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Feature book: The Art of Dust

3 November 2021

The Art of Dust by Mel A Rowe

Series: Elsie Creek #1
Subgenre: rural romance
Release date: 23 May 2019
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 317 pages
RRP: $3.99 (ebook); $24.31 (print)

As you’ll fast discover, author Mel A Rowe’s created a wonderful community in her new series set in fictional Elsie Creek—based somewhere on the remote stock routes of the Northern Territory, Australia. She introduces her book by saying she considers the Elsie Creek series ‘a love letter to unique individuals that continue to shape the Northern Territory into a truly amazing part of Australia’. So, settle down and come armchair travelling.

Book 1 begins with Kathryn Jones—Kat (or ‘Kit-Kat’)—returning with her six-year old daughter Kaytlyn to Elsie Creek. She’s a successful interior designer who flips apartments in the city, so it takes a sad family situation to bring her back after quite a few years away. Her beloved Uncle Frank’s been diagnosed with cancer. He and her Aunt Bea haven’t wanted to worry Kat, so they’ve kept everything from her for some time. But now Frank’s in hospital and not likely to make it out again. Frank and Bea have been proxy parents to Kat most of her difficult life. Of course, she’s going to come ‘home’, but that lets loose a whole pile of unresolved business Kat would rather not deal with.

The first being Kyle, her childhood sweetheart, her one and only, the man who broke her heart and led to her sudden departure from Elsie Creek. He’s now got a girlfriend—an old childhood nemesis of Kat’s who’s still rather unlikable—and he’s on the point of proposing. Mainly because there’s no-one else to propose to and he’s lonely …

Kyle and his married brother run a mechanic’s business in town, along with a young man called JT (who has some very funny lines). When Kat brings her uncle’s truck in for Kyle to fix, they both realise there’s still some serious sparks between them. So much history and the special bond they had is still there despite their abrupt parting. Can they have a second chance at love?

Meeting the characters of Elsie Creek is part of the charm of this book, along with the lovely storyline. And they really are ‘characters’, including Cecil the tame water buffalo who roams the town and acts as an ‘announcement board’ when the locals chalk messages on his sides. When you hear ‘clip clop, clip clop’ you know Cecil is coming.

The character of the NT itself is terrific. As Kat tells her daughter: ‘Always take a hat, a water bottle, sunscreen, snacks for the trail, and tell someone where you’re going.’ Never swim in any body of water because of the crocodiles. And ‘… carry a big stick’ to fend off the snakes and spiders and goodness knows what else.

This book is the perfect way to have a safe holiday at home and get to know Elsie Creek—and fall in love with the place and its people.

Reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 3 November 2021 10:22 am

    Thank you, Malvina, for this lovely review, and my gratitude to the ARRA for featuring this story. It’s much appreciated.

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