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Weekly musing: rural romance

8 February 2018

This week let’s discuss rural romance. (So that everyone is on the same page, this means Australian non-city based romance; think the red dust of the Australian Outback, small Australian country towns, and the Snowy Mountains. We’ll get to small-town US and Westerns in the following weeks.)

Okay, confession time: I never used to like rural romance, or even Australian authors! I know this is a really bad confession. I just preferred to read about US-based romances; Texas rodeos and cowboys just seemed really exotic and more exciting.

Now I have to thank ARRC2015 for changing my perception of these things! In particular it was Rachael Johns, talking about the release of her new book at the time: The Road to Hope. As she talked about this book and read an excerpt I was intrigued. I immediately bought the book and LOVED IT and it has forever changed my thinking and perception about Australian authors and romance books in general. Thank you Ms Johns for opening up a wealth of fantastic authors and books that I would never have experienced if it was not for you!

Okay so now that confession is out of the way let’s talk rural romance and what makes it special.

As the name suggests, you will find a lot of farmers, small-town doctors and communities where everyone will know everyone and it will all feature in our fantastic countryside of Australia. I believe 90% of this genre is written by Australian authors, but if you know of any non-Australians let me know.

Common tropes are family sagas, reunions, second chance at love and mistaken identities. Opposites attract is also a favourite of mine! What are yours? What tropes do you love and what would you like to see more (or less) of in rural romance?

My favourite authors are: Rachael Johns, Fiona Palmer and Bronwyn Parry. Who are your favourite rural romance authors?

My top 10 must-read rural romances are:

  • Jilted by Rachael Johns
  • The Road to Hope by Rachael Johns
  • Zoe’s Muster by Barbara Hannay
  • Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry (Goodabri)
  • Heart of the Valley by Cathryn Hein
  • The Road Home by Fiona Palmer
  • The Girl in the Hard Hat by Loretta Hill
  • Brumby’s Run by Jennifer Scoullar
  • Morgan’s Law by Karly Lane
  • Bella’s Run by Margareta Osborn

What books do you recommend for people who are new to rural romance?

My top 5 favourite rural romance covers:


Happy reading!

#SecretProject #Discussions #LoveReading

  1. 10 February 2018 1:48 pm

    Hi Juliette,

    So glad you are enjoying the AusRuroRom authors and their books, it’s a huge change to reading them from the USA style type of Romance novels, not that I have read many at all of the USA or Western style genre type usually have always read the AusRuroRom books 🙂

    I have been reading Australian Rural Romance authors for a very long time going right back to my mid to late teens to early to twenties when working as a jillaroo working out on cattle and sheep grazing properties belonging to family and close family friends extending from southwest/south east to the very northern tropics of FNQ of QLD to the beautiful picturesque surrounds on the west coast of the Kimberleys in WA and back home in the NT to Darwin and the remote areas of Southeast Arnhem Land down to northern NSW. I first started reading books written by Rachel Treasure, Karly Lane, Tricia Stringer and Fleur McDonald, when I’d go into town on a day off usually catching the skinny dog (that’s Greyhound bus lines for those of you who aren’t too familiar with the term) or a lift from the mailman doing the mail run depending where I was at the time and do the usual things of shopping, getting a haircut, having a counter lunch at the local pub, going for a swim in the town pool if it was open and visiting the local newsagent who had a vast collection of paperback novels to purchase from the back wall of their shop and going to the local library again when it was open. I couldn’t wait to get back to start reading as it was great to see what they came up with in their books apart from the other usual stock standard reading material of catalogues/journals of Hoof and Horns, Australian Quarter Stock Horse Magazines, Queensland Country Life Newspaper, sale/auction catalogues of the next cattle sales and the QLD DPI journals that we got in the mail of that months cover story and other articles of the newest thing on the market for example which was better the feedlotting system over the open grazing system or which drench/dip was having better effects on ticks and flies etc. Reading the AusRuroRom books made a huge difference to my day back then because it felt like the authors were inside your head and were there with you experiencing what you did in every day life and putting it down on paper for all to read they not only put the romance into their books but also dealt with the major issues of communities. Such as drought/floods/hardships of women living on the land with isolation and only having the CB for company talking to other women on far away stations/the snowy river mountain scheme and the brumbies…it was good to see that extensive research was done on the issues of the day put into the books as it flowed beautifully throughout whilst reading the budding romances in them.

    Fast forward to the 2k and a book I got for my birthday in 2014, from my family it was by an author who had just published her first “big” book mid that year and I didn’t read it automatically as I was going home to Darwin for a week or two and saved it up to read then. The book was Red Sand Sunrise by Fiona McArthur, I had read one or two or of her smaller novels that were medical stories and was very much in love with the book I had received as a gift. I read that book from front cover to back cover within 24 hours or so, I loved it so much I emailed her to let her know how much I had loved her book and her writing and the story of Sienna and her sisters. I was taken back in my memories to the time of working as a jillaroo out on those cattle and sheep properties and I once more felt like I was so very much home by reading her novel, I hated to put it down even to have dinner or even go to sleep and couldn’t wait to get up the next day to finish reading it I just wanted to read it all at once. I heard back from Fiona and was so ecstatic, and when I got back to where I was living after my holiday I registered for the ARRC2015 held in Canberra where I met Fiona and so many more of the other authors of whose books I had been reading for so long when I used to borrow from the library. Never in my dreams did I think that I would meet so many of the authors at ARRC2015 and have so many of the AusRuroRom authors as some of my now favourites to read after meeting them. I loved it and I look forward each month when new AUsRuroRom authors do their first release and my favourite authors for their next book release. I have a huge folder of favourites of many pages of books I need to buy, I will confess I am not a huge electronic book reading, I spend a lot of time on a laptop as most do these days and the action of relaxing in my favourite place to chill and actually turn a page to read a book gives me much pleasure, I have a tbr pile as well of books to read when I get a chance to do so. I love the feel of the books and the smell of them, its just something abut being able to relax with a book in your hand enjoying a cup of tea reading adventures of heroines in the latest Australian Rural Romance by the author.

    My top fave authors are Fiona McArthur, Rachel Treasure, Fleur McDonald, Tricia Stringer, Karly Lane.
    There are fave authors that have become my fave since meeting them at ARRC2015 and they are added to this list too mentioned above.

    For me AusRuroRom authors and their books are home to me, as I know I can pick up a book of any of the authors and be transported to a place and time where I am home.

    • 10 February 2018 2:09 pm

      I just wanted to add I am very sorry for such a long winded comment, I usually don’t reply to these threads for this site and just wanted to let you know how much I love the Australian Rural Romance authors and their books. Have a great time reading them 🙂

    • 15 February 2018 11:35 am

      Best comment I’ve ever read!

  2. 9 February 2018 9:46 am

    Hi Juliette

    I too love rural romance and love the troupes in them not sure really what is my favourite they all make me smile. I Still have a lot om massive tbr pile to get I recently discovered Jacquie Underdown and have just finished Alissa’s as well. Have Fun


  3. 8 February 2018 7:33 pm

    I agree with all of the above …I have just read The Red Dirt Road by Alissa Callen this was a follow up to the Long Paddock

    • Alissa Callen permalink
      9 February 2018 8:39 am

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks so much for reading Fliss and Hewitt’s story 🙂

      Wonderful post about the rural gene Juliette. I love writing rural and one other thing that is special about the genre is that all the authors are so supportive of each other.

      Alissa x

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