Feature book: The Guided Tour
She is wealthy and is used to the finer things in life but when she ends up in a backpackers’ hotel in Darwin, she doesn’t think things can get much lower until she is sent into the Outback with a group of delinquent children; but at least the guide is hot.
Louisa Mayflower Smith is a chemical engineer and her family is very wealthy. She uses that wealth to go about her day-to-day business. She is engaged to Dalby, much to her parents delight. Lou is in Darwin and has been arrested (we don’t find out why until the end of the book). She is sent on a Community Service Order, which involves being a responsible adult to a group of teenagers on a journey through the Outback on a trek that has been especially designed for the group by Officer George. She at first doesn’t understand how to be the responsible adult but in an attempt to impress Officer George, she takes to the role.
Warren George is the man in charge of the Outback tour. He seems to be a loner and we really do not learn too much more about him during the story, which I think is a little unfortunate as he seems like someone I would like to get to know. He appears to be sensitive and caring, especially about young people. He wants them to have some understanding of his Aboriginal culture by taking them on this adventure and to hopefully help straighten them out.
Louisa is totally out of her element but she does manage to redeem herself as she thinks things through. Initially she is more about ‘poor me’ but then becomes involved with the group of teenagers and how they are impacted by their pasts. She does become a likeable character as she can see things from another’s perspective.
I liked the character development in the story. I liked that Louisa did change and become more conscious of those less materially wealthy than she was. I liked hearing the stories of some of the teenagers who accompanied the group. But I really liked Mary. She is definitely a character who retains her sense of humour, her reality but is also able to get to the heart of the matter.
However, there is something that I have difficulty with in many stories and that is the ‘knowingly cheating’ aspect. I’m not sure if it is me and that I have conservative thinking but I don’t think it really matters whether or not the character is male or female. It is the cheating on a commitment they have made to another even if they often are not in love with their other half and knowingly cheating. I still think that there is a commitment until the couple has definitely parted, I don’t like this aspect to the character and it is still somewhat off putting to me as the reader.
This book has been classed as erotica but I felt that it was not really the case. Yes, it had some of the words required, it had the two main characters self-satisfying and there were only three opportunities for this couple to be together albeit quickly as they we together in public and around curious teenagers.
Even though there were these little points for me others may not agree. But I did enjoy reading this story set in the Outback.
reviewed by Heather
A review copy of this book was provided by the author. All ARRA members who leave a comment on this review will go in the draw to win a copy of The Guided Tour. The giveaway closes on 29 August 2012. (The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Barbara.)