Review: Morgan’s Law by Karly Lane

Title: Morgan’s Law

Author: Karly Lane

Published: Allen & Unwin May 2012

Synopsis: When Sarah Murphy returns to Australia she desperately needs a break from her high-powered London life. And though mystified by her grandmother’s dying wish for her ashes to be scattered under ‘the wishing tree’ on the banks of the Negallan River, she sets out to do just that.  While searching for the wishing tree, Sarah stays in the small township of Negallan. It’s there that she finally has some time to relax and unwind, there that she finds herself drawn to a handsome local farmer, and there that she discovers her enquiries about her grandmother are causing disquiet within the powerful local Morgan family.  Will the Morgans prevent Sarah from discovering the truth about her grandmother? And should she risk her glittering career in the UK for a simpler existence in the country, and the possibility of true love?

Status: Read from April 28 to 29, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Allen & Unwin}

My Thoughts:

Karly Lane’s debut novel, North Star was nominated as a People’s Choice finalist by the Australian Romance Readers Association and chosen as one of the fifty books for Australia’s annual Get Reading Campaign in 2011. As a writer of the increasingly popular genre affectionately known as ‘chook lit’ Morgan’s Law, Lane’s second book, is sure to be greeted with deserved enthusiasm.

Morgan’s Law is a story of self discovery, family roots, romance, mystery and rural life. Sarah Murphy can’t imagine what ties her grandmother had to a dying farming community like Negallan but takes some time off from her high powered, London based career in advertising to carry out her beloved grandmothers last wishes, to scatter her ashes beneath the Wishing Tree on the Negallan River. Sarah anticipates only an overnight stay in Negallan, she certainly doesn’t intend to share a bathroom for long, but her plan is thwarted when a broken water pump leaves her stranded in the town for a few weeks. As Sarah searches for the Wishing Tree, and some answers about her Gran’s mysterious past, she is surprised to find herself warming not only to the battling community, but also handsome local farmer, Adam Buchanan. Yet Sarah can’t imagine the dusty, failing town of Nagellan could ever become ‘home’ and when her dream job beckons she makes a difficult choice, will it be the right one?

There is a depth to Morgan’s Law that I wasn’t really expecting and very much enjoyed. The main plot concerns Sarah’s discovery of what she really wants from her life, whether her high pressure career is worth all the things she has to give up to maintain it, which is a valid question for many women today. I found Sarah very likeable and her conflicts believable. Her difficult relationship with her mother added texture to her personality as does the sudden appearance of her ex-boyfriend and occasional communication with her colleagues in London.
Two mysteries create subplots, one having to do with the identity of Sarah’s Gran, the other is raised later in the novel when Sarah unwittingly stumbles upon a clandestine meeting in the bush. Both add just the right touch of intrigue to the story.
Underpinning the story arcs is a sensitive portrayal of the social issues such as depression, suicide, elitism and financial hardship that affect rural communities. Lane’s fictional town is representative of many regional areas that are under pressure but fighting with admirable spirit to stay alive. The township of Nagellan has a personality of it’s own in this novel and I found myself with as many hopes for it as I had for it’s characters.
The romantic element of Morgan’s Law is well handled, the attraction between Sarah and Adam has some time to smoulder before it ignites and when it does, it is believable. While Adam is sure about what he wants, Sarah is less so and the ambivalence creates just enough conflict to keep things interesting without overwhelming the plot.
The pacing is good, I was reluctant to put down Morgan’s Law once I had started reading. **possible spoiler**I did think though that Sarah’s sixteen month absence was a bit of a stretch though.
I like Lane’s writing style and the dialogue is a real strength with some great lines that showcase Lane’s laconic sense of humour. I even made a note of my favourite, which is something I rarely do, so I think it deserves a mention. In this scene Sarah is speaking with Adam about her ex boyfriend.

“…when you think a guy is some knight in shining armour, he ends up being a moron in tinfoil.” (p84)

Morgan’s Law is an entertaining and engaging read with wide appeal and topical relevance. The author proves herself as an accomplished storyteller with Morgan’s law and I expect that Karly Lane has a bestseller on her hands.

Learn more about Karly Lane and her passion for rural communities in the guest post she shared on Book’d Out earlier

Morgans Law is Available to Purchase

@Allen & Unwin I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia

@ Amazon (Kindle)

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. VeganYANerds
    May 02, 2012 @ 18:31:03

    I really like that quote about knights in shining armour and if that’s a good indication of the humour used in some parts of this book, I definitely want to read it. I also like that it has a more serious side, great review!

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  2. The Australian Bookshelf
    May 03, 2012 @ 17:37:30

    Great review Shelleyrae. I love the term “chook lit”- I haven’t heard of that! It’s great that you pulled out that quote about the knight in shining armour because I laughed out loud at that one. Karly Lane is a beautiful writer and I really enjoy her work.
    It seems we both agreed about the drawn out ending… I thought maybe i was being a bit impatient but I would have loved the book just that little bit more if it was wrapped up a bit more quickly.

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  3. Kate Rizzetti
    May 19, 2012 @ 19:28:52

    Great dialogue quote – moron in tinfoil. Gunna find a use for that sometime soon. x

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  4. Trackback: Review: Bridie’s Choice by Karly Lane « book'd out
  5. Trackback: A New Day…….. | Cathy @ Still Waters

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