Review: Bella’s Run by Margareta Osborn

Title: Bella’s Run

Author: Margareta Osborn

Published: Random House March 2012

Synopsis: Bella threw her hat into the air. ‘We’ve lived one of our dreams, Patty. Our outback road trip is done. Now we’re free and ready for our next adventure. God, I love life!’  Bella Vermaelon and her best friend Patty are two fun-loving country girls bonded in a sisterhood no blood tie could ever beat.  Now they are coming to the end of a road trip which has taken them from their family farms in the rugged Victorian high country to the red dust of the Queensland outback. For almost a year they have mustered on cattle stations, cooked for weary stockmen, played hard at rodeos and outback parties, and danced through life like a pair of wild tumbleweeds.  And with the arrival of Patty’s brother Will and Bella’s cousin Macca, it seems love is on the horizon too … Then a devastating tragedy strikes, and Bella’s world is changed for ever.  So she runs – from the only life she has ever known. But can she really turn her back on the man she loves? Or on the land that runs deep in her blood?

Status: Read from February 22 to 23, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Random House Australia}

My Thoughts:

At it’s heart, Bella’s Run is a contemporary romance but it is also a wonderful story set against the rugged Victorian highlands. Osborn captures the spirit of the people who call the land ‘home’ with warmth and humour.

Bella and Patty are two capable, fun loving young women, enjoying a year traveling and working in the Queensland outback, but happy to return home when it comes to an end, especially with Will and Macca waiting for them. Osborn paints a delightful picture of these high spirited best friends, dancing with the tumbleweeds, sinking Cock-Sucking Cowboys (liquor shots with equal parts Bailey’s Irish Cream and Butterscotch Schnapps), and handling stockman whips with ease. I particularly enjoyed how Osborn wasn’t tempted to stick with the more wholesome stereotype of rosy cheeked, demure country folk, the author has created genuine and roundly developed protagonists who are smart and confident. Bella and Patty, as well as their friends, work hard and play even harder on the rare occasions that they get the chance.
When tragedy strikes, it is all the more shocking that such vitality can be ended so abruptly. The novel’s prologue (not a device I like, I must admit) tells of the devastation to come that changes the course of Bella’s life, driving her from the land, and man, she loves.
The attraction between Will, Patty’s brother, and Bella is a surprise to both of them. Sparked during a brief visit while the girls were still working in Queensland, the night of the Muster proves to them both that something special is happening between them. However the fledgling relationship is stunted by their tragic loss and the two are separated by their pain and guilt. In the years since, both have moved on, but Bella’s return to Tindarra makes it clear that the two still have strong (and lusty) feelings for each other. Bella’s Run is a romance, so while the road to happily ever after is complicated, in this instance by a manipulative ex-wife, a persistent fiance, an unplanned pregnancy and the general stubbornness of the pair, Will and Bella’s relationship is dramatically resolved.

This debut novel proves Margareta Osborn a wonderful storyteller whose exuberant passion for rural Australia is evident on every page. Bella’s Run is a delightful and engaging read that I very much enjoyed. I especially love the authenticity that the author brings to the story and her characters and I am looking forward to her second book due out in 2013.

Margareta Osborn will be a guest of Book’d Out later on today, sharing why she likes rural romance genre and a bit about her own life as a country girl. Make sure you stop by and learn more about Margareta and Bella’s Run


Bella’s Run is Available to Purchase

Australia:  Via Random House Australia I @ BoomerangBooks I @ Booktopia I @Readings

International: @Amazon {Kindle}

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenniferscoullar
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 08:30:13

    Great review!



  2. Marg
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 09:34:30

    There are loads of these rural stories coming out at the moment. I haven’t read many yet, but I do intend to.



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 11:12:18

      I’m quite enjoying them Marg – much more than than the type with flaky girls who all seem to work in PR/Ad agencies without actually doing any real work!



  3. Diane Simonelli
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 10:05:23

    “Smart” “confident” females…this looks like great one for The Australian Women Writers’ Challenge.



  4. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 10:42:24

    Jinx, Shelleyrae, we reviewed this one on the same today! I didn’t quite like this one as much as you–though I liked some of the characters and the setting, I thought it felt a bit melodramatic.

    (PS, LOVE the cover of Stolen Away in your sidebar)



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 11:14:04

      Release day today! I have a run of AWW reviews this week since so many books are published on the first of the month!

      (PS. the cover is very pretty)



  5. The Australian Bookshelf
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 17:32:25

    This sounds like something i would really enjoy reading. I’ve been waiting for some reviews to come up and you have certainly convinced me Shelleyrae!



  6. Bec
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 19:21:31

    really enjoyed this one – i started reading it last night and finished 4 hours later at 4.30am – such a great aussie story with real people you could relate to – definately 5 stars – We are very lucky to have so many great aussie authors who can write about real australia



  7. Margareta Osborn
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:18:23

    Thank you Shellyrae for your lovely review. Along with wonderful readers who are already giving me great feedback, you really ‘got’ the novel. Authentic characters and story, along with the portrayal of the very beautiful and unique Australian rural landscape were very important to me with this book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.



  8. Trackback: I love a sunburnt cowboy « The truth be told
  9. Margaret Lynette Sharp
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 18:58:05

    A very well thought out review of what sounds like an enthralling novel with true Australian flavour.



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