Author: Jennifer Scoullar
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

I have been reading Jennifer Scoullar since her debut, which incidentally was Brumby’s Run and The Mallee Girl’s predecessor. A book that I reviewed in 2013, and kind of wish I had gone back and re-read before I started this one. In no way is it necessary to have read Brumby’s Run, but there are some recurring characters and we get another look at the horse sanctuary, and some of the horses.

I have been extremely distracted of late and have left it WAY too long to come back and write this review, but I’m determined that it will be finished before publication day. I think one of the issues I had was that I read two books with similar themes too close together and they were pretty hard hitting so I couldn’t face the reviews right away.

The Mallee Girl has so many things going for it; from the beautiful bush setting to the extremely lovable animal characters and the suspense.

Pippa grew up in a close knit family with a religious father who kept them all quite sheltered from the world. To escape the confines of the family farm Pippa married young, to a handsome man that promised her the world; it wasn’t long before Pippa realised that she had traded one cell for another and this was a situation her family wouldn’t help her get out of. She did her best to make the most of the life she found herself in, that was very unlike the one she thought she chose.

After a frightening dash from their farm when her abusive husband came home early and demanded they leave in a rush Pippa knew that she had to do something to escape, and if she didn’t do it soon it may be too late. In a courageous escape Pippa leaves her husband and heads back to the farm to pick up some things, and her beloved dog, before setting off to start a new life.

The farm is the first place Cade will look for her so Pippa knows she has to be quick, she packs a few things and sets off to find her long-lost brother. Along the way she discovers that she’s been implicated in a terrible act of terrorism perpetrated by her husband, and is now a fugitive. Her faith in people is not strong and she really doesn’t know what to do.

Pippa heads for Brumby’s Run, hoping to find refuge, and ends up working for the farm manager, Levi, while the man she has come all this way in search of is away. Pippa and Levi don’t quite get off on the right foot as the Brumby Levi has had his eye on for months, and finally had in the paddock, got loose and escaped through a gate Pippa left open.

Brumby’s Run offers Pippa a freedom she has never known before, even though she’s a fugitive and still quite concerned she will be discovered. She learns a lot about herself and it isn’t long before she settles right into her job, and loves all aspects. She is also determined to help Levi bring the brumby stallion back to Brumby’s Run.

The Mallee Girl is a tale of courage, of hope and of new beginnings; a tale of family in all of it’s forms and often it’s toxicity and a tale of majestic horses that have a lot to teach us if only we are open to learn.

A tale of new beginnings, a stomach clenching helping of suspense and an element of romance. The Mallee Girl is definitely worth a read and I would love to see another book about Brumby’s Run and a little more of these characters.

Jennifer Scoullar can be followed on Facebook, and Twitter.

The Mallee Girl is published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin RandomHouse and available now where all good book are sold.