Spring clean for the Peach Queen by Sasha Wasley
This book follows the popular ‘rural fiction’ formula: female protagonist returns to small town, navigates community conflict and deals with love interest. The story is refreshing, honest and undeniably Australian while also being amusing and full of complex relationships and unexpected themes. I couldn’t put it down!
Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Bentz is a 30-year-old actress. She was crowned Peach Queen in her hometown at 18 and since then has been working her way up in her career and faking her way into all the right circles. Everything comes crashing down when her latest celebrity lover drops dead, then just days later a months-old topless photo shoot is published. Lottie flees the big city and returns home for respite.
But Lottie is not as welcome as she’d hoped, with her mother absolutely disgusted with her. Awkward at home, Lottie moves into the caravan of another local family. Here she takes inspiration from Marie Kondo and starts to declutter her life. What follows is a stripping back of Lottie as she drops the actress facade, learns to appreciate simple pleasures, and starts to mend and build relationships.
Speaking of relationships, there is (of course!) the brooding love interest. Angus was Lottie’s Peach King 12 years ago and now he’s a serious young man who seems to be hiding something.
There’s a range of other complex characters and issues too: Lottie’s mother is a committed feminist – will she and Lottie ever understand each other? Angus’s mother gives Lottie the kindness her own mother can’t but is very forgetful – is she okay? Lottie’s oldest friend, Liv, has changed – do they still have anything in common? And then there’s all the other townsfolk, actively engaged in reinvigorating their community after a local crop disaster three years ago.
Sasha Wasley is a Western Australian author with a degree in feminist literature. She writes what she knows in a joyful and engaging way. Note: Spring clean for the peach queen does contain mature themes and a sex scene (neither graphic nor gratuitous) which bumps up the recommended age for this one.
Themes: Feminism, Australia, Relationships, Dementia, Marie Kondo.