New Release Book Review: Where the River Runs by Fleur McDonald

Where the River Runs…

About the Book:

wheretheriverrunscvr125539698.jpgIn the tradition of the acclaimed Red Dust, Where the River Runs is a brilliantly told rural story of long-held family secrets by an author at the forefront of rural fiction, Fleur McDonald.

Ten years ago, thirty-year-old Chelsea Taylor left the small country town of Barker and her family’s property to rise to the top as a concert pianist. With talent, ambition and a determination to show them all at home, Chelsea thought she had it made.

Yet here she was, back in Barker, with her four-year-old daughter, Aria, readying herself to face her father, Tom. The father who’d shouted down the phone ten years ago never to come home again.

With an uneasy truce developing, Chelsea and Aria settle into the rhythm of life on the land with Tom and Cal, the farmhand, who seems already to have judged Chelsea badly. Until a shocking discovery is made on the riverbed and Detective Dave Burrows, the local copper, has to tear back generations of family stories to reveal the secrets of the past.

Chelsea just wants a relationship with her dad but will he ever want that too? Or will his memory lapses mean they’ll never get that opportunity?

My Thoughts:

Where the River Runs was such an enjoyable read for me, the perfect blend of family drama and rural suspense. Fleur evokes the outback with such a vivid intensity – from the sounds and the smells to the dust sticking on her character’s feet – her scenes just crackle with atmosphere. Her knowledge of farming and life on the land is woven into the narrative in a such natural manner that one can’t help but appreciate the amount of life experience Fleur brings to each of her novels.


‘Everyone was only one phone call or police visit away from having their lives changed forever.’


Where the River runs is a story about grief and connection. Chelsea’s family is now half of what it used to be, with only herself and her father left. She travels home with her four year old daughter in search of a purpose, unsure on which direction she’s going to turn at this current crossroads of her life. There is a lot unsaid between Chelsea and her father, a lot of unresolved pain, and a load of misunderstanding. I loved how they unravelled this mess and picked it apart together, and of course, the sweetness of Aria did much to temper this fraught time.


Running alongside this family drama is an intriguing mystery, a skeleton found on the property, buried with an antique brooch and a box, the contents of which compound the mystery further. While the case is technically too cold for an official investigation, Dave Burrows feels an urge to satisfy his curiosity and provide some closure. I’m a fan of police procedurals and the way Dave and his wife Kim unpacked the details of the case to come to their conclusion greatly appealed to my interests. It just goes to show, no mystery is too old to solve if you dig deep enough.


Where the River Runs is a novel I highly recommend. Drama, mystery, family, friendship and forgiveness – this delightful cast of characters deliver a cracking story from start to finish.


Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Where the River Runs for review.

About the Author:

fleur mcdonald 1_ credit chelsea from proof of life1683175300..jpgFleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she became a jillaroo before spending twenty years farming 8000 acres, east of Esperance, WA.

Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia. She is the best-selling author of Red Dust, Blue Skies, Purple Roads, Silver Clouds and Crimson Dawn, Emerald Springs, Indigo Storm, Sapphire Falls, The Missing Pieces of Us and Suddenly One Summer, as well as the eBook exclusives If You Were Here and A Farmer’s Choice. Fool’s Gold, her most recent bestselling novel, begins the story of the popular Detective Dave Burrows.

Fleur currently lives in Esperance with her two children, an energetic kelpie and a Jack Russell terrier.

wheretheriverrunscvr125539698.jpgWhere the River Runs

Published by Allen and Unwin

Released on 1st November 2018

2 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: Where the River Runs by Fleur McDonald

  1. Pingback: My Reading Life: #aww2018 Challenge Checkpoint 5 | Theresa Smith Writes

  2. Pingback: Crime Fiction and True Crime: Round-Up Six 2018 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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