In my latest book Something to Talk About, the hero, Fergus McWilliams, is a primary school teacher who takes a job in a rural community and gets a bit of a shock when he experiences small town living for the first time. There’s lots of fun to be had when you throw a city-slicker into the bush and as well as writing this trope, I enjoy reading and watching it time and time again.
If you like a tree (or sea) change as much as I do, here’s a few other recommendations to keep you busy.
• Virgin River – this show is perfect for viewing in today’s tough times because it’s so completely charming and heart-warming. The hero is to die for and it’s hilarious watching the antics of the city nurse coming to a small town where things are often done a little differently and unconventionally. BONUS: It’s also a many-book series so even though there’s only one season of the show so far, you can immerse yourselves in the wonderful books by Robyn Carr.
• Doctor Doctor – I love any TV show set in an Aussie small town but add Rodger Corser and I’m hooked. I have recently binged all the available episodes of this comedic drama about small town life and can’t wait for the current season. One of the best things about this show is the cast of quirky characters inhabiting the town – everyone is a bit larger than life.
• Back Roads – if real life is more your cup of tea, check out this fabulous documentary series by the ABC, featuring fascinating communities from all over Australia.
• Farmer Wants a Wife – I’m not a fan of most reality shows but I’m hanging out for the new season of this one!
• Home for June by Juliet Madison is a gorgeous novel about a city chef who buys a farm in a coastal town, and ticks all the tree and sea change boxes.
• Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga by Todd Alexander is a hilarious memoir about Todd and his partner’s move from city living and nine-to-five life to a smallholding in the Hunter Valley where they became winemakers.
• Somewhere Else – I’ve just discovered this great podcast where hosts January Jones (not of Mad Men fame but how cool is that name?) and Rose Donohoe interview people who have ditched suburban or city living and made a life-changing move to somewhere more off the beaten track. Lots of inspiring people and places!
Rachael Johns, an English teacher by trade and a mum 24/7, is the bestselling ABIA-winning author of The Patterson Girls and a number of other romance and women’s fiction books including The Art of Keeping Secrets, The Greatest Gift and Lost Without You. She is currently Australia’s leading writer of contemporary relationship stories around women’s issues, a genre she has coined ‘life-lit’. Rachael lives in the Perth hills with her hyperactive husband, three mostly gorgeous heroes-in-training and a very badly behaved dog. She rarely sleeps and never irons.