Keep an eye out when I feature it on my Facebook page as my April Book Club Pick of the Month because I have a personally signed copy by Rachael that she’s giving away to one of my lucky followers – how cool is that?!
How can four sisters build the futures they so desperately want, when the past is reaching out to claim them?
When the Patterson daughters return home to Meadow Brook to be with their father after their mother’s death, they bring with them a world of complication and trouble.
The eldest sister, obstetrician Madeleine, would rather be anywhere but her hometown, violinist Abigail has fled from her stellar career, while teacher Lucinda is struggling to have the children she and her husband so desperately want. The black sheep of the family, Charlie, feels her life as a barista and exercise instructor doesn’t measure up to that of her gifted and successful sisters.
Dealing with their bereft father who is determined to sell the family motel, their loves old and new and a series of troublesome decisions doesn’t make life any easier, but when they go through their mother’s possessions and uncover the shocking secret of an old family curse, they begin to question everything they thought they knew.
A warm and wise novel about secrets revealed, finding your soulmate and the unique bond between sisters.
A delightful story told in a warm and wise voice, blending family drama with humour and romance - my very favourite kind of book. Rachael Johns' keen eye for what makes people tick and how relationships work reminds me of the authors I most admire, Monica McInerney, Rosamunde Pilcher, Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy. In her tale of four sisters and one family curse, Rachael cleverly crafts four vastly different characters in Madeline, Lucinda, Abigail and Charlie and all four resonated with me. Their beautiful relationship with their father, their longing for their mother, their struggle to find happiness and balance in their lives, their kooky aunt and loveable housekeeper, the swoon worthy men in their lives and one enormous plot twist I never saw coming made for a thoroughly enjoyable read. This book is comfort reading at its best. Grab a cuppa, find a comfy chair, settle in and let Rachael take you away with this lovely story.
I’m an English teacher by trade (please don’t hold that against me), a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer by night. I rarely sleep. I live in rural Western Australia with my hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training.
I’ve been writing since I was 17 when I broke up with my first boyfriend (at the time I thought he was The One and was hugely devastated in the fashion of all 17 years olds). For some reason unbeknownst to me, I turned to writing as a form of therapy for my broken heart. It was enlightening to realise that with writing I could create whatever ending I liked. I wrote the story of me and The One and actually ended up killing him off. The writing was therapeutic, the story was cringe-worthy but I had caught the bug.
Almost a decade later, after a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Writing and English and after many, many attempts at writing different types of novels, I joined Romance Writers of Australia. Finally I learnt there was more to writing a book than just typing out random thoughts – I learnt about craft, conflict, consistent characters, etc – and I also learnt that I LOVED contemporary romance and that was what I wanted to write.
Eventually I found a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me a contract. My first book came out in December 2011 and I’ve been living the dream since then (i.e. working from home in my pjs). I’ve written sassy, urban romances for Carina Press, a cowboy romance for Tule Publishing and lots of rural romances for Harlequin Australia and HQN.
In 2012 my debut rural romance, JILTED won the Australian Romance Readers Association’s Favourite Contemporary Romance Award and in 2013 I was voted in Booktopia’s Top Ten Favourite Aussie Authors. I’m currently Australia’s number one rural romance author according to Bookscan Neilson.
I hope that if you decide to try one of my books – about pretty normal people creating pretty amazing happy ever afters – that you enjoy it and pine a little when it ends.
If you’d like to learn more about Rachael, visit her websitehttp://www.rachaeljohns.com/
An interview with Rachael Johns:
Can you tell us briefly about your book?
The Patterson Girls is about four adult sisters who live around the world but return home to a small South Australian town to help their dad get through the first Christmas without their mum. When they are packing up their things, they stumble upon a family curse and are determined to find out what this curse is. But finding out is not the end, finding out is simply the beginning of their dramas. It’s about sibling relationships and working out what really matters in life.
Which Hollywood stars would you like to see play the lead roles in the movie version of your book?
Well, let’s focus on the guys ‘cause we all know that’s who we really care about. So, Scott Eastwood would play Nigel, Liam Hemsworth would be Mitch, Simon Baker would play Hugo and the role of Joe would go to Henry Cavill. Now, when do we start filming? With all these hot blokes, we’re sure to have a hit, right?
How did you come up with the title? Did you have alternative titles?
The original title was PATERSON’S CURSE, inspired by the invasive weed Echium plantagineum, which I saw while driving through the wheatbelt in Western Australia. At the time, I didn’t know this beautiful purple flower was actually a weed and this led to a discussion with a farming friend. She said PATERSON’S CURSE would make a fabulous title for a rural romance and I agreed. But as the book came to life, it transformed from a straight romance to a story more about the relationship between sisters. The curse is also a big aspect, so I then changed the title to THE FAMILY CURSE, but in the end we went with THE PATTERSON GIRLS, which is absolutely perfect for the final story.
Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I love scenes that make me laugh out loud when I am writing them and so I’m gonna go with the scene in which Madeleine (on of the Patterson sisters) is having dinner with her two best friends, Hugo and Celia (who are engaged) and Celia suggests Hugo be her sperm donor in her mission to become a mum. I’m not sure who is more shocked Hugo or Celia, who is actually secretly in love with Hugo.
What did you do to celebrate finishing writing your book?
For every book that gets accepted I buy myself a Pandora charm to go on my Pandora bracelet. So far I have 17 charms and am about to add my 18th. I have to pinch myself sometimes when I realise how many books I’ve written in a reasonably short time and pretty soon, I’m going to need to buy a second bracelet. On my bracelet I have a Christmas tree charm (ONE PERFECT NIGHT), a tea pot (JILTED), a camera (STAND-IN STAR), a wrapped present (MAN DROUGHT), a gingerbread man (THE KISSING SEASON), a cowboy boot (TEASE ME, COWBOY), a best friend charm (OUTBACK DREAMS); a horseshoe (OUTBACK BLAZE), a ghost (surprise, surprise, OUTBACK GHOST), a colourful beach ball (THE NEXT SEASON), a fat cat (THE ROAD TO HOPE); a baby carriage (THE PATTERSON GIRLS), a bride and groom (KISS THE BRIDE), a dog (FIRE ME UP), a car (CASEY) and most recently a wedding cake (OUTBACK SISTERS).
How many other books have you had published? Which one is your favourite?
THE PATTERSON GIRLS was my 7th print book and my 14th published book. As for favourites, that seriously is as hard as picking your favourite child – some days that’s easier than others and it changes frequently. But if you’re holding a gun to my head and I HAVE to choose then I’ll say MAN DROUGHT. It’s the story of a young widow, Imogen who buys a run down country pub in a tiny country town where there are way more men than women. She meets Gibson, who I affectionately think of as my grumpy hero – he’s about the only guy in town who is not happy for more female blood.
Where is your favourite place to write?
This is probably the easiest answer ever – it’s in my bed with the electric blanket on in winter!
Which famous person living or dead would you most like to meet and why?
Jane Austen – she wrote such gorgeous stories and some amazing heroes. I’d love to pick her brain and find out what inspired her, etc.
What is your all time favourite movie?
The first movie that always comes to my head is LOVE ACTUALLY, which is undoubtedly a classic, but let’s face it, EVERYONE says LOVE ACTUALLY, so I’m going to go with my other favourite – FATHER OF THE BRIDE. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched this movie. I actually have THREE copies of it on DVD. I LOVE Steve Martin as a stressed out over-protective dad, but I also adore the romance in it. Such a feel-good movie!
Your first kiss - who, what, when, where, how old were you, are you still in touch?
He was the boy I crushed on for three and a half years before he finally succumbed to my stalking and asked me out. I was in year twelve, he was in year eleven and we “went out” for five months, two weeks, three days and… you get the picture. I was your average teenage drama queen and when we broke up, I thought my life was over!! We were still in touch on FB but he deleted me a while back – guess he didn’t like it when I mentioned on national television that he was the reason I started writing!