In 1920s Glasgow, Beattie Blaxland falls pregnant to her married lover Henry just before her nineteenth birthday. Abandoned by her family, Beattie and Henry set sail for a new life in Australia. But life is not about to follow the plan that Beattie had hoped for and fate will play her a cruel hand.
In London in 2009
Emma Blaxland-Hunter, prima ballerina and granddaughter of the founder of an exclusive Australian women's wear empire, is also discovering that life can have its ups and downs. Unable to dance again after a fall, and separated from her boyfriend, Emma returns home to Australia to recuperate and to try to get her life back on track. But on arrival she is presented with some surprising news - her recently deceased and much-loved grandmother Beattie Blaxland has left her Tasmania property to Emma.
Beautifully told through the dual narrative of a young Beattie Blaxland and a contemporary Emma Blaxland-Hunter, this is a sweeping Australia saga- a future classic- with a strong sense of place and a compelling plot that will hold you spellbound until it's moving conclusion.
Kim Wilkins aka Kimberley Freeman was born in London and raised in Brisbane, where she still lives. She holds degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing and teaches in the University of Queensland's writing program. She has won awards for her fantasy writing published in the name of Kim Wilkins, including the 1997 Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel and Best Fantasy Novel for her debut novel The Infernal, and the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel for The Resurrections in 2000, and again in 2001 for Angel of Ruin. Her novel, Duet (2007) and Gold Dust (2008), were commercial women's fiction and critically acclaimed.
Author: Kimberly Freeman
Interview with Kimberly Freeman
Question What research went into Wildflower Hill?
Kimberly Freeman: I had to do lots of research in Tasmania, of course. I love Tassie so I really enjoyed that. But also life in the 30's in Australia. I read Caddy, which was full of so many fabulous details about life after the depression and how tough things were for people. Also: horses! I hate horses! So I asked my cousin, Janine (to whom the book is dedicated) for help. She used to own a big sheep station, so she was a font of information.
Question Can you talk about creating the character of Emma Blaxland-Hunter?
Kimberly Freeman: I wanted to make her a bit of a cold fish, and then slowly warm her up as the story went on. But it's hard to have a character be cold right from the get-go, because then the reader might not like her. So basically I gave her two pieces of the worst possible news in the first chapter, and hoped that the reader would feel sorry for her. For me, the best part about Emma's story is her developing relationship with Patrick. I fell a little bit in love with him. He was so straight up, good without being sanctimonious, warm and uncomplicated. The perfect man, really!
Question How did you go about describing Tasmania?
Kimberly Freeman: I've been a few times, and I kept lots of notes. But the best trip I did was after I'd finished the first draft. I found all the places in the manuscript that were lacking in detail, and went hunting for images and sounds and smells to put in. Mind you, that last visit was the middle of winter and I have never been so cold, not even in Europe! So I found a lot of new ways of saying 'cold'.
Question Could you talk a little bit about your book being described as a 'future classic'?
Kimberly Freeman: That's a lovely flattering comment, but all I really want is for some people to read it and love it and maybe recommend it to a friend.
Question How did writing Wildflower Hill differ from Duet and Gold Dust?
Kimberly Freeman: Well this one was set largely in Australia, so I had to look at my own country with fresh eyes. Most of my books have been set in Europe (I am a terrible Europhile!) but I was so moved to write about Tassie. I mean, it really is such a beautiful place. Also, this time my kids were a bit older and more self-sufficient. I wrote Duet and Gold Dust before my daughter turned 2, so you can imagine I was doing it in the cracks of the day. I actually had the luxury of kindy hours this time round!