“April’s Rainbow is a really beautiful story exploring terrible grief but from a very interesting perspective which sets it apart. It’s heartbreak and love, despair and fragile hope that packs an emotional punch that will stay with you.”
“…April’s Rainbow is a tender and emotional love story, and definitely one where you may just need tissues on standby.”
5 stars, Roz, My Written Romance
“Twists in the story and emotions that tug on the heart. A read that is heartfelt one moment, comical a time or two and enjoyable reading throughout.”
4 Stars from Talking Books Blog
It was nearing the end of June when April arrived at Rainbow. I’d been on the property six weeks by then, settled into the two-bedroom, simple limestone cottage that came with the job, which sat a couple of paddocks and a long slope down from the main house.
Mostly I’d been getting to know the place. Driving around its hills with my kelpie Holly, inspecting the facilities, checking paddock and rainfall records, and buying sheep. Rainbow was just short of a thousand acres, with the main house a late 1800’s single storey bluestone construction with a verandah running all the way round. One of those small but historic houses not uncommon to the area, but renovated to provide modern comforts. Improvements included a three-stand shearing shed, two sets of sheep yards, a couple of silos, and some decaying cattle yards.
As it turned out, Junior’s generous terms had proved an understatement. The contract had a few weird clauses that had given me pause for all of two seconds, but pause all the same. In layman’s terms, I could run whatever I wanted on my allocation, however I liked, as long as I gave due care for the land and improvements. Sheep, cattle, goats, if I chose. Or nothing. It was up to me because April didn’t know the first thing about farming, and she had other things in mind for Rainbow.
For her special part of it, anyway.
The main house was situated off the road on top of one of the property’s many hills. Behind it, a small five or so acre paddock sloped down to the highway. Across from there, another hill rose up, topped with a cairn to mark Major Mitchell’s trail. A tourist drive looped from the road toward it, ending in a small parking space that offered a sweeping view of the land to the north.
As a local I’d never thought much of it, but a day didn’t pass without someone driving up to the cairn for a look and to be battered by the wind that howled across the unprotected cleared hills for miles.
April never called to say she was coming. The first I knew was when I saw a metallic red Range Rover parked in front of the house one morning, every one of its doors open. I didn’t know what to expect. Junior hadn’t revealed much and I hadn’t wanted to ask. The only artist I’d known personally was my mum’s cousin Mary, who lived outside of Warrnambool and painted seascapes in thick oils in such a way that it was like the paint formed waves of its own. Two of Mary’s paintings hung in the lounge at Oakvale, given as presents in the days before Mary began to command more than the price of a good secondhand ute for her works.
I guess I’d expected someone like her. Older, a bit crusty and paint splattered. Absent-minded, always looking at people and scenes in a way that made you think they weren’t looking at you or the view at all, but something in their mind’s eye, as if reality was too boring.
What I got with April was a little of that but much more. So very much more.
Of Daydreams, Cairns and Rainbows’ Ends
During the 90’s I was a sales representative for a pasture seed company. I spent my days driving over New South Wales doing seed deals, discussing innovations in plant breeding with agricultural retailers, hanging out at field days, visiting farms, and chatting with agronomists. At one point I was covering coastal NSW from Bega in the south to Brisbane in the north, and west out to Moree.
That’s a lot of kilometres and a whole lot of daydreaming time.
With the tape deck loaded with music to help wile away the hours…