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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Water Under The Bridge by Lily Malone - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Ella needs a fresh start and selling property in Chalk Hill should be a perfect opportunity. She's a single mother and her son Sam is having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings. Ella wants to take care of herself for a change, but her son isn't happy they left the city. Ella's first assignment is selling the house Jake's grandmother left him and his brothers. Jake's asking price is outrageous, but she's been given a chance and she's going to try to sell the place. However, is Jake really interested in selling the house or does he secretly want to keep it?

Jake loves Chalk Hill and life is even better now that Ella has moved into town. The former professional swimmer fascinates him and because she's selling his house there's plenty of time to get to know her. Ella has a past and she's hiding something, Jake would love for her to trust him. Will he manage to win her over? What will happen when Ella discovers his motives behind the high price of the house? Will her dreams be shattered just like they were many years ago or will Ella find happiness in Chalk Hill after all?

Water Under the Bridge is a wonderful romantic story. Ella used to lead a safe and secure life, which was fine, but there was nothing that made her heart beat faster. She wants to achieve something on her own, which means selling a house, having some success that isn't determined by others. Her swimming career never took off because of Sam, but that was a sacrifice she was happy to make. After a difficult time she deserves some happiness and I kept hoping she'd find it with Jake. He's a good man. Even though he doesn't share his motives when it comes to the house, he only wants the best for Ella and he genuinely likes her and Sam. Jake and Ella have a beautiful connection and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if they'd get the chance to build a close relationship.

Chalk Hill is a fantastic setting. Lily Malone's gorgeous descriptions of this beautiful place are making it come to life in a delightful way. I was instantly intrigued by the inhabitants of the small town and couldn't wait to find out more about Ella's new surroundings. She fits right in, which gives the story a great feelgood factor. Lily Malone combines serious topics, that she describes in a great emphatic way, with a mesmerizing story about true love. Water Under the Bridge is charming, sweet and captivating.


If you love romantic stories set in rural Australia you don't want to miss Water Under the Bridge.

About Lily Malone

I might have been a painter, except when my youngest son was about one, he put a golf club through the canvas I’d been working on for months. Trust me, he did the world a favour.
After that, I thought ‘stuff this painting caper’ and I wrote my first book, His Brand of Beautiful instead. I’ve now written four full length rural romance stories and a novella all published by Harlequin (HarperCollins).

While most of my work is rural romance, writing contemporary fiction also interests me. I have one novel finished, Ashes, inspired by the true story of a family member’s fight to recover from traumatic burns. I have a new idea for another contemporary title involving a dead body being dug up from a dam… watch this space

The Chalk Hill Series is my newest rural romance project. Book 1, Water Under The Bridge, will be available in print and ebook in March 2018. Chalk Hill is a fictional town set in the Great Southern Wine Region of Western Australia. You’d love it there. It has wildflowers, bush walks, crops, sheep, mountains, whales not far away, and some of the tallest trees you’ll ever see. Plus it has the Honeychurch boys… three gorgeous brothers, Jake, Abel and Brix. Each brother finds his happy ever after in these loosely-linked books.


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I'm very much a country girl, and I enjoy the simple things: walking, gardening, the beach and the bush. I love my friends, and since moving back to West Australia about six years ago now, I've been lucky to meet great neighbours and we've all become mates. I never thought I'd have any version of 'Desperate Housewives' at my backdoor, but literally on my street we have 5 sets of neighbours who all meet up regularly for cards nights (like poker, not scrapbooking - I couldn't scrapbook to save my life); we have barbecues and just 'drinks' together.

We have kids of similar age who are at school together and play sport in local clubs. I think it's very lucky to randomly meet people who share similar loves and values, and we'd all pitch in to help if any of us were in trouble. What else? I love sports - Australian Rules football, cricket, tennis. After a break of about 20 years I returned to playing tennis this year with a group of gals and it was heaps of fun. One thing I cannot do is bake. I have so many disasters in the kitchen that my next book is going to feature a heroine who can't make scones.

2) Can you describe the main characters of Water Under the Bridge in seven words each?

Ella: A fish, trying to find the water.

Jake: Take him home to meet your mum.

3) The book is set in Chalk Hill, which is also the title of your series, can you tell a bit more about this magical place and the inspiration behind it?

Chalk Hill is a fictional town set about 2 hours drive from me, heading directly east from where I live on the south west coast of West Australia. If you're driving there, you'd start to see the lumps and bumps (I describe them as like whales breaching on the horizon) of the Porongurup Ranges - all misty purple. If you were driving there in spring there would be yellow fields of canola flowering left and right, between patches of remnant forested bush.

The landscape has characteristic granite outcrops, usually worn smooth and round so that they resemble mushroom-caps, that jut out of fields and forests. If you kept driving, you'd eventually reach roads that ran north and south and would lead to the historic whaling town of Albany on the south coast, and the magical tall-tree forests of Denmark and Walpole - more tourist towns on the Australian south coast.

4) How did you get the idea to write about the fascinating Honeychurch brothers?

Well, I wrote Jake first in Water Under The Bridge, and as I wrote him he suddenly got himself two brothers, and once I figured out the reason Jake has to sell the iconic family Honeychurch House... then I just had to also tell his brother, Abel's, story. The third brother, Braxton (Brix) I'm not quite clear on his story yet. Brix lives away from Chalk Hill and something will happen in Book 3 that brings Brix home, so to speak. I haven't quite nutted Brix's story out, but I've written Abe's and I really love Abe's story.

5) Water Under the Bridge partially evolves around a house, how did you come up with the idea and is it based on a real house?

I'm so glad you asked me this question! Loosely, I had my grandmother's house in mind, my Mum's mother. Nanna lived in Perth, which is the largest city in Western Australia and it's about 3 hours drive from me. When we used to visit Nan the drive took a bit longer because cars were slower, and the highway is now dual-carriage most of the way, but way back then it was a real 'trek' to visit Perth. I remember Nan had this old house with timber verandahs all around, and we'd knock on her door and we could hear her footsteps on her floorboards as she came through the house. Nan didn't have a mulberry tree in the backyard, but she did use to sit out on a rocker on that front porch and watch the world go by.

6) You love gardens and gardening, how did this love start and how do you use your love for beautiful plants and flowers in your stories?

I do love gardens! I used to spend a lot more time gardening but then I got the bug to write, and so my spare time these days usually is spent working on my books and stories. But I admire beautiful gardens, and even just one stunning flower on a bush; or one dramatic colour of a flower or leaf in a garden will catch my eye. I love nature as I mention above and bush-walking, and walking on coastal tracks near our beach offers just glorious views and fresh air - and it just makes you feel alive.

I love checking out the plants as I walk and in springtime where I live, there are orchids everywhere (well not quite everywhere - you have to find them), but orchid-spotting is one of my favourite things to do. Book 2 of Chalk Hill, loosely called The Cafe By The Bridge, it set in spring and there are bushwalkers everywhere looking for some of the most elusive and rare orchids - called The Queen Of Sheba. They're asking Abel (who runs a cafe in Chalk Hill in this book) about where they can find the wildflowers and Abe has no idea, he has to make it up.

In one of my earlier novels, The Vineyard In The Hills, the main character, Remy, is a viticulturist (which is a fancy way of saying she grows grapes for wine). Remy also has a hobby of creating vegetable gardens for people as a present, and there is a scene where she and the hero, Seth, build a garden together for the enjoyment of the folk at a retirement village. I love the idea of living sustainably, growing your own food, tending your own patch of the earth and I guess this really does come through in my books.

7) You write rural romance, what do you like the most about the genre?

I think it's the country scenery and country people - it's a slower-paced life in a small country town, but small towns have their secrets and dramas. I think there is something in people (characters) 'reconnecting' or 'finding their true self' in a small town. In Ella's case, she has sworn of swimming for life after a disaster at the Australian trials for the Beijing Olympics. She's lived kind of 'half a life' since then, and she needs to find her mojo and live a full life to be truly happy. Her move to Chalk Hill is the first step for Ella toward this new dream.

8) Your make sure your main characters find their happy ever after, what does true love and happiness mean to you?

Oh gosh, that's a big question in a few little words isn't it! True love I think for me is about contentment, relaxation and comfort... like hearty cottage pie, or a creamy potato bake. I think it's giving eachother space to follow their own path, while treading that same longer route together.

9) You love wine, how did this passion start and what’s your favourite kind?

I first started drinking wine in London when I was there on a working holiday in the very late 1980s. That really was the first time I'd lived out of the family home and could make my own decisions about what was for dinner, and if I'd have wine with that. So I do remember drinking Hungarian and Bulgarian and Swiss wines. My landlady at that time was Swiss, and I remember going to Switzerland to pick grapes on her family's vineyard. Very hard work! But lovely to enjoy a traditional Swiss meal and glass of white wine at night.

I was born in a wine region of West Australia, and I live here again now after being away for a time (called Margaret River - it's pretty famous) and so wine and winemaking is part of the blood here. I married a man (my hero) from the Barossa Valley in South Australia (another wine region - even more famous that Margaret River); and he works in the wineries. I think it's just a natural part of what we do... when we head to our neighbours we tend to grab a bottle of wine. When I head out for cards night with the girls, we grab a bottle of a wine. We don't drink to excess, but we definitely enjoy a glass or two most evenings. As for my favourite, it really depends. At the moment, I'm enjoying Cabernet Merlot.

10) What are your plans for the future?

Well, I have been thrilled to see Water Under The Bridge is resonating with readers, and people are enjoying Jake and Ella's story. I'm very excited about Book 2 in the Chalk Hill series, which should come out in early 2019. I have an idea for a contemporary novel kicking about in the back of my head that I might try to start before I venture into Book 3 of Chalk Hill. Right now, I'm working on a second novella for a self-published series I've written, romantic comedies/cozy mysteries, set in my home town.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of Water Under The Bridge by Lily Malone.

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


  1. Water Under the Bridge sounds like a charming, sweet and captivating story of love and loyalty.

  2. Sounds like a wonderfully romantic and heartwarming novel! Also I really enjoy quaint rural settings. :-)

  3. I too am a country girl at heart and I love fishing and walking in parks etc. The simple life for me :)

    1. Oh yes - decluttering and making life simple for sure :) I couldn't agree more Judy

  4. sounds good, the characters so well defined you can squeeze them into seven words - fab!

  5. Dear Lily, I am glad to read that we enjoy the same things!

    1. Bushwalking, gardening & wine too! And a love of reading I think also Billy. :)

  6. I love that you were able to include your love of plants & flowers in your books.

  7. This novel sounds like a lovely read. I love Australia, unfortunately my daughter has moved back to Europe so that's the end of my visits. I'd have loved to have seen more of the country.

    1. It's nice that you've made it over here Eliza, maybe there are still holidays down under for you in the future :)

  8. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the chance to win x

  9. Lovely warm lovely story. Great review.

  10. I would love to visit Australia one day and don't don't let me start on the accent... mmmm.

  11. You are a new to me author and this sounds like a very interesting book. I'll be looking for it.

  12. Sounds like a great read - thanks for the chance

  13. Another good book I would love to read.

  14. It sounds an adorable romance and I'm really intrigued by your descriptions of the beauty of Australia and lifestyle there. Sounds so friendly and laid-back! :D I do have to ask, though - how do you deal with poisonous spiders and snakes?? ;)

    1. It is friendly and laid back. I don't deal with spiders or snakes... I leave them well alone! Our biggest problem of that kind near here is the Great White Sharks. I live close to a surf break here where they recently cancelled The Margaret River Pro surf competition because of 2 shark attacks (not fatal) in one day. I stay pretty darn clear of the surf breaks too, Mary! :) Thanks for visiting here.

  15. I went to Australia years ago so would love to read this book as like anything set in Australia, also Lily is a wine lover so it must be a good book

  16. Oh this sounds so good! I love the small town romances...and love that this is in Australia! Cannot wait to read!

  17. Sounds like a good book and I love the cover, thanks for the chance.

  18. A book by a fellow wine lover has got to be great!

  19. love my books! another one to read would be great x

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

  21. Sounds a great read and puts me in the mood for a glass of wine now. Would love to be a country girl - my dream would be a house in the country with land and stables so I could have my own horse again, possibly why I love country-set novels as much as I do.

  22. What a wonderful description of Ella as a fish trying to find water.