This is a review of “Outback Dreams” by Rachael Johns. It is the first Bunyip Bay Novel.
Faith Forrester is a country girl. She loves dressing for comfort, and lending a helping hand around the family farm. But she’s been feeling some discontent lately. It feels like her brother and her father have been taking her for granted. Ever since her mother passed away, she’s been doing far too much cooking and cleaning, and she’s starting to resent it. She’d love to have more to do around the farm, and she’d love to do something meaningful with her time. After attending an Alumna do for her old boarding school, she’s thinking of trying her hand at fundraising. She’d also love to meet a man, but Bunyip Bay is a small town, and she’s not having much luck.
Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has always dreamed of being a farmer and owning his own property. He and Faith have been best friends for forever. When he was a kid, his parents sold the family property and relocated to the city. He’s been yearning for his own farm ever since. He moved back to Bunyip Bay as soon as he was old enough and has been doing odd jobs at all hours ever since, in order to save for his dream. He’s also ready to settle down with someone special. He’s got his eye on Ruby, a young woman who’s recently moved back to Bunyip Bay, but she’s still a little distant.
After a night of drunkeness, Monty and Faith wind up doing something they’d never thought they’d ever do. Have they just ruined the best friendship either of them have ever had? How will they come back from this?
I really enjoyed this novel. I love how Rachael Johns writes books that are realistic and believable. In “Outback Dreams” she wrote about something very close to my heart. Monty has a younger brother Wil, who is like my younger brother. They are both autistic. I could tell while reading this novel that Monty loves his little brother the way I do mine. Being an older sister, I am fiercely protective of my little brother. I love him so so much. His smiles are much more precious to me than anyone else’s, his embraces are golden. I find his quirks so endearing, and I can’t even describe the way I feel when he tells me he loves me. He is honest to a fault, and very specific and black and white. There are no grey areas. He’s taught me so much.
I think I was luckier than Monty in that I was much older than he was when my brother came along. I think this made it easier for me to understand him a little better. But, I do get why Monty feels the way he does about Wil. I do. When I was younger, and when my little brother was smaller, it was hard for me to not be able to show him affection in the way I wanted to. I could also see why Monty reacted the way he did towards the end of the novel, it’s a very big thing to overcome when you have a sibling with autism (I don’t want to be more specific, I don’t want to give too much away!). All in all, autism was written about with much empathy and honesty in this novel, and it made me happy.
I really loved the integrity that these characters had and I enjoyed that they all strove to work through their issues and problems. I can’t wait to read more about Bunyip Bay, as there are a few characters that I would really like to know more about.