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Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Teddy is living a protected life on the family farm. She's taking care of most of the tasks together with her grandmother Deirdre. Their days are all the same, filled with taking care of the animals and the property. This suits them both, until Deirdre hires someone to dig up her old home. Her father buried it when Deirdre was a little girl and there's something Deirdre wants to have. That's why she hires Will, an archaeologist. Teddy is supposed to help him with the work. What will they uncover?

Teddy and Will are digging up the past and meanwhile they are sharing their secrets. Why is Teddy living with her grandmother instead of having a life of her own? What happened to Deirdre in the past and why does she want to have the house uncovered now? Will spending time with Will have a positive influence on Teddy and is it possible for her to start thinking about a future again, can she set herself free?

The Cowgirl is a beautiful moving story. The main characters are all incredibly interesting and their personalities have multiple layers, that are fascinating because of both their good sides and their flaws. Teddy is a sweet girl. She cares about others and is kind and shy. She leads a secluded life and isn't ready to face the world again. Finding out why made me really curious and I was eager to find out if Will would make a difference in her life. Teddy and Will have a lot in common and I loved their instant heartwarming connection. They each share their vulnerabilities, which made amazing reading. I kept hoping they'd both have a chance to find happiness and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to see where their story would lead.

The Cowgirl alternates between the past and the present. Anthea Hodgson writes about Deirdre's younger years, the most influential time in her life, in a great gripping way. Deirdre is an old lady now, but she's still strong and determined. I loved those two parts of the story, they're equally valuable and I was anxious to read more about each time in her life. I loved the family aspect, the combination of the stories of a grandmother and her granddaughter works very well.

Anthea Hodgson's writing has a lovely easy flow. Her vivid descriptions of the farm made it come to life in a fantastic way. It wasn't difficult to picture the surroundings at all and I fell in love with the setting straight away. Discovering more about the hidden house kept me on the edge of my seat. The Cowgirl is a versatile story that has many fabulous angles. I really loved this wonderful captivating book and highly recommend it.


If you love stories about family, true love and secrets combined with a beautiful countryside setting, you should definitely read The Cowgirl.

About Anthea Hodgson

Anthea Hodgson is a country girl at heart, having grown up in the Western Australian wheatbelt. She has worked as a radio producer and semi-professional coffee drinker around Australia telling other people’s stories before having children and deciding it was time to tell some of her own.

She now lives and writes in Perth, Western Australia, with her writing partner (and labrador) Possum (and her lovely husband and delightful children).

Her debut novel, The Drifter, was published in 2016. The Cowgirl is her second novel.


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My inspiration for The Cowgirl
Guest post by Anthea Hodgson

When I decided to write about my home it was because of the age-old advice – write what you know, and I knew my hometown in the Western Australian wheatbelt as well as I knew my own family. We have farmed wheat and sheep at Yealering for generations, next to other families who have been there for just as long. I find it easy to write about the landscape and the people I grew up with, and many of them inspired the characters in my debut rural, The Drifter. My mother’s friends, collectively nick-named the girls, quickly became the stars of the show. I loved writing about their loving and supportive friendships, their involvement in their community, as well as their talents and quirks.

When I set out to write the second novel set in my (not very) fictional town of Windstorm, I wanted to revisit a favourite character, Deirdre, a rather grim old woman who grumbled throughout Drifter and who, in Cowgirl, still likes nothing more than the opportunity to disapprove of most things in general, and laziness, untidiness and disrespect in particular. She was so much fun in Drifter I wanted to visit her again, to see how she became the character I loved so much.

The Cowgirl is Deirdre’s story really, although it also belongs to her granddaughter, Teddy, and a secret house buried near the shearing shed. When Will Hastings comes to dig it up, he uncovers pieces of Deirdre’s childhood and brings back memories of her past – but as he and Teddy grow closer, they both wonder what is it that Deirdre needs to see again before she dies?

Both women are stuck on the farm for their own reasons. The title comes from the cow Deirdre and Teddy milk twice a day, even though they could easily buy their milk from the shop like everyone else. Deirdre has lived on the farm all her life, but in Cowgirl we visit her as a young vivacious woman, going to country dances, falling in love, and dreaming of her future. For Teddy, the farm is security. She knows it’s rhythms and the farm chores that repeat season after season, but she wonders about the world and wishes she could leave. I wanted to visit both of these women, stuck where they are, and to look at what might be holding them back.

The Cowgirl is a romance, a treasure hunt, a family saga and a fairytale, but I also like to think Cowgirl is about duty and freedom. It’s often easy to overlook the contribution women make to family and community life, because so much of their work is invisible and becomes swallowed in the daily grind. I wanted to thank these women, particularly Deirdre’s generation, who were given so few opportunities in life, and who carried the weight of so many of us, so that we may have more. In doing so, their own aspirations were often put aside.

We are now lucky enough to live in a society where more people can live the life they choose, but Deirdre and the girls stayed with me and I dedicated The Cowgirl to these wonderful women, whose lives are so often overlooked and unnoticed, but remain incredibly valuable.

To all the girls who didn’t get to live their dreams, but who keep turning up anyway, with patience, kindness and loving hearts.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Cowgirl sounds like a beautiful, emotional story set in the countryside.

  2. This novel sounds like a charming and emotional story.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful touching story - I am really curious about the secrets they will find in the buried house!

  4. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

  5. It sounds like an awesome story. I can't wait to read it.

  6. love stories involving steamy cowboys!

  7. Love the adise and yes, I'm so excited to read this book.

  8. This sounds like an intriguing story, I'd love to read it and find out what secrets are buried.

  9. Sounds like a great read - love the cover

  10. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  11. The review makes you want to read this book, I need to make more time for books

  12. This looks like a brilliant book, fingers crossed

  13. It seems as though Anthea is very attached to her characters and this bodes really well for this book.

  14. This sounds a thoroughly enjoyable book

  15. I would like to win for my partner.Thank you.

  16. I would love to know what it is that Deirdre wants and why it was buried in the first place. Sound an intriguing story of mystery and animals too - a great mix.

  17. This sounds like a lovely story, just my sort of book xx

  18. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  19. A very enjoyable guest post and I love the sentiment that's shown in the appreciation of what women in times gone by did for all of us.