car accident reveals a surprising secret about two of the town’s residents.
The sun rose, bringing new hope to several of Wandin Valley’s residents and continuing despair to others. Away to the west, on the banks of the Murray just upstream from Swan Hill, Brendan and Molly Jones embraced hope after a short struggle. They had booked into a camping ground for the night and had stayed in a grandly named ‘chalet’, a one-room bunkhouse whose mod cons included a bathroom of sorts, a two-burner stove and quite the most hideous lino either had ever encountered. They sat outside now on two plastic chairs which constituted the ‘barbecue area’, drinking tea, listening to the dawn chorus and feeling pretty much at peace with the world. Well, Brendan was.
‘Didn’t the agent say there was lino in the kitchen, Brendan?’ Molly was thinking forward to their new house.
‘I think he might have.’
‘Well whatever the pattern, it couldn’t be worse than that one, could it?’ She nodded towards the chalet. ‘I’m taking comfort from that.’
Brendan grinned but Molly went on in more serious vein than he’d expected. ‘I suppose we were totally mad, weren’t we? Buying the place sight unseen.’
‘Not exactly sight unseen. We got a brochure, remember? And two maps. And half a dozen extra photos.’
‘Not the same as walking through it though, is it? Getting a real feel for it. I mean, what if it’s a terrible dump?’
Brendan leant forward, took her cup out of her hands and held them tightly. ‘Molly, we know it’s a terrible dump. That’s why we could afford it. Surely you’re not getting cold feet? Now that we’re only a day away?’
‘No! No, I’m not. Honestly.’
‘Darling, it’s going to be fine –’
‘Of course it is. I just had a moment of panic, that’s all. Lying in bed last night, with the moonlight on that awful lino, I got to wondering how bad the house really is. You know how your mind plays games at three o’clock in the morning …’
Brendan, who’d had a few moments of panic himself, pulled her close.
‘Even if it’s a pigsty, we’ll turn it into a palace, Molly Jones. I promise you.’
But Molly shook her head. ‘No, you’ve got to earn a living. I’ll turn it into a palace.’ She smiled at him. ‘We do actually have a pigsty, remember. Not to mention a pig.’
‘Ah yes, what’s her name? Dorothy?’
‘Can’t wait to meet her. I’ve been reading up on how to make salami.’ He ducked out of Molly’s clutches and backed quickly away.
And a couple of chapters later...
For Molly and Brendan Jones, it was all just beginning: a new life in a new place a long way from the City of Churches. And they were wondering if perhaps they hadn’t made a terrible mistake. They hadn’t yet unpacked the station wagon. They hadn’t dared. Their tour of inspection had left them momentarily wanting to climb back into it. The trouble was that the farm had become too much for old Fred Davidson years before he finally gave in and moved to live with his daughter on the central coast of New South Wales. Now it looked rundown, worn-out and totally unloved. Fences sagged, paint peeled, windows gaped open and weeds ran riot. The outdoor dunny was clearly attempting to rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
‘Character. That’s what that cop said. I think I could find a different word.’ Molly sounded close to tears and Brendan felt he should make an effort before they both fell apart.
‘The house isn’t that bad. At least it’s clean.’ And it was. The agent must have attended to that. Barely liveable, but clean. ‘And whatshername, Doris, she seemed friendly enough.’
‘She barely blinked when I said hello.’
‘Moll? We’re tired. Let’s get the stuff inside and put the kettle on. We’re here in one piece, it’s going to be good, I know it is.’
‘I’m sorry. I’m being silly. It’s not that bad really. I mean – we knew it was rundown and everything … we’ll fix it up.’
‘Of course we will.’
‘And at least the lino isn’t so bad.’
Just as well the two of them had vast stores of optimism, they would find it useful in the days ahead. A couple of hours later, the car was unpacked and the house was full of boxes. A van would arrive with the rest of their stuff the next day.
‘Where on earth is it all going to go?’ Molly wondered.
Brendan had been opening Caroline’s farewell present. ‘More to the point – where on earth is this going to go?’ From dozens of layers of packaging, he finally extracted a large chandelier. Molly stared in amazement. Brendan handed her the card that came with it and she read aloud: ‘To Melissa and Brendan ‒ Just remember, even in the boondocks, style’s the thing! Love, Caroline.’
‘I worry about your mother,’ said Brendan.
‘I’ve got just the spot for it,’ said Molly. ‘Didn’t you notice how dull Doris’s sty is?’
Based on the award-winning, international hit television serial A Country Practice, this new series of novels follows the lives and loves of the rural community of Wandin Valley, South-Eastern Australia. Set in the early 1980s it is a nostalgic look at country life, yet with all the same joys and problems we face today.
The "A Country Practice" series of novels set in sunny Australia are perfect for curling up with on a cold winter's day or evening! And to celebrate the release of the first two books in the series, Corazon Books is offering you the chance to win something else to keep you entertained on a cosy night in! One lucky UK-based winner will receive an Amazon Fire TV stick* - which lets you stream loads of TV programmes, films, games and music through your TV. To be in with a chance to win simply answer the following question, and send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday UK time on December 11th 2015. The winner will be announced on December 14th at www.acountrypractice.info.
Q. What is the name of the young married couple who have just moved to Wandin Valley?
PLUS Please state the name of the blog where you read about the competition - all visitors' names from each blog on the tour will be put into a hat and the first name pulled out for each blog will win paperback copies of the first two A Country Practice novels!
*This competition is organised and run by Wyndham Media Ltd. Judges decision is final. Amazon Fire TV Stick only available for UK residents. If the overall winner resides outside of the UK they will receive instead a bundle of Corazon Books paperbacks to the same value as the UK prize. Entrants details won't be kept or shared with third parties. Good luck!
BOOK REVIEW TO FOLLOWAudio