Feature book: Charming the Outback
What is a girl to do when her man breaks up with her? She puts herself into his sphere to get him back.
Madeline McIntyre is a party girl who loves drinking, football (AFL), selecting a new man to sleep with and not thinking about tomorrow. She has a wardrobe to die for and shoes that are great for the city but inappropriate to be worn in a small town. Maddy takes a teaching contract in Broken Hill to be near her ex. She tells everyone she did it as it was the only full-time contract available.
She becomes friends with another teacher, who brings her into the town group and the intensity that involves. On her first night out, she runs into her ex and receives the cold shoulder. Maddy then finds over time that Luke warms to her presence and they are not done yet. She also has a realisation that she needs to change some things about herself, and she does this secretly. She then receives the surprise.
Luke White works in the mines and also owns a property. He is working two jobs, but he realises that Maddy won’t cope with the weight of responsibility that comes with running a station. So he broke off the relationship when he moved back to Broken Hill. He is stunned and initially upset that Maddy has turned up in his town. He comes to accept that she is there, but he also has to deal with the men who gather around her. He finally decides that she is more important than other things, and he tries to make all of his responsibilities suit and fit into his life.
Maddy and Luke have a very on-off relationship throughout the book. In the beginning, I had to remember the two of them were very young (they are about twenty-four), and at that age people think and act very differently. The reader gets a look into the outback culture with the hard work done on a station and the way in which those people play. I did like the development of the two characters although, to be honest, it was Maddy who did most of the growing in the story, particularly as she was able to see Luke in his ‘natural’ environment. She didn’t want to be like his mother.
Reviewed by Heather
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.