The Jam Queens…
About the Book:
Award-winning jam maker Aggie is determined to take her Barossa Valley cafe to new heights. She has put the pain of unsuccessful IVF treatments and a broken relationship behind her, and is focused on the many wonderful possibilities life still holds in store.
When an invitation to travel across Australia on the Ghan for her mother’s seventieth birthday comes her way, she is at first apprehensive. But the trip offers a precious opportunity to spend some quality time with both her disgruntled mother, Valeria, and her distant daughter, Holly, as well as her meddling great-aunt, Myrtle. The four generations of the family, all single women, will be reunited at last.
As the iconic train chugs its way beneath majestic desert skies, Aggie’s difficult past resurfaces, her business comes under threat, and long-held family rifts reignite. To complicate things further, she’s distracted by the attentions of a handsome younger man on his own search for meaning in some of the country’s most remote and magical places.
By the bestselling author of The Cake Maker’s Wish, this is a sweet and soulful story about women being there for each other through the stickiest situations. It celebrates the joys and sorrows of life, and reveals the essential ingredients of the true recipe for happiness.
This was pure magic. Like food for your soul. There’s so much in this book that I could relate to and I absolutely loved the overarching theme of hope that was ever-present throughout. I cried, I laughed, I drooled over the delicious descriptions of the jams, from the standard flavours through to the more unusual combinations. I’m a bit of a fancy jam fan and some of these I’d love to try. I really loved how jam was added to drinks and other types of food I wouldn’t normally think to add jam to. Very inspiring!
There were many parts of this story that reached right into my consciousness, but this part right here about parenting: absolutely yes. I feel this so often with each of my teenagers. Much of the story orbits around motherhood and mother figures, it was so insightful and deeply moving at times too.
‘Oh, everyone went on about how difficult the early years of motherhood were – the exhaustion, the sleeplessness, the breastfeeding woes, the lack of personal space and time. But in so many ways, those days were easier. Her daughter had loved her then. Valeria had been Agatha’s moon and sun and stars. Her daughter had believed what she’d had to say, unquestioning. It was later that her child had caused her to lie awake all night for entirely different reasons. It was later that she’d seen all the faults of her mothering in front of her face. Agatha had become a mirror for all her failures.’
I particularly enjoyed the trip the characters took on the Ghan. I’ve always been intrigued by that train trip and I was able to revisit Uluru through the pages of this novel – such a majestic and special place that Josephine captured to perfection. The entire Ghan trip was written with so much atmosphere, I honestly felt like I was taking the trip along with the characters, it was all so vividly realised.
This is a gorgeous story that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. It’s coming up to Mother’s Day and you won’t find a better book than this to give as a gift.
Inspired by The Jam Queens, I recreated Aggie’s special hot chocolate, with Baileys and raspberry jam. It was divine!
Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of The Jam Queens for review.
About the Author:
Josephine Moon was born and raised in Brisbane, and had a false start in Environmental Science before completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and then a postgraduate degree in education. Twelve years and ten manuscripts later, her first novel The Tea Chest was picked up for publication and then shortlisted for an ABIA award. Her bestselling contemporary fiction is published internationally. Her books include The Tea Chest, The Chocolate Promise, The Beekeeper’s Secret, Three Gold Coins, The Gift of Life, The Cake Maker’s Wish and The Jam Queens. In 2018, Josephine organised the ‘Authors for Farmers’ appeal, raising money to assist drought-affected farming communities. She is passionate about literacy, and is a proud sponsor of Story Dogs and The Smith Family. She now lives on acreage in the beautiful Noosa hinterland with her husband and son, and a tribe of animals that seems to increase in size each year. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Jam Queens
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released 13th April 2021