Jobless and approaching forty, Dr. Elizabeth Hordern returns to Jembala Lakes to meet the co-inheritor of Australia’s most infamous murder house, The Blaxland Homestead. With a mountain of debt behind her, Beth is hoping beyond hope that the live-in tour guide, twenty-seven-year-old Dylan, is open to a discussion of selling.
The Blaxland Homestead is Dylan O’Connor’s entire life. She’s a Grade A tour guide and the five-star Yelp reviews are there to prove it (she’ll even take the review titled “Eccentric Docent or Mad Scientist?’’). When Beth arrives to take a tour, not admitting who she is should be Dylan’s first clue that her co-inheritor has ulterior motives. She claims to want a position at the homestead and Dylan can certainly work with that. Besides, it might be nice to have a friend in the valley who doesn’t know every crushing detail of her past.
As their friendship blossoms, Beth’s unspoken desire to sell remains the single wedge keeping them apart. Will asking for what she needs cost Beth a chance at a life with Dylan? Perhaps the richest inheritance of all may be a second chance.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Two years ago, on a road-trip through New England, I stopped by the infamous Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts. The popular 1892 skipping-rope rhyme goes like this: “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” In reality, Lizzie’s stepmother was struck eighteen times, and her father eleven. But when it comes to the Borden case, just like the rhyme, there’s great deal of fiction salted in a mutton broth of truth—and the tie between fact and fiction doesn’t end with Lizzie’s claim that she couldn’t possibly have murdered her parents (haven’t you heard? Poor Lizzie was in the barn eating pears when it happened!). Fact and fiction are so closely entwined in the Borden story that, after filming The Legend of Lizzie Borden in 1975, Elizabeth Montgomery discovered a Borden-Montgomery connection—Lizzie was her cousin!
Preserved to appear just as it did when the ghastly Borden murders took place there at the end of the nineteenth century, the house now offers overnight stays. I didn’t have the gumption to spend the night in Lizzie Borden’s bedroom—two hours in the creaking, low-ceilinged clapboard house was enough to have me pulling off the I-93 and into Dunkin’ for something a little stronger than my regular decaf. But as I continued on through New England, I couldn’t rid the house’s hair-raising vibe from my mind. There had to be a story there!
On my way home to Sydney, I started piecing together Where There’s a Will. One particular memory of my time at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast kept playing on my mind—a quick blur of movement in the doorway as an employee trailed behind our tour, waiting to strip Lizzie’s bed for that night’s guests. I couldn’t help but wonder: how does somebody come to work in a house with such a horrible history? Thirty-thousand feet above the North Pacific, I had it—a comedy, a contemporary romance, and two very different women with one hell of a hatchet to bury."
Lex Kent’s Reviews - I was also a big fan of the characters. Both have their flaws and were actually a bit opposites attract but I really liked them as a potential pair. …I have to give Hale props for not waiting to the 90% mark to mess with her characters. Her characters have drama, this is not an angst free book, but the way Hale did it is the way I wish romance authors would tackle this issue. The book flowed so much better for me the way Hale wrote it. If you are looking for a romance and storyline this is different than the same old, get this book. Hale is a quality author and I can’t wait to see what she puts out next.
Pin’s Reviews - Where There's a Will is a very good second novel by the Australian author Virginia Hale. The main conflict is over a murder house they jointly inherited. Dylan sees it as her everything in life, but Beth wants to sell it to get out of huge debts. This creates a conflict between these two good people. Through the resolution of this conflict, the author gives us a very satisfying ending while also creating an interesting and warm story of interpersonal relationships. With all main elements done really good this makes another solid read by the author, very well worth reading. I recommend it, and am looking forward to her next book.
Gaby’s Reviews - Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the reader has a prime seat to both leads’ strengths and failures. Their chemistry builds up slowly but surely and when it gets to the sizzling point is a delight to read. This author manages the characters’ feelings perfectly, the reader couldn’t get any closer to them. Ms. Hale has the ability to pull off an incredible hot scene and, in a couple of paragraphs, throw a proverbial bucket of cold water on the reader. Their emotional journey is realistic and moving.
Bethany’s Reviews - Even though you wouldn't think that a romance in a murder house could work, somehow, Hale made it happen! This is my first read of a Hale novel, and she really managed to surprise me. This whole book was just different—in a good way. I will absolutely pick up Hale's next novel, and hope that it's just as 'out there' as this one was.