Tag Archives: Rachael Johns

Outback Dreams

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.

20131007-111128.jpg

Tagged , , , ,

Jilted

This is a review of “Jilted” by Rachael Johns.

I already mentioned in my review of “Man Drought” that I had been keen on reading some of Rachael Johns’ work. Imagine my delight when I discovered that the second book I had won in one of the many Australia Day book giveaways was also one of hers! I won a copy of “Jilted” when I entered Helene Young‘s Australia Day giveaway. Thank-you! I am very grateful!

Ellie Hughes is a star in a popular Australian soap. She lives in Sydney, and life for her is pretty good. But she’s had to return to her hometown in WA to look after her godmother Matilda who has injured herself in a fall. While Ellie doesn’t mind caring for Mat, Hope Junction is the last place she would like to be. Years before she left her husband-to-be literally, standing at the altar (well, outside the church). She had her reasons, but she’s never divulged them, not even to Mat. It’s her biggest secret. She’s sorry for what she’s done, but at the time, she couldn’t see another option for herself.

Flynn Quartermaine is the jilted aforementioned husband-to-be. He’s tried hard over the last decade to erase all reminders and thoughts of Ellie. He’s tried other relationships, but nothing seems to stick. She’s the one that ran away, and he’s never really gotten over it. He went off the rails in a big, bad way after Ellie left him, and he has never really understood why she left in the first place. But he loves his life on the family farm, and he loves his little sister Lucy and his mum. He’s the local farmer that everyone knows, and he’s perve material for the ladies. He’s definitely not thrilled about Ellie’s return to Hope Junction, but he may get some answers. Whether he really wants to hear them or not is another matter.

Can there be a future when the past is such a mess?

I enjoyed this novel. Probably even more than I enjoyed “Man Drought“. It was entertaining, a bit emotional, and intriguing to boot. I read it very quickly because it was easy to read and compelling. There were some laughs and some tears, and a bit of sympathy too. I could really relate to the heartbreak suffered by the characters, and the inexplicable but burning need for closure and answers. Having had a few heartbreaks myself, I felt for the characters. The really sad scene (I don’t want to be over-specific and spoil the novel for others) really resonated with me, as I had a very similar experience with my grandmother. I really enjoyed “Jilted” and I hope to read more of Rachael’s work in the future.

20130217-035654.jpg

20130225-020448.jpg

Tagged , , , ,

Man Drought

This is a review of “Man Drought” by Rachael Johns.

I had wanted to read this book for a while. I was on the verge of purchasing it, when I actually won a copy in an Australia Day Giveaway hosted by Each Day A Gift. It was a wonderful prize to win, and I am very thankful.

Imogen Bates is a young woman who has decided to move to the small country town of Gibson’s Find. She’s decided to buy the local pub The Majestic and do it up. It’s her little dream, and she wants to fulfil it. She’s ready to move on with her life after the unexpected death of her husband Jamie. Her friends think she’s a little crazy, but they want more than anything to see her happy again. So Imogen begins her adventure.

Gibson’s Find is a small rural community in Western Australia. The Majestic is a popular place to be. But there’s a serious shortage of women in the area. There’s many a man who’d quite like to settle down. Imogen is a very welcome addition in their eyes. But Imogen, while not wanting to disclose her past, is not ready at all to move on romantically. Jamie was The One for her, and she’s not sure she can ever love another. Nor does she want anyone else’s pity. She wants to keep her history to herself for the time being.

The farmer wants a wife. (Well according to the Australian tv show on Channel Nine he does). But there’s one farmer who definitely does not want a wife. Gibson Black is a divorced farmer, who is quite bitter regarding women, and his ex-wife Serena in particular. He’s not too happy about the new publican. But his old grand-dad Charlie works as a Barman at The Majestic, and he’s promised his parents he’d keep an eye on him. He finds himself exposed to Imogen much more than he’s comfortable with.

Can Imogen breathe life back into The Majestic? Will her idea of hosting a “Man Drought” weekend bring women back to Gibson’s Find? Is she ready to move on in all areas of her life? Can Gibson get over his failed marriage? And why exactly did it fail in the first place?

I really liked “Man Drought”. I am not usually a big romance novel reader. But I had read a number of reviews of this book and some reviews of Rachael John’s other books, and I saw that she was ranked rather highly in Booktopia’s recent “Australia’s Favourite Author” poll, so I was keen to check out some of her work. I thought that “Man Drought” was quite realistic, especially as I live in a rural town, and an accurate representation of rural Australian life. I liked the different emotions that were explored, and thought that both Imogen’s and Gibson’s reactions to the new romance were very believable. I read this rather quickly, as it was an engaging read. I liked the birth scene, the character of Charlie, and while there were a few sad parts (Charlie’s Elsie story for one!) there were also some funny laugh-out-loud parts. Well worth a read.

20130216-012314.jpg

Tagged , , ,