REVIEW: Nicki Edwards’ ‘The Peppercorn Project’

Nicki Edwards


The Peppercorn Project
Nicki Edwards

One heartbroken woman. One bitter cop. One community to save them.

After the tragic death of her husband, single mum Isabelle Cassidy is bereft and broke. When she hears about The Peppercorn Project – a scheme that offers affordable rent in the tiny but vibrant town of Stony Creek – Issie sees it as her family’s best chance at a fresh start.

Newly single police officer Matt Robertson moved to Stony Creek to lick his wounds after a bitter divorce. Wanting only peace and quiet, Matt is against the Project, seeing it as a threat to the peace he’s found in the country town – until he meets Issie. Despite himself, Matt is drawn to the widow and feels inexplicably protective of her fragile family.

Just when Issie begins to imagine a future with Matt, an accident proves how far she has to go before she can move beyond her grief. But the citizens of Stony Creek won’t rest until they see these two broken souls find a new beginning, together.

Can Issie move beyond the pain of her past and entrust Matt with her family, and her heart?


Nicki Edwards

AusRom Today’s review:
Nicki Edwards tackles a difficult trope with sensitivity and compassion in The Peppercorn Project, a novel that opens with a sudden and heartbreaking death of Isabelle Cassidy’s husband. This in itself is a definite tearjerker and certainly sets the tone for how Isabelle will handle the turmoil and grief associated with the loss.

The Peppercorn Project is a project set up to help families in need and thankfully Isabelle and her two children are fortunate enough to be given an opportunity at a second chance in the fictional township of Stony Creek.

The romance element was one that I felt a little uneasy about in all honestly. How could a grieving widow even contemplate a new romance? Alas I shouldn’t have worried at all as the romance between Isabelle and country copper Matt Robertson was tackled tactfully and very conceivably. Edwards offers intimacy in place of lust, though there’s certainly no lack of desire between the two, which combined with the maturity and protectiveness in Matt made for an intense romance.

Edwards has treated the setting and location with as much care as the characters and in doing so adds yet another dimension to the story. Aussie and non-Aussie readers alike will delight in her detail-laden descriptions of towns, countryside, and landscapes. Edwards’ description of the small-town way of life is nothing short of brilliant, perfectly encapsulating the Aussie small-town spirit and sensibilities.

This is a brilliant novel that delves deeply and unashamedly into difficult topics such as spousal death, grief, and rebuilding oneself with undeniable dignity and empathy. Nicki Edwards presents an emotionally-charged resoundingly optimistic romance that cements her place as one of Australia’s newest and most compelling rural romance novelists.



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